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Thursday, 4 April 1957

Mr STOKES (Maribyrnong) . - Earlier in this debate, the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) strongly asserted that we should depend upon the United Nations to solve the differences and difficulties that beset world affairs, and he emphasized the importance of subservience to international law. There is no doubt that, in the interests of world peace, we must endeavour to proceed along those lines, but 1 think that the main issue, as the right honorable and learned gentleman must know, is that any law that is not capable of enforcement and is continually flouted becomes bad. Unfortunately, we have in recent years seen many examples of acts that flouted international law. Instances are to be found in events in Poland, Hungary, Egypt and Israel, where a coup de force has been used and jungle law has been allowed to transcend the directions of the United Nations. In our own country, Mr. Speaker. courts have been established to maintain our social laws, but without a strong efficient, well-equipped and well-organized police force, many of our laws could not be enforced or sustained, ft is in the absence of a force available to the United Nations for the enforcement of international law, and not in ils general concept, that we see its main weakness. The strength of the main powers makes it almost impracticable to establish a United Nations force of sufficient strength to be maintained as such unless each member country provides a quota comparable to its strength, accepts responsibility for arming, training and maintaining its component of the force within its own resources, and pledges it to the United Nations for use as that organization directs. Another defect in the United Nations structure, as I see it, is the principle of one vote for each member adopted in the

General Assembly. To take one illustration, this leads to the peculiar position of Liberia having a voting status equal to that of the United States of America.

On this occasion, I wish to direct my remarks to a matter that I have raised previously in this House - Indonesia's claims to Dutch New Guinea. 1 intend to emphasize three important facts in rebuttal of those claims. The first of these facts is the utter dissimilarity, racially, between the Indonesian people, who have centuries of culture behind them, and the 750,000 natives of Dutch New Guinea, who have little culture and no common language. The Leader of the Opposition, referring to the dispute between Egypt and Israel, stated that in his opinion it was not due to racial differences, but was a grab for oil by the major powers. One of the bases of Indonesia's claim to Dutch New Guinea is a suggested racial similarity between the Indonesians and the people that they allegedly wish to emancipate, but it appears that there is in fact an attempt to grab a possible oil-producing area. The second important fact that I wish to emphasize is the utter lack of national aspirations among the primitive inhabitants of Dutch New Guinea in their present state and for some considerable time to come. The third fact is that sterling work is being done by the Netherlands Government in improving the living conditions, education, and medical hygiene of the aboriginal inhabitants of Dutch New Guinea, and in developing its mineral potential and its limited pastoral resources. Despite these major facts, and, in addition, the fact that the agreement for the granting of self-government to the Indonesian Republic by the Netherlands Government expressly excluded Dutch New Guinea from the new republic, Indonesia persists in its spurious claims. It would appear that the Indonesians, having received most of the loaf, now want the rest, as represented by that part of Dutch New Guinea which they are pleased to call West Irian, with its potential sources of mineral wealth. In other words, they propose colonization for gain, which was the very essence of their charges against the Netherlands Government.

President Soekarno has clearly shown that he is an opportunist of the first order. Proof of this is to be found in his record as set out in a biography published in 1947.

During his years of revolutionary activity he employed several political philosophies, and accepted assistance from different nations to attain his ends. In 1926, finding that his Marxist philosophy was too extreme for the majority of Indonesians, he modelled his nationalist organization on the Congress party in India, and emulated Gandhi's tactics of boycott and noncooperation, in 1929, he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for inciting armed resistance, but was released in the following year. In 1932, he was again arrested, and was exiled to the island of Flores, and later transferred to Sumatra. Although President Soekarno at that time naturally was anti-Dutch, he was also strongly antiJapanese. But when the Japanese invasion forces freed him in 1942, he became an active collaborator with the Japanese and in fact went to Japan personally to accept at the hands of the Emperor the insignia of an order bestowed on him. The Japanese proclaimed a republic in Indonesia, and Soekarno became president three days after the Japanese surrender and six weeks before British forces entered Java to disarm the Japanese. Whether rightly or wrongly, President Soekarno then explained away his collaboration with the Japanese by stating that they had tried to use the Indonesians for their own purposes, and that he had turned the tables on them and prepared the Indonesians for their own liberty.

More recently, the President has returned from a visit to red China and has again swung over to - if he has ever really departed from - his original philosophy. This time he has dressed it up carefully and called it " controlled democracy ". This is, I maintain, merely another euphonism for communism.

Let us turn now to the present position of the Indonesian Government. The President is faced with the tremendous difficulty of avoiding the disintegration of the Republic. Development has been financed, to some extent, from Soviet funds and there has, of course, also arisen its concomitant, a demand for the inclusion of the Community party of Indonesia in the Cabinet. Communist activity was evident in the Netherlands East Indies long before Indonesia obtained self-government, but was severely curbed by strong and direct action on the part of the Netherlands Government. Under President Soekarno's ad ministration the Communist party of Indonesia has grown into a strong and wellorganized body which, upon being admitted to the Cabinet, would undoubtedly have as its main aim the complete control of the government. The President's " conception " for Indonesia is undoubtedly the machinery by which this would be done, lt is, indeed, the price that all satellite countries must pay for Soviet aid and protection.

I would like to quote some statistics of the general election held on 29th September, 1955, to illustrate the strength of the Indonesian Communist party, which is known as the P.K.I. The Communists polled a little less than 6,250,000 votes out of a total of approximately 37,750,000 - approximately 1 7 per cent, of the total votes cast. They gained 39, out of a total of 257, seats and became one of the four main parties among the many that are represented in the Indonesian Parliament. The other three are the P.N.I, or Nationalist party, which has 57 seats, the Masjumi - the moderate Moslems - which has 57 seats and the Nahdatal Ulama, or N.U., the traditional Moslem party, which has 45 seats. Quite recently the Nationalist party and the N.U. agreed, at the direction of the President, upon the formation of a compromise cabinet, but as this does not meet the demands of the other parties it has no real stability.

I turn now to the placing of the dispute over Dutch New Guinea before the Assembly of the United Nations. This has undoubtedly been done in order to strengthen Indonesia's claim and show the world that she has the support of at least Soviet Russia, red China and other nations of the Afro-Asian bloc. But, as Sir Percy Spender said when addressing the Assembly of the United Nations, it was nothing more than " the airing of political campaigns for the expropriation of territories ".

There is nothing to support Indonesian claims that the Dutch are blocking development in Dutch New Guinea. To the contrary, the Dutch Government has spent approximately £30,000,000 in excess of revenue in the last six years in developing the territory. For example, during last year alone it spent £10,600,000. Of this sum £694,000 was spent on public health, and £769.000 on education. The total revenue of the country for that year was on, £3,800,000. These large sums are mostly used for the purposes that I have mentioned and for developmental surveys of the mineral resources of- the Vogelkop Peninsula, which is, 1 believe, the main prize that Indonesia hopes to gain. The remainder is spent on pastoral development and consumer goods. If anything is blocking development it is the Indonesian claim which is preventing. Dutch and other investors from sinking money into developmental loans.

Cn ihe other hand, we find that Indonesia cannot manage its own affairs. Australian columnist Geoffrey Fairbairn was reported in the Brisbane " Courier-Mail " of 20th February last as saying of the Indonesian Republic -

The future of the country is beyond conjecture - there is no hope of economic improvement for years to come; if anything the reverse.

The truth of this statement notwithstanding, on the 17th March President Soekarno, in announcing his intention to form a new allparty cabinet, said -

How can any one say the Indonesian revolution was complete when West Irian remained under the heel of the Dutch?

Plainly, President Soekarno is using the old external whipping-post tactics, a common device of dictators to divert attention from domestic difficulties. He found such a. whipping-post near to hand in the pseudo claim to Dutch New Guinea.

The Indonesian Government has asserted that the future of Dutch New Guinea is of no concern to Australia. To realize just how ludicrous this is one need only think back to the last war, and consider how different the result would have been if, in 1919, Japan had been granted a mandate over German New Guinea by the League of Nations. As honorable members will realize, this was prevented by the untiring efforts of the then Prime Minister, William Morris Hughes. If Japan had been able to establish, over the ensuing twenty years, bases in German New Guinea, the result of World War II., so far as Australia is concerned, would have been very different.

The maintenance of a buffer state free of Communist direction and control is imperative to our own survival. There is no other real reason why Indonesia and Australia cannot act as good neighbours. If the price of goodwill is the closing of our eyes to an expropriation of territory for gain, with a strong possibility of a Communistcontrolled stepping-stone at our very front door, it is too big a price to pay. I am certain that the Australian people will realize this danger and strongly support the Australian Government's policy of the maintenance of the present status quo in Dutch New Guinea.

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