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Thursday, 4 April 1957

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- Time does not permit me at this stage to offer extensive criticism of the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), as there are one or two things I desire to say particularly. However, later in my speech 1 hope to have the opportunity to pass a few comments on his attitude towards the United Nations and other relevant matters.

The recent federal conference of the Australian Labour Party in Brisbane decided amongst other things that -

Australia is, and must always remain, an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, as well as of the United Nations Organization. Co-operation with the United States in the Pacific is of crucial importance and must be maintained and extended, in accordance with the spirit of thi* declaration.

These sentiments, to my mind, typify our relationship with the great Powers that have always been to the forefront in the fight for world peace and democracy. We must maintain this goodwill and, whilst retaining our right as Australians to determine policies, both national and international, of benefit to Australia, by consultation and understanding we must work together for peace and for the betterment of the peoples of the world.

Like all Australians, I realize and appreciate the great contribution made by the people of the United States when in the last great conflict they fought side by side with Australian men and women' to protect and defend our country and to ensure the freedom and survival of our people. 1 also believe that because of our similarity in temperament and outlook, our geographical position, our place in the Pacific, and our belief in democracy and freedom. Australia and America are inevitably linked in the future as they were in the past, only infinitely more so. The Labour Conference decision, therefore, was most timely. I believe that all Australians - and particularly parliamentarians - should take advantage of opportunities to visit America and other countries in order to study at first hand the problems of those nations and to gain a knowledge of their outlook, both national and international.

About twelve months ago, I received an invitation from the United States Department of State to visit America under the programme of International Education Exchange, to study and observe the United States Congress in session and any other matters in which 1 might be interested. The object of this programme, amongst other things, is to further mutual understanding and goodwill between Australia and the United States. There were, of course, some who said it was a brainwashing expedition and, in addition, 1 had a few friends who said, " That will not give them much trouble because he has not many brains ". 1 particularly mention, for the benefit of honorable members, that prior to my departure and before the invitation was issued, I was informed in writing by the American authorities that I was entirely unrestricted in my right to see and observe, to criticize, and to form and express my own impressions of all things that came to my notice. In other words, I was a free agent. This attitude was confirmed by the United States Department of State immediately upon my arrival in Washington. I make this point clear so that honorable members will realize that I was not directed towards any particular channel and also that 1 was not an exception to the general rule. Persons invited under these schemes from many countries were given similar unrestricted rights to see, observe and criticize. In these circumstances, 1 accepted the invitation and took the opportunity to see at first hand, in a way available possibly to very few members of the Parliament, the American way of life and to form lasting and firm impressions on their politics, both national and international, and on many other aspects of interest to me as a member of the Labour party and of the Commonwealth Parliament. lt is my belief, and it is confirmed by the Labour Conference decision, that if other nations, particularly many that are critical of the United States, extended invitations on the same basis as the United States and our own country, they should be accepted because only in this way will we ultimately achieve that mutual understanding and goodwill so necessary in our efforts to maintain world peace. Unfortunately, however, many of the most bitter critics of the United

States from countries other than our own, confine their invitations to conducted toursand praiseworthy statements only.

I was amazed, if I may say so, at the opposition to my proposed visit at that time and the efforts of certain members of thisParliament, some of them former members of a government that had appealed to America in the war years for assistance, to prevent me making this visit, in fact, strong pressure was exerted by certain people on the American authorities in an effort to prevent my acceptance of the invitation. I suppose, however, that criticism of this kind is to be expected from individuals who should know better and who in some cases have seldom travelled further than Randwick race-course. The short-sighted, narrow-minded, jealous individual or the drone is always to be found in the community, ever ready to criticize and misconstrue the real objects of a proposal, but rarely possessing the ability or the energy to undertake such a mission. Conduct such as that which took place prior to my departure for America by certain people is more in keeping, with goons or zombies than with supposedly responsible members Of the community.

In the course of my visit to the United States, completely unrestricted. I was able to obtain at first hand intimate knowledge of national activity. Government, labour, management and many sections of the American people contributed in their own way towards ensuring that I obtained a clear, unbiased picture of the American scene.- It is true that I was in disagreement wilh many of their policies and possibly their methods. The fact that I was their visitor did not mean that I had to agree with all that was being done in the United States or abroad. America is a democratic nation, and 1 found, for instance, that many people in that country were in disagreement with their country's foreign policy in Asia and other places. I found, also, that there was an appreciation that, in the field of international affairs, Australia from time to time was well justified in adopting a line of action quite opposed to the United States, but yet undoubtedly very necessary from an Australian point of view.

I formed the impression that the American people displayed a keen interest in world affairs and had a genuine desire to assist people in other countries who were much worse off than themselves. There was a genuine desire to prevent the spread of communism at home and abroad and a feeling that this could be done to some extent by raising the standard of living of the people of Asia and other countries. The Foreign Aid Programmes and the fact that the American taxpayer, whatever his position, is making his personal contribution towards those programmes, showed the sincere desire of the average American to make his contribution towards an improvement in the living standards of the people of the world, and to ensure world peace and harmony amongst nations.

Undoubtedly the firm belief of the Americans in freedom, their great productive capacity, their population and their complete opposition to the forces of communism, place them in the forefront of the nations of the world in the fight against the Communist menace. I do not say that I agree completely with their methods of fighting communism. They differ to a great extent from our own method, and I believe that it is preferable to know who our enemies are, and where to fight them and pick them up if the occasion arises. That is the position in this country under the policy of Labour, and I believe it to be a sound policy.

I summarize these comments by saying that I am not one ever-ready to criticize America and praise iron curtain countries, which restrict freedom and, whilst preaching the doctrine of liberty, evidently deny to the vast majority of people within their borders those things that are fundamental to a free society. I believe that the sincere intentions of the Americans on many occasions are misunderstood and that they are not given full credit for their earnest endeavours to assist many nations badly in need of financial aid and capital goods, and for their efforts towards world peace. America, from my observations, faces problems with which we, at this stage, do not have to contend. It is true that the American racial problem is grave and serious. Internally, it presents a great problem for the Government and externally it most certainly must have an effect on America's foreign policy, particularly in Asia. At a later stage I hope to be able to express my views on our important immigration policy known as the White Australia policy.

Mr Casey - It is not a White Australia policy.

Mr DALY - I suggest to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that he should earnestly consider instituting a similar type of exchange system to that under which I travelled. I believe that money would be well spent in bringing to Australia people from other countries, so that they may study, observe and gain a real appreciation of our policies, our way of life, and our general approach to national problems. This might be termed an extension of the Colombo plan, but it would enable us to show to visitors the potential of our country and the freedom and the opportunities that it offers.

The Minister might also consider the appointment in diplomatic missions abroad of people skilled in labour affairs. The American Department of State has labour experts in its various overseas missions and offices. I believe that the appointment of these labour officers, particularly in Asian countries, would prove invaluable to Australia.

To the American Government I would say that I believe its system of international exchange visits undoubtedly makes a great contribution to goodwill and understanding between nations. The knowledge gained by those who participate in these visits is invaluable. I hope that ultimately the Government of the United States will be able to extend its programme to cover a wider field, so enabling this country and others to reap the benefits of the knowledge to be gained in the United States. I feel, in common with the delegates to the recent conference of the Australian Labour party, that continued co-operation with the United States, in conjunction with the maintenance of policies designed to further Australia's interests, must inevitably bring mutual benefits to our two countries, which have so much in common.

I come now to another aspect of this matter with which I was particularly concerned during my American visit. There are many people in our community to-day who feel that our immigration laws should be changed and that a quota system should apply to Asiatic immigration. Only two days ago I listened to Sir John Latham in Sydney addressing a gathering on this very problem. Having closely observed the problem confronting the American people, internally and externally, of this matter of racial differences, I believe that any whittling down of our present immigration policy would render a great disservice to this country. I believe, as did Sir John Latham, that there are too many people in this country who are prepared to apologize for our policy, and that if we were to explain our policy to the peoples of other countries they would clearly understand our position and the fact that it is our right, as it is the right of every country, to decide who shall make up our population. The Colombo plan and the other ways in which we have given concrete aid are indications of our desire to promote goodwill among the peoples of Asia, but we will defeat our object if we allow people overseas to gain a false impression of our immigration policy. Possibly the greatest advocate of our immigration policy, as it affects Asian nations, is the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), and I shall read to the House an extract from an article by the honorable member, entitled " I Stand by White Australia ", which appeared in the Melbourne " Argus " of 24th October, 1949, because I believe this extract summarizes our approach to the problem.

Mr Casey - I rise to order. While I take no objection, in general, to the speech of the honorable member, I suggest that he has, on several occasions, given a description of our immigration policy that is highly offensive to all the peoples of free Asia. Our immigration policy is not called a White Australia policy. I should like that to be emphasized. That offensive expression has never been used officially or in official documents, and I protest against its use in this chamber.

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