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Thursday, 7 November 1946

Mr DUTHIE (Wilmot) .- I move -

That the following Address-in-Reply to His Royal Highness the Governor-General's Speech be agreed to: -

May it please Youn Royal Highness:

We, the' House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Royal Highness for the Speech which von have been pleased to address to Parliament. 1 express my sincere thanks to the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) for having conferred on me the high honour of moving the Address-in-Reply to His Royal Highness's Speech. To the Labour movement of Tasmania that endorsed me and rft the people of Wilmot who elected me, I also express my gratitude, assuring them that I fully understand and realize the grave responsibilities of being a member of the National Parliament. Three important features are associated with the opening of the 18th Parliament. The first is that it is the fourth occasion since federation that a new Parliament has been opened by amember of the Royal Family; secondly^ it is the first new Parliament since the" end of World War II.; and, thirdly, itis the first occasion in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament that the opening ceremony and the AddressinReply have been broadcast to the people of Australia.

I desire now to pay a tribute to our fighting men. Surely this is an appropriate time to honour the men and women of the fighting services of our land, the Homeland, and all the Allies, whose gallantry, courage and sacrifices during six years of the world's Gethsemane won for us the opportunity both to meet here to-day, and to build a world community of free people. "We extend our sincere sympathy to the relatives of Australia's sons and daughters who gave their lives on far-flung battle-fields and ill hideous prisoner-of-war camps. Those men who returned to Australia physically and mentally maimed, and those who returned blind, are a constant challenge to us to make this great land of Australia a fit country, economically, culturally and spiritually, for heroes to live in. The world that died in 1.939 must never be resurrected. With its economic insecurity, soul-destroying unemployment, foul slums, survival-of-the-fittest, periodical depressions, policy of boom or bust, every man for himself with the devil picking up the stragglers, inadequate social and health services - with all those ills, that pre-war era was a. disgrace to our civilization and a rebuke to man's vaunted genius. It is obvious that careful economic planning can water down the effects of any economic depression in this country, so that the tragedies that I have mentioned shall not recur.

The result of the recent election indicates continued confidence in the Prime Minister and the Labour Government. Never before has federal Labour won two successive elections. The amazing growth of the Labour movement since 3S91, when Labour first became a. political as well as an industrial movement, is a remarkable tribute to our pioneers who suffered in order to bring the movement into being, to the soundness of Labour principles, and to the progress of political and economic thought among the people. Everywhere throughout the world the forces of conservatism and reaction are fighting a losing battle. The electors approved the Labour party's war effort, which was so vigorously and courageously pursued by our late friend, leader and colleague, John Curtin, and so faithfully concluded by the Prime Minister and his team of hard-working Ministers. What is of even more significance is the fact that the people of Australia approved the general post-war programme covering the last twelve months, when certain war-time restrictions had to he continued. In effect they have approved this programme as it operates in the field of finance. Productive capacity should not be made to fit into a monetary strait-jacket, with surplus foodstuffs and the like being destroyed. Money should serve man, not enslave him. The electors have approved this programme also in the field of economics, social security, hospitalization, education, stabilization of primary products with certain limitations, rehabilitation, foreign affairs, native affairs and industrial expansion. ' Though the vote cast for the proposals to alter the Constitution to provide for the organized marketing of primary products, and to cover industrial employment was gratifying. J regret that the necessary majority of four States to two was not obtained. However, it was pleasing to note, in paragraphs 30 to 35 of the GovernorGeneral's Speech, that the Government intends to set up a committee of employer? and employees to inquire into aspects of the basic wage, to eliminate the causes of production delays and to introduce legislation to simplify and expedite the working of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Inflation, which is rife in many countries, has been controlled in Australia in a way which has won the praise of world leaders. One highly significant result of the elections is that the people refused to be panicked over taxation reductions, on which the Opposition parties practically fought the campaign. That we won although we made no particular promises is a tribute to the sanity of the people of Australia. I remember walking into a grocer shop just after the elections. The gentleman behind the counter lit a cigarette and said, " Well you are in. I suppose you will bc able 'to give us more cigarettes and tobacco now." I said, " No; we did not promise you anything." Having said that, it is only fair to emphasize again that the Government believes in a scaling down of both direct and indirect taxation, and in the removal of controls as circumstances permit. It is, in fact, already mw-ing in those directions.

Our memories of long queues outside mines, factories and employment bureaux, the vicious use of the " hire and fire " principle, and the war between workers fighting each other for jobs, were so vivid that it was not -surprising that 'the Government's full employment objective aroused the enthusiasm and hopes of the Australian people. The British Government has just issued a memorandum on full employment, in which it urges upon all countries of the world the introduction of this principle, so that it may work more effectively in the countries, including Australia,, where it is to be applied. Coupled with this is the new order brought to "women workers through the 'Women's Employment Board's fight for women's rights in industry.

I pay tribute to the people on the home front for their wonderful efforts in peace and war. The creators of Australia's true national wealth are the primary producers and the workers in our factories and mines, who are turning into national assets the resources that the Creator has given to us for the use of all. These two producing groups are paramount in our economy and, in order that production may overtake its lost ground, they must have the full backing of the Government at all times. The Government's efforts to stabilize primary production have had excellent results even during the critical period through which w.e have just passed. The happiness, security, health and well-being of the people are our main concern. We are the mouthpiece of the people. We must ti;y to express their will in legislation, and each one of us must always try to keep tuned in to public opinion, which, in these days, is better informed than ever before. In this Parliament we are the voice of the people, speaking not only for those who make their wishes known, but also for the inarticulate. Service to humanity is the greatest service there is. Sincerity, hard work, courtesy to all, and a general interest in the people of the electorates, together with an understanding of human needs and problems, will remove much of to-day's cynicism in relation to Parliaments and members of Parliament. There must always be a feeling of trust between the electors and the elected. I keep reminding myself that government is from; the bottom up - that is, from the .people enlightened and alert te their responsibilities - 'and not from the top down. That is democracy as distinct from autocracy and fascism.

Let us now turn our minds to another factor 'in this post-war World - the battle of ideologies. The military power of Fascism, Nazi-ism and Japanese imperialism is broken. The physical battle is over. But, another more subtle battle continues. It is the battle of ideologies. This is a war not of the battlefield, but of the mind, a war between ways of life, ideas, concepts and political, economic and social beliefs. A nation's military power may be broken, but not its ideologies. Centuries ago the enemies of Christianity threw Christians to the lions, but centuries later the descendants of those enemies realized that the Christians had been destroyed but not their ideas and beliefs. Do not let us lull ourselves into believing that with the death of Mussolini and Hitler and their gangsters, and of millions of Germans and Japanese, by the destruction of the 'armed might -of our enemies, or by the signing of peace treaties or lie proclamation of new legislation in Japan, the creeds and ideologies of these tyrannous regimes are dead. The poison is still in the world's "blood stream.

The fact that the unconditional surrender in the West Was signed in a schoolroom at Rheims, France, is symbolic. Our enemies have to go to school again to unlearn their beliefs, and we have to go to school again to relearn what democracy stands for, so that we may become evangelists for the conversion of out enemies to the democratic way of life. We 'do not change a nation until we change the beliefs and ideologies of its people. A bad idea is destroyed not by armed might, but by replacing it with a good ohe. An evil way of life is destroyed by overcoming it with a good way of life. Our schools, colleges, universities, youth clubs, churches, discussion groups, forums, libraries, documentary films, theatres and homes must become recruiting agencies in the war of the mind and the battle of ideas for the building of a race which knows what democracy really means. The best teacher is example. By our example in human and national affairs we can convince the enemies of democracy that democracy works. I urge the Government to speed up the development of the Australian film industry and the establishment of a truly national theatre and to press forward confidently with the plan for a national university at Canberra. It should also provide still more money as grants to States for education on our plan to win the ideological war for true democracy.

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima marked the birth of a new era. The atomic age has dawned menacingly and frighteningly. But it is good to know that the Government is wide awake to its implications. Whether atomic energy isherefor good or evil will depend on whether enough men and nations can get together in such a spirit of goodwill, neighbourliness and cooperation as to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the world does not want atomic energy as a destructive force. A rigid control of the materials that are used or are likely to be used in producing atomic energy will go a long way towards outlawing it as a destructive force. Such things must never become the private monopoly of armament firms, but must always be under the control of governments - internationally, if possible.

There are moral aspects with which I shall conclude. Isolationism and individualism are more than ever tragic irrevelancies in the atomic age, for from now on it will be " one world or no world ". Unless the nations can come together in a partnership for the good of humanity, with an interchange of principles and a levelling up of economic standards, there will be grave days ahead. Science has furnished for our use thousands of rooms in the vast worldhome which God gave to us. But science, miscontrolled, will destroy civilization; for if man cannot control himself; if greed and selfishness, hate and racialism, mammon worship and arrogance get the upper hand, whence will come the goodwill, the common sense, the sense of community, to keep inventive genius within constructive channels? I believe that danger lies in the fact that our scientific advancement has outpaced our moral and cultural advancement. In 1932, Mr. Winston Churchill, in a role entirely different from that which he played in the last few years, published an essay entitled 50 Years Hence. In it, he made this statement -

Without an equal growth of mercy, goodwill, pity, peace and love, science herself may destroy all that makes human life majestic and tolerable.

So we must catch up morally and culturally, or lose all thatwe have won. This country can have a wonderful future. But I believe that more and moreco-operative effort will be needed to clinch the victory of the peace for the people. May these few lines, which appeared in a poem, This Land of Ours, published recently in the Melbourne Argus by an Australian poet of whom I have not heard previously, inspire us to this end -

I have loved this country and have felt

The unchanging tide of time before man came ;

The still, vast sameness,unendinggreen-grey trees

With palebarksuprightagainsta dry blue sky ;

AndI have sensed aloneliness more deep

And an awareness of agreat eternity.

Man seems so infinitely small,

Bound by the girdle of his worldly chain

Of small deceits and monetary fears;

And he has failed to use hisbounteous gifts,

For in the very nature of his life

There is no time for but the smallest loves.

But here we have the chance to build

The firstexample of a God-like State.

The world is staggering from its greatest blow.

Out of the ruins there is much to learn.

Can we not make a new beginning now

Before the tide of lethargy engulf the shore?

Australia offers priceless gifts,

Abundant in her riches, hands out-stretched

She whispers of great possibilities.

If we can join her in her quest, there lies

A future which is peace as yet unknown,

A life of pure unprecedented calm.

We cannot reap the harvest of her wealth

Unless we are prepared to build again;

To fight as in those long darkyears we toiled

And tracked the enemy and beat him down.

This time we must perceive our weakest points,

And conquer where we now are dull and still.

The poet is E. Lewis. Once again I thank the House for the attentive hearing it has given to me, and the Prime Minister for the opportunity which he afforded to me to say these few words in moving the adoption of the AddressinReply.

Vb.EDMONDS (Herbert) ;[3.50].- First, I express ray sincere thanks to the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) for his having afforded to me the opportunity of seconding the motion that has been so capably made by the honorable member for "Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). I regard it as an honour, not only to me personally, but also to the Queensland branch of the Australian Labour party, as well as to the Australian Workers Union, that traditionally Australian union with which I have been associated as a member and an official for very many years.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the Government on the work that it has done since it first assumed office. We all know that five years or so ago this country was faced with the gravest crisis in its young history. We also know that at that time the parties, the remnants of which now adorn the Opposition benches, were in power. Before very long, the extreme urgency of the situation revealed the hopeless incapacity of those parties to grapple with the problems with which this country was confronted. It is also well known that it was a Labour Government which took control and filled the breach, under the leadership of one whom I consider to be probably the grandest and most courageous man ever born in this or any other country; I refer to the late John Curtin. We all know that the capable leadership of that grand man continued until, unfortunately, he became a war casualty and was lost to Australia and the British Empire. But it is an outstanding characteristic of the Labour movement that it continues to progress even after the loss of one who may be regarded as indispensable and as having achieved the height of greatness. When it sustained the loss of the late John Curtin, it produced another great man in the person of the present Prime Minister, who is commonly known in every household in Australia as " honest Ben Chifley". Under his capable and honest direction, this country was piloted out of the doldrums of the extraordinary situation in which it found itself at the time. We are now in the fortunate position of being able to say that we have survived the gravest threat which this country has ever experienced, or we hope, will ever experience.

I understand that when a new member makes his first speech in this Parliament he enjoys some degree of immunity from interjections. I take it to be expected that the speaker will ensure that he is not unduly provocative. I am prepared to take the risk of having that charge laid against me. We were faced with such a critical position that tb/i present Opposition cannot hope to escap'.' some criticism; and in offering it, I alu prepared to receive some interjections in return. With my experience, I should be lonely if I did not receive interjections < while addressing a meeting.

I have said that I regard as an honour to the Australian Workers Union Oct invitation to me to second this motion, i. propose to refer briefly to the policy < that union, because that will afford n*an opportunity not only to deal with its affairs but also to discuss industrial matters as they affect this nation to-day. The Australian Workers Union is a body which always has, and I trust always will, stand firmly in support of the policy of arbitration as the best method of dealing with our industrial problems. In the process of doing that, this organization has been subjected to most vicious attacks by certain sections of the industrial movement. The Australian Workers Union claims to be the backbone of the Labour movement in this country. There is a force operating in Australia to-day which aims to destroy the Australian Labour movement, and it realizes that in order to do so it must first break the backbone of that movement. Consequently, it is concentrating its activities on the Australian Workers Union. Despite the vicious attacks that have been made on that union throughout the years, it has never deviated in the slightest degree from its policy of conciliation and arbitration. In this country to-day there are people who are enunciating all sorts of foreign ideologies and methods in an endeavour to advance their own interests. They do not care how far their actions may carry them. They are prepared to sink to any depths in order to place their ideologies before the workers of this country.

I1 heard yesterday in the Speech delivered by His Royal Highness the Governor-General that his Government proposes to do its utmost to maintain economic stability in this country. It is merely logical for me to say that in order to maintain economic stability we must maintain production. A nation's economy depends entirely on its ability to produce. It is impossible for this or any other country to maintain economic stability, and to achieve maximum production, while subjected to the extraordinary and tragic industrial upheavals which we have recently experienced. Therefore, I make an earnest plea to all sections engaged in industry, whether employers or employees, to do their very utmost to maintain production. We must ensure that those engaged in industry are contented. To those persons who are parading as the emancipators of the workers - and I have no hesitation in naming them, as the Communists and their satelites - I say that there is no place for them in this country.

Mr Fadden - We told the people that during the last election campaign, but they did not believe us.

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