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Tuesday, 2 April 1957


Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) .- I think the people of Australia should take particular note of the two speeches that have been delivered to-night. The first, delivered by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), was a reasoned statement presenting the Government's policy and suggestions, a statement of achievement in the field of international affairs. We have, on the side of achievement, Seato, the Anzus pact, the Colombo plan and a network of defence in this country which is much greater than when the Labour party went out of office. We now have friends that we did not have during Labour's term of office. During my recent trip to the Far East, I was impressed by the number of ordinary people who asked me " How is your Mr. Casey? " That was a tribute to the Minister, who has established not only this country but also himself in the hearts and minds of the people in that area who desire peace.

On the other hand, we had the speech of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). One aspect of his speech that impressed me was the implication that any one who agreed with honorable members on this side of the House was reactionary, but that anybody who opposed us should receive support. It seems to me that this is the policy of the present Australian Labour party. I ask the people of this Commonwealth to consider for a moment what the Leader of the Opposition said in his opening remarks. I would point out to them that the present Opposition is the alternative government to the present Government.


Mr Peters - It will be the government!


Mr LUCOCK - God forbid that that should happen! The speech made by the right honorable member for Barton is an indication, therefore, of what the foreign policy of this country could be, and at a time when we are facing great difficulties and dangers it would be a tragedy for Australia if the Labour party ever gained the treasury bench. This is a time of difficulty and danger, when we should have a definite policy, and a policy of firmness.


Mr J R FRASER - As in 1941!


Mr LUCOCK - I am very happy that that has been said, because in the time that I have been in this House that remark has been passed by Opposition members on a considerable number of occasions. They have frequently spoken of the Menzies Government having run away from its responsibilities in 1941. Every time a Labour member makes such a statement as that he shows a complete ignorance of military matters. Fortunately the Labour party at that time had among its members men of the calibre of the late John Curtin and the late Ben Chifley, and, therefore, it was able to make a valuable contribution towards the solution of our problems. I would point out, in reply to honorable members who speak of the Menzies Government having run away from its responsibilities, that there was once a man who betrayed his Master and his cause for 30 pieces of silver. But after that betrayal he at least had the decency to hang himself. Unfortunately, the men who betrayed the Menzies Government in 1941 did not have the courage to follow the historical example. The late John Curtin at least had the courage and the political honesty to admit that the foundation of the Australian Labour party's war effort was laid by the preceding government.


Mr Ward - Rubbish! The honorable member does not know what he is talking about.


Mr LUCOCK - The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who has flown in an aeroplane probably only in Australia, would not fully appreciate the privilege that I was granted in being allowed to participate in the Empire air training scheme. That scheme has been acknowledged by all as one of the means by which this country and the free world were saved, and it was commenced a long time before the Labour government came near the treasury bench.


Mr Ward - On paper only.







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