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Thursday, 21 March 1957


Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .- I wish to deal with that part of the GovernorGeneral's Speech that referred to inflation. His Excellency said that the last time he addressed the Parliament the position of the Australian economy was causing considerable concern. He then said thai the economy had shown great signs of improvement, but he later warned that a steady fall in the value of money increases costs of construction, causes expensive delays, and, by reducing the incentive to save, renders more and more difficult and burdensome the tasks of public finance. In those remarks he sounded a very grave note of warning. It would seem to me that a very important part of the GovernorGeneral's Speech dealt with inflation, and we as a Government know that inflation has been one of the greatest problems that we have had to handle. It is not confined to Australia, but is world wide, and when one seeks the cause of inflation it is not hard to find. We have been constantly dealing with the effects of inflation. Our administrative machinery has been geared to deal with its effects. The causes oi inflation, however, are of an international character, lt seems to me that if we are prepared to bear the burdens of inflation we would be wise to give some attention to its causes.

I think it will be accepted on both sides of the House that one of the principal causes of inflation is world communism. Indeed, the section of the GovernorGeneral's Speech dealing with inflation appears immediately after his remarks regarding our defence policy, and it is well known that expenditure on defence is highly inflationary. While we are trying to combat the effects of inflation, which is actually caused by world communism, we are really forging the weapons of our own destruction. We may deal with the effects of inflation largely by restrictive measures, such as the imposition of controls, and in this way we gradually train the nation to accept these restrictions as inevitable. And so the free enterprise system will gradually break down and a system of controls be introduced. To appreciate this, one only has to estimate the enormous amount of man-power, resources, and wealth that has been diverted from other purposes directly to combat world communism. We have achieved a great deal in this direction over the last ten years. It should be a source of pride to those western people who practice the capitalist system that it has been so resilient as to be able still to maintain man's freedom while providing the enormous wealth and treasure which have been necessary to deal with world communism.

What do our plans envisage? So far, we have dealt with the threat by many means. The primary means has been to build up an enormous defence force, using atomic weapons as deterrents. That is a defence means which is more or less a passive way of dealing with the problem.' We have also devoted a great deal of money and technical skill to alleviating the conditions of backward nations and trying to create conditions in which the evils of communism will not thrive. But I suggest to the House that these are all passive methods and I believe it is a sound military maxim that you should always attack the enemy in his weakness. Our enemy's weakness is his economy. Russia is the longest lived socialist state, but we have had other socialist states, notably Germany with its national socialism, which is a form of socialism very akin to the Russian system. We have also had fascism in Italy. When the pressure has been taken off these socialisms have died. Because of conditions in Russia, we have not been able to exert any " influence " there. But there is weakness in the Russian economy and in the fact that in order to maintain the socialism which they call democratic socialism, the Russians have had to employ methods of force which are extremely hard on their own people. Could the Russian economy survive if the Soviet did not have, say, 10,000,000, 12,000,000 or even 14,000,000 people in slave camps? If we in Australia were to employ our population equivalent of 14,000,000 free labourers in our mines we could also enjoy considerable success in our economy. In addition, of course, the wealth of all the satellite countries is drawn from them and used to bolster the Russian economy. This is not conjecture. This is common knowledge, and people who do not have that knowledge at the present moment are either knaves or fools.

The Soviet system imposes an intolerable burden on the Russian people. It is a rule of force. We know that, because as soon as force is slightly eased there is immediate revolt. This has been experienced in the last year or two. The one thing we do know is that man cannot be enslaved forever. We know there is always the desire in man for freedom. It has never been suppressed in the history of civilization. We know that man will always strive for his freedom, and herein lies the weakness of socialism of all breeds, because socialism is based on force. That is not a new philosophy. The liberal philosophers of the last two centuries have always warned that any imposition of socialism inevitably means the imposition of force and that pressure cannot be relaxed. If it is relaxed mail will strive for his freedom. As soon as Stalinism was relaxed the slightest bit, all the satellites became restive. Was that just by chance? Was it the result of capitalist conspiracy? No. It was due to the natural desire of man to be free, and here is our avenue of attack.

How can we achieve the results we seek? Communism has a considerable hold in Russia, but if we look at the institutions through which the Communists work, we may find a channel through which we can deal with them. I would suggest one channel. The greatest support the Communists find in the world to-day is in the United Nations organization. Do not think for one moment that I am opposed to the United Nations. I am not, but I am very strongly opposed to the present method under which the organization works. The United Nations organization has been, to my mind, one of the great media through which Communist Russia has been influencing the world. Right throughout the history of the United Nations Russia has never, with only one exception, shown a desire not to use that organization. Just before the Korean war broke out the Russian delegate was absent for one short period which proved to be a critical period in the history of man. But ever since, Russia has used the United Nations as a vehicle for propaganda and a vehicle for the machinations of conspiracy. I have not the slightest doubt in my own mind that if Russia were removed from the United Nations organization one of our main problems would be solved, because there would be very important effects in other directions, as I will show later.

To say that Russia has not used the United Nations is to neglect the facts. No other nation has the extraordinary number of vetoes against its name. Why were they used? Surely it was to break down the work of the civilized world, the capitalist world, western democracy. Russia has achieved enormous success in handicapping us in dealing with world problems. Russia has used the United Nations as a very subtle vehicle for propaganda. In addition, it has built up the United Nations to a very considerable strength amongst the Russian people. The proceedings of the United Nations are very widely publicized, of course with the Russian slant. But if Russia were removed from the United Nations its leaders would have to explain to their people the reason for the world's council's action. After all. if the United Nations is to function at all surely it should function on high principles. There cannot be a law for the rich and a law for the poor; a law for the strong and a law for the weak. Has Russia fulfilled its obligation to support, in principle, the United Nations? I do not think I have to tell you the whole story, Mr. Speaker, but we all know that Russia has abused completely the principles of the United Nations by refusing to get out of Hungary at the request of the United Nations General Assembly. If we expel Russia - and it can be expelled - we shall create a difficult situation for the Russian leaders who will have to explain the expulsion to their own people. Recently it has come to the knowledge of the world that there is considerable unrest in Russia. We know that .Russian brigades refused to obey their commanders in Hungary. We know that eastern divisions had to be employed to carry out the dastardly work in Hungary. We are informed that intellectual people in Russia are listening to western broadcasts. What would be the position of the rulers of Russia if they had to explain to the Russian people why their country had been expelled from the United Nations? Personally, I believe that the expulsion of Russia would have a powerful effect on world opinion.

We must not believe that Russia is always strong and prepared. On several occasions, it has been caught on the wrong foot. I ask honorable members to consider the recent action of the British Government in Egypt. Every day, we receive more proof that Sir Anthony Eden was absolutely right. Present conditions in the Middle East are such that the Americans are beginning to realize that they have never understood Asiatic thinking there. When Great Britain and France acted against Egypt, Russia was caught - 1 was going to say with its pants down, but I will say on the wrong foot, lt began immediately to bluster and threaten atomic war against Great Britain.

I do not think that we should pursue a policy of fear, as it were. 1 cannot believe that any nation would start a major nuclear war. Some people are acting in accordance with the dictates of fear, which never got a man anywhere. We know that Russia is vulnerable, because, as I have said, when Great Britain acted against Egypt recently, the Russians were caught completely unawares. 1 know that the members of the Opposition say that international disputes should be settled by negotiation and conciliation, but although they preach that doctrine constantly, they do not use negotiation and conciliation themselves. There is, at present, a- great conflict in the Labour party. Can we imagine the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) attending a round-table conference with Mr. Keon, Mr. Manning and others, to settle his differences with them by conciliation? If the members of the Opposition cannot settle differences amongst themselves in that way, how can they suggest reasonably that negotiation and conciliation should be used in the international sphere? We know that those methods cannot be used internationally on many occasions, because unless both parties to a dispute are prepared to act honorably they will get nowhere with them.

Let me give an example to show what I have in mind. We read to-day, in the press, that Marshall Zhukov has issued a long statement in which he has said that in the event of a major war the Russians will be prepared lo use atomic weapons. It is significant to me that that statement was made at this juncture, when there is such great trouble, in the Middle East. We know that only the presence of United Nations troops in the Gaza strip is stopping Israel from going into the strip. If the United Nations troops go out, as has been suggested, why should not the Israelis go in? When the Israelis talk about going in, the Russians immediately issue threats about the use of atomic bombs. But I do not subscribe to the belief that a nuclear war could break out in the world to-day. and I feel that in this case the Russians are only threatening.

We have sought co-operation with the Russians in the United Nations. ' For the last ten years, we have tried to come to terms with them, but we have got nowhere. I hope honorable members will not misunderstand me when I say that the Russians do not even speak' the same language as we do. What I mean is that to the Russians light and night or truth and lies are exactly the same. Socialists believe that the end justifies the means, and the means used by the Russians are untruths, distortions, and lies. We remember the case of Nagy, who was promised safe conduct by the Russians and subsequently left the security of the Yugoslav embassy in Budapest. Where is he now? The facts speak for themselves. We cannot trust the word of the Russians.

How are we going to exist for the next 50 years? Is it practical politics to think that we can go on in the way we are going now, not taking active measures to stop the continual process of attack and infiltration which the Russians are using as a weapon in the cold war? T am trying to think of the prospects for the future. Today, it is one thing. To-morrow, it is another. In order to defend ourselves, we have to expand our economy more and more. That is one point.

The other point I want to make is that although we are living here in peace and security, there are millions of people in slave camps in Russia. Tens of thousands of people in Hungary have been torn from their families. Have we no responsibilities to our fellow beings? Some of us here experienced life under an Asiatic conqueror in a prison camp, but we always had the knowledge that the time would come when we would be free. I ask honorable members to try to look at the world through the eyes of a Russian who opposed communism, or through the eyes of a Hungarian, a Pole or a German who acted against world communism. What is the future that such persons face in camps in Siberia? Think of the tragedy of their lives. Are not they entitled to some support from Western people who enjoy freedom? Should we sit here comfortably and talk of housing and things like that while, not tens of thousands, but millions of people overseas exist under such tragic conditions? We all have consciences. We should try to find ways and means to conduct ourselves as Christians.

We look forward at present to an intolerable future. Each year, a new crisis will be created and, in order to meet it, we shall have to expand our economy further. At one time, the Russians will create a situation such that we shall feel that we require additional forces, and soon afterwards they will create conditions in which we shall feel that we shall have to supply more money to combat the influence of communism. It is always the Russians who take the initiative, it is always they who cause trouble, but we blindly follow the same course. It is time we took more positive action, and I believe that the action I have suggested would have the effect of causing a situation in Russia unfavorable to the rulers of that country. We have allies by the million - people who are suffering under the hated yoke of communism. We could use those people if we created the necessary conditions in their own country. If we did so. communism would crumble. I believe that that is the line of action we should follow, and I ask the House to consider it very carefully.

Is it possible for us to go on year after year with the methods we are using now, when they meet with such lack of success? Surely to goodness we should try a new method, and I suggest that the method I have mentioned would clip the wings of the rulers of Russia considerably. It would not be difficult to put into effect. The United Nations could ask Russia to get out of Hungary. After all, Russia is in breach of the treaty of 1947, under which it agreed to freedom in Hungary. If the United Nations were to say to Russia, " Get out of Hungary and allow free elections to be held there ", what would happen? The Russians would not get out, but their refusal to do so would be a sound reason for expelling Russia from the United Nations. While it is a member of the United Nations, it will be a continual source of mischief and malevolence. Every little tin-pot dictator will use Russia in order to blackmail the more peaceful members of society. If Russia were expelled from the United Nations, the Russian rulers would have to explain to their own people why their country had been expelled, and I believe that if they had to start to explain their actions they would be in difficulties. Qui s'excuse s'accuse

I turn to the question of housing. Yesterday, my colleague, the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton), in a very good speech, pointed out that, of all the States, New South Wales had the worst housing record. Personally, I believe that the attempt by the Opposition to censure the Government on housing is intended only as a cover for the backsliding and failure of the Labour Government of New South Wales. There is no government in Australia which has shown up so badly as the Cahill Government in New South Wales.

As to increases in costs, I feel that a great deal of the trouble with housing to-day is not the question of lack of funds, but the question of buyers' resistance. I asked bankers in my home town if they had money to lend for housing, and the answer was that they had money to lend on sound propositions. One banker told me that a man had come to him and wanted to borrow £3,000 to build a home. He had saved £200 and wanted to borrow the rest. The banker asked me, " Would it be a wise proposition to burden that debt around that man's neck for the rest of his life? It would take him 50 years to pay off £3,000 ".

Let us look at some of the elements in the cost of building. The New South Wales Government increased royalties on timber in its last budget. Increases of rail freights and of royalties on timber in New South Wales have added £200 to the cost of a timber-framed house. Quarterly adjustments of the basic wage, upon which Labour is so insistent, also increase housing costs. I believe that the Labour party is trying to create conditions in which our economy will break down, while at the same time attempting to cover up its machinations in order to put the blame on the Government.

A great proportion of the cost of building lies in wages, not only those paid to the actual builders, but also those paid to the people who produce building materials. Transport costs, and wages paid in the production of bricks and every single article used in building, have been increased in New South Wales as a result of quarterly adjustment of wages, and have added to the burden to be borne by people wanting to buy or build a home. The price of milk in New South Wales is heavier than in any other State. Why is that so? Why is schooling so far behind in New South Wales?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable gentleman's time has expired.







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