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Thursday, 29 September 1955

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order ! The noise on all sides of the chamber must stop. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) is entitled to a fair hearing.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN Order ! If I have to take action to obtain silence, there will be no " Hear, hears " then.

Dr EVATT - Like every other member of the Opposition, I have had to take it all day. Now I want to do a little dishing out, but I do not want the process to take too long, because my time is limited. All that I asked the committee to do was to allow me to incorporate these propositions in Hansard so that honorable members could read them. That was a reasonable request. I do not think that a similar request made under similar circumstances has been refused before. May I ask you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, to inquire whether there is any objection to the document being incorporated in Hansard11.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I have asked, and there is an objection.

Dr EVATT - I heard a roar, but I did not hear a "No". The VicePresident of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) is waiting anxiously for the time when we shall discuss the St. Mary's project. He does not want the truth about this conference to come out. I shall read one or two of the declarations of the conference. How ridiculous it is for the corner party with which the honorable member for Yarra is associated to say that those declarations are proCommunist! If the Labour party advocates higher wages and higher margins for workers and if the Communist party says that it believes in those things too, he says that our policy is pro-Communist. I say that when the honorable member uses that argument, he is doing exactly what that remarkable American figure, Senator McCarthy, does. He is using the argument that, because a group of people support the view of a certain person, that person is linked with that group. To any intelligent person, that is a ridiculous argument.

Mr Keon - I rise to order. The Leader of the Opposition has said, in effect that I am a McCarthyite. As he has been the greatest smearer in this country for the last twelve months or so, I consider that he should withdraw that remark. Nobody is a better or a greater exponent of smearing and McCarthyism than he is.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! Is the honorable member objecting to being termed a "McCarthyite"?

Mr Keon - Yes.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Then I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw that term.

Dr EVATT - I withdraw it, but I did not use it. I said that he was doing exactly what everybody associates with that name. He was permitted to describe our policy as communistic. However, I shall spend no more time on that matter. The Hobart conference formulated a positive programme. It dealt with the United Nations. The reference to Malaya was only one little incident in the whole programme. For instance, the conference declared -

The development of atomic weapons has reached such dimensions that the peoples of the world are now faced with the stark and terrifying spectacle of a possible atomic world war causing a danger to the very fabric of the earth, its atmosphere and all its inhabitants which is so real that distinguished scientists refer to the prospect with a sense of " desperation ".

Honorable members will recall the words of Einstein and other scientists a few months ago. The declaration went on as follows : -

This desperation is partly due to the vacillation and delay in arranging high level political talks aiming at the effective prevention of the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs by any nation, whether for purposes of war or experimental purposes.

Is there any objection to that proposition? I hear none. I take it that only an idiot or a very wicked person could object to that declaration. The conference went on to say -

Conference therefore directs the Federal Parliamentary Labour party to press for effective action directed towards these great ends. We are convinced that in years to come, a nation's true greatness will come to be measured by its courageous approach to the solution of these tremendous problems here and now.

That is our view on the admission of all applicant nations to the United Nations, and it is a principle that has been recently adopted in substance by this Government.

The declaration also deals with the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. The remarks of the honorable member for Yarra about that organization were completely untrue. The Labour party failed in its attempt to have the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty Bill amended. The Hobart conference also declared that the conciliation processes prescribed by the Seato pact had not been properly employed. It was always a question of what force could be sent, not how the outbreak or extension of trouble could be prevented. In other words, the conference adopted the positive approach of conciliation and peace in a world in which a nuclear war would mean the destruction of humanity. That is the spirit of the Hobart declaration, and it is in accordance with that spirit that we must look at the decision in relation to Malaya. The decision on Malaya represented only one aspect of the policy adopted by the conference.

I do not think there are many clauses in the declaration to which objection could have been taken by even the most fanatical opponent of the proposition that there should be a peaceful co-existence of all nations. Then the declaration took up the Indo-China conflict as an illustration of what is bound to happen if nationalist movements are not recognized in time. France did not recognize the problem in Indo-China until it was too late, and the Communist organizations had control of the nationalist movement. The result was disastrous to democracy in a great part of that country. Does anybody deny that? Indo-China is typical of those Asian countries in relation to which inexcusable delay in recognizing a genuine nationalist, anticolonial, movement has resulted in communism capturing that movement and in democratic nationalism suffering a severe setback. The conference advocated generous assistance to all Asian people who suffer from poverty, disease, lack of educational facilities and the like. State ments to the effect that the use of Australian forces in Malaya would injure Australian relations with Asian neighbours and would in no way contribute to the prevention of aggression were true.

Mr Joshua - That is a lot of rubbish.

Dr EVATT - The honorable member need not be so self-conscious when he says that. Those statements to which I have referred are true; they have been proved to be true. The policy that I have outlined is the policy of the Labour movement. It is the true policy for Australia. I am obliged to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and my other colleagues for the vigorous and fair argument that they advanced against the slanders of the corner party on this side of the chamber, notably those of the honorable member for Yarra.

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