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Thursday, 4 April 1957


Mr BRYANT (Wills) .- It is my good fortune again to follow my friend, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson). I gather from the tenor of his arguments that if one opposes something one really supports it. However, I am afraid that 1 must oppose some of the sentiments he expressed. He accused us - us democratic socialists - of being anti-Christian, irreligious, generally Communist in derivation and, on the whole, a poor lot. Those points can be disproved in debates on other subjects.

I should like to turn to the problems of the times, as they arise in the debate on international affairs. After all, it is in international affairs that we can consider the main principles of human conduct. The honorable member for Hume and other honorable members opposite can rest assured about our feelings about tyrannical or terroristic regimes, such as that which prevails in Russia. But we have more things on our minds. There are more things to do than to spend all our periods of debate in considering places, people and the actions of governments over which we can have no control. After all, there are a considerable number of governments in the world over which we can exercise some sort of persuasion. J should say that one of the great failures of this Government has been to exercise persuasion of a peaceful nature on other peoples of the world. Australia has a particular duty arising from its geographical location and its historical background, to be free and independent in the councils of the world and to offer advice of a constructive nature on problems that arise.

I shall deal now with the speech of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). Though honorable members on the other side of the House have congratulated him on his speech, it seems to me to be simply a superficial study of world affairs; it is a leaving certificate essay, perhaps, but it is not what 1 expect from a man whose record has been so great. I have referred to " Who's Who in Australia ", for information about the background of various honorable members, and I am astonished that honorable members on the other side, in view of their achievements in other fields, can be so completely superficial in their approach to politics, and particularly international affairs. We are now going through what I believe to be a great time in history. I believe this is a time similar to the Renaissance of four or five centuries ago. It is a time of change in the outlook and attitude of people, lt is a resurgence of common humanity, and our part in the struggle should be to help.

For 300 years, the rest of the world has learned to live in terror of Europeans. It did not matter much whether one was a Lama on a hill in Tibet, or an aboriginal in a wurlie in Arnhem land; at some stage a European would come along, and take a plaster cast of one's head, sell a poor watch or take over the territory. The people of Asia, if they have any historical knowledge at all. must look with some disfavour on the attitudes of Europeans over the last 300 years, lt is our duty to show them that the constructive works and the great things in the European way of life can be brought to them. This Government has failed to introduce that kind of thinking to the councils of the world. The Government has a big majority in this House, it exercises authority in the country, and it is in favour with the great organs of public opinion, but its attitude causes me a great deal of despondency. I fear for the world if we have no more creative or constructive thoughts than we have heard here to-day. 1 do not believe that there will be a general world war, In the twenty minutes at my disposal, I shall not have the time to analyse the situation completely and to show why I think that. But we have simply to consider the case of President Nasser of Egypt. Twenty years ago, 30 years ago or 40 years ago, President Nasser would have been swatted like a fly. He would not have lasted for five minutes. He is in charge of one of the poorest nations of the world, and he is not, perhaps, treated with respect, but at least other nations are pondering - biting their fingers, so to speak - on how they can solve the problem of Nasser. Gunboat diplomacy has gone out! lt finally collapsed last year with the Suez escapade of the British and French. But one comfort I derive from the situation is the knowledge that Nasser is able to survive and is able to defy much of the world's opinion in the way that he has done, because it shows that most of the leaders of the world, faced with the problem of a world war, draw back from its terror. I believe that there is hope for us in the future.

In international affairs to-day we should be thinking more of hope than of fear. We in Australia have something to offer. Australia's influence cannot be measured in terms of battleships. The great things in our civilization have often sprung from small communities. Let us turn back 2,500 years to the people of Athens. Statistics at that time were not very reliable, but the city had a population of, perhaps, only 10,000 free men. Yet a great deal of our civilization and culture has sprung from it and we have heard here to-day tributes to the Olympic Games and the Olympic spirit. Our own homeland of England is a small island off the coast of Europe and is not much bigger than Tasmania. It was populated 300 years ago by only 4,000,000 English-speaking people. Yet its influence has been so great that now, 300 years later, one in every eight people in the world speaks its native language, and its culture and many of its great achievements are part and parcel of the fabric of civilization itself.

The authority of Australia in the councils of the world cannot be measured in terms of battleships. Some of its tradition can be seen now. We have the unfortunate military venture in Malaya, but Malaya will soon be completely free of colonial or imperial conquest. On two occasions in the past - three, if Korea be included - Australian people have been ready and willing to defend other peoples of the world against aggression and invasion. That is the tradition we should be following. We do nol want to associate ourselves with the last relics of colonialism that, unfortunately, still remain in the world to-day. The times give us cause for hope - the hope for a great release of physical resources made possible by research; the hope that human suffering will be reduced through medical research; the hope for great advances in this country under the auspices of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and other research institutes, leading to the increase of the food production of the world. There is the challenge to find some way to raise the standards of less fortunate peoples to those that we enjoy. That is an idealistic concept, I know, but unless one's vision is on the furthest light, one will not travel very far. I believe that -

.   . a man's reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what's a heaven for?

Despite these things, despite the great international events, we run into what I consider are the childish attitudes of many of the leaders of the world. Last year the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) banned the Chinese opera-


Mr Chaney - That is not right.


Mr BRYANT - Politically, it is certainly not Left. " Banning " can be defined in any way, but the Chinese opera was not allowed to appear at the time and place it wanted to appear. The Chinese Government itself was no better. Because a Formosan team was coming to the Olympic Games, the Chinese Government would not allow its team to come. It is an odd world; when we have national leaders of that calibre, it is no wonder we are in trouble.

I thought that the speech of the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock) was well delivered, but I disagree with the opinion he expressed - not so much on the inevitability of war - on the inevitability of the division of humanity into two irreconcilable power blocs. I do not think that view need be accepted. We should bend our efforts to make it untenable. When 1 give some consideration to the problems of the world and the things we should be considering, I see no answer at all in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs. We have problems such as the strengthening of the United Nations, the abolition of international friction as now exists between India and South Africa, and between Israel and Arab nations. Some attempt should be made to control such international monopolies as the oil, shipping and financial combines. We have the incredible poverty of many of the nations, and we do not need to seek any further than Egypt to find an example df that attitude. I wish also to refer to slavery, unhappily still in existence, as reported in the " Canberra Times " only yesterday, and to the very strong forces of colonialism that are still extant. I shall expand these points a little later.

In this and other debates we have heard Ministers of the Crown sneering at the suggestion that the United Nations is capable of effective operations. I do not in this connexion refer to such comments as that of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Stokes), who said, quite fairly, that the United Nations has no forces with which to enforce its decisions. We should, however, at least expect Ministers of the Crown to bend every effort towards increasing the prestige of the United Nations in the public view.

I turn now to the matter of friction between Israel and the Arab nations. On this question I am on the side of the Israelis. Israel is an oasis of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. But what do we do to solve this problem? There is no point in talking of racial hatred. There is no such thing as permanent, continuing racial hatred, unless it is continually stirred up by people talking about it and advocating it. There is no reason why the Israelis and the Arabs should not live peaceably side by side. But there are two or three ways in which we must attack the problem. We must do something militarily about the borders of Israel. We should guarantee and, if necessary, police them. We must do something socially about the refugee problem. We must also do something politically and economically about raising the living standards of the Arabs, because the Arabs will be constantly provoked by the sight of the Israeli nation apparently raising its liv ing standards while the Arabs continue in a state of poverty.

One of the challenges that should be taken up is that of the international oil monopoly. Apparently " monopoly " is not a clean word. It is in the dictionary, however. It describes a situation that we have seen many times. We have seen our own country defied by the shipping companies and the oil companies. We have also seen India carry on a fight with the shipping companies and make them accept India's terms. When we know the way in which these monopolies operate, it is the duty of the Minister for External Affairs to be on guard against them and to integrate action to curb them. These Middle East countries will, in the end, rise as great national states. There is no international section 92 to restrict their field of action. The Opposition agrees that by means of the Colombo plan we are making some small contribution to the alleviation of the great poverty of the people of the East. We should, however, do more than continue to extend aid in the form of charity. We must trade with China and with the other countries of South-East Asia. That is the only effective way to cope with the situation. We may even be able to devise a quid pro quo, some lend-lease system under which those people can establish trading credits with Australia.

I have mentioned the matter of slavery, which is still extant. Nothing was said about this great human problem in the Minister's speech or by any honorable member on the Government side of the House. In the " Canberra Times " of 3rd April, 1957, there appeared an article, based on the report of the Anti-Shivery Society, extracts from which arc as follows: - " It cannot be claimed any longer that slavery is a dying institution ", says the society's secretary. Commander T. S. L. Fox-Pitt. "The new wealth coming to the Arabian slave owners from ofl royalties has created a more effective demand for slaves."

Here we have another effect of the operations of the great oil companies. The article goes on: -

In Saudi Arabia, the society reports, slavery is a " well-known trade patronised by the Royal family . . ."

I have no further time to dilate on that matter.

During the last ten years we have seen, unfortunately, colonialism and imperialism and all the evidences of racial discrimination in the various nations of the world. Let us consider the experience of Formosa, which country has been given quite a hearing in the debate this afternoon. When we look at the history of that unfortunate and unhappy island, we find that it was invaded by the Japanese in 1896, and an article in the " Far Eastern Survey ", a journal of the American Institute of Pacific Relations, of 11th April, 1945, gives us the following information: -

In attempts to force the countryside to rid itself of rebels, entire communities were punished for acts by individuals. For example, the garrison troops at Toroku village in Taichu Province were ordered in 1896 to kill all living things within a radius of 4 miles of the village.

We know the habits of the Japanese sufficiently well to realize that this would have been done very effectively. The issue of the same journal of 5th November, 1947, gives the following description of events that occurred in Formosa in that year: -

That night, by eight o'clock, the debarkation area at Keelung, port of the capital city, was cleared by machine-gun fire and thousands of Kuomintang Army forces landed and swarmed toward the capital, armed and equipped with American and Japanese materiel ... It is reliably estimated that from 50,000 to 70,000 troops were moved into Formosa in March. A correlation of all foreigners' reports and reports of reputable Formosans and of some mainlanders shocked by Chen Yi's brutality indicates that approximately 10,000 Formosan-Chinese men and women were slaughtered or, disappearing, are presumed dead.

We associate ourselves with this by supporting the rights of the rulers of that island to speak for China and sit on her behalf in the United Nations, not merely to sit as ordinary members, but as representatives of one of the Big Five. That is indefensible on any basis, whether on a basis of numbers of population, of the rights of these people to rule, or of the position of Formosa as a world power. We cannot support such a proposition.

I now wish to say something about the Minister's remarks concerning Cyprus. When I mention Cyprus and Kenya I do not want honorable members to think that I am anti-British. I am, however, opposed to the actions of the British Government in these places, and I sympathise with the ordinary people of Britain who have to police the dreadful policies applied there.

We read a week or so ago of a youthof nineteen who was hanged in Cyprus for having carried arms. Either we believe in self-determination or we do not. We cannot support such actions while we criticize similar actions of other nations. It seems incredible to me that the events in Kenya, Cyprus and Ghana should be occurring at the same time. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) mentioned Kenya as a place of refuge. Turning to the debates of the House of Commons, I find that in the three and a half years up to the end of last quarter of 1956, no fewer than 1,071 people were executed in Kenya. They were executed for all sorts of crimes, 337 for unlawful possession of fire-arms, 95 for carrying ammunition, and 54 for administering unlawful oaths. These are matters that have been kept quiet. These are things of which we have heard little. The Minister for External Affairs, by his very refusal to answer straight-out questions in this House, has participated in the endeavour to keep these matters quiet.

Government supporters interjecting,

Mr.ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER.Order! There are too many interjections.


Mr BRYANT - They are completely irrelevant, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker. The Minister said in his speech that Colonel Nasser is a master of evasion. The Minister has shown himself to be a master of evasion by the way in which he has side-stepped questions in this House. I believe that the happenings in Hungary are also indefensible. The records are there for every one to see. Do not, however, talk with tongue in cheek, attacking people for things that have happened in Hungary, while ignoring similar events elsewhere. Whether people are Christians or Jews whether they be black, brown, red or white, their lives are equally valuable, and our duty towards them is clear.

My analysis of international affairs can be reduced to this statement: I do not want my children, or yours, to lie in some muddy trench or on some jungle trail lining up in the sights of their rifles, their rockets and atomizers some one else's children.

Government supporters interjecting,

Mr.ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER.Order!


Mr BRYANT - I understand their restiveness, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker; honorable members opposite are merely alining themselves completely with the militaristic policies that have resulted in barbarism, riot, destruction and tyranny during 6,000 years of human history. The bomb, the spear, the bayonet and the sword have been the measures by which the people whose policies Government members support have ruled other people. I might adopt a thought from the works of Robert Louis Stevenson and add a little to it, and 1 say that all the children of the world, and ail the people in the world, and all the parents in the world must be treated with the same spirit. We have to attempt, by persuasion, by our authority, and by the example of our past history, to persuade the other peoples of the world to use the same sort of policies towards humanity that we expound in this place and in the councils of the world, and unless the Government does this, it will deny us our place in history.







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