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Wednesday, 26 June 1946

Mr POLLARD (Ballarat) .- It is with a good deal of reluctance that I take part in this debate, because so much prominence has been given to the matter of our relations with the Dutch over Indonesia. Anything I may say and any repercussions it may have will be due to the insistence on the part of members of the Opposition to use the Dutch-Indonesian-Australian problem for petty party political purposes. About three months ago a very gallant Australian, an Air Force officer, now unfortunately no longer alive, in an interview with me told me a number of most interesting facts relative to the Dutch people in the Netherlands East Indies. I ' have no means of verifying those facts ; I content myself with saying that he was an officer who I believe had the confidence and respect of honorable members opposite. Speaking of his experiences after many months of responsible service in a highly important position in Java he said that the colonial Dutch were a lot of rotters and that many of them who had been transported to Australia as refugees, both men and women, were nothing more or less than a lot .of Fascists enjoying our hospitality.

Mr Spender - Can the . honorable member vouch for the accuracy of that statement?

Mr POLLARD - I am repeating what was told to me by an honorable and gallant gentleman. In dealing with this subject honorable members opposite have based a good deal of their speeches on hearsay which certainly did not emanate from such a reliable source. However, I am not concerned by the interjections of one who whilst Minister for the Army had the audacity to promote himself to lieutenant-colonel.

Mr Spender - The honorable member should be ashamed for making such an accusation.

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