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Thursday, 11 April 1957


Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Perhaps only a quarter. We do not apologize for the point of view that we have expressed in this debate. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), at the conclusion of a particularly hostile reference to the United Nations in his speech on 9th April, made a remark which illustrates a thought that is running through the minds of Government supporters, and which is a dangerous thought for this country and its international relations. The honorable member for Angas said -

What confidence can we possibly derive from ihe manner of its proceedings?

He was speaking of the United Nations. He continued - lt is fast becoming a partisan, a group-ridden assembly.

That is the language of a destroyer, and there is no place in world affairs for those whose only object is destruction. One can well imagine that of all the comments that have been made in this debate, that is the one most likely to gladden the hearts of the Russian leaders, because they would welcome a general acceptance by the English-speaking people of the belief ex pressed by the honorable member for Angas - that the United Nations is now becoming a partisan, group-ridden assembly.


Mr Downer - That is a matter of fact. The honorable member will not face the facts.


Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am facing the facts. Those are the actual words of the honorable member for Angas. When I heard him use those words I was staggered.


Mr Downer - Those are not merely words; those are the facts regarding the United Nations.


Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Russia has always given the impression that it regards the United Nations as a partisan, group-ridden assembly. It has always endeavoured to belittle the work of the United Nations, in the hope that one day that organization would be destroyed.

Having listened to the speech of the honorable member for Angas, I awaited anxiously the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), hoping that in the interests of world security and the security of this country he would repudiate at least some of the statements of the honorable member for Angas. However, he did not repudiate those statements. Rather did he leave us with the impression that he agreed with the views expressed by the honorable member. Looking back on those speeches that were made on 9th April - and I listened to every word of them carefully - one must be impressed by the fact that the Prime Minister's contribution consisted of a series of selected questions and a few answers. During the 42 minutes of his speech, he asked himself a question every 90 seconds. From the type of consideration that the Prime Minister gave to the question, thepeople of this nation are expected to arrive at a conclusion as to what is best for Australia in the realm of international affairs.

We on this side of the House believefirmly in the principles of the United Nations. We believe that the world must be given some hope that it will not be exposed to a war in which nuclear and' thermo-nuclear weapons will be used. We are not prepared to endorse a view suchas we have heard expressed by the PrimeMinister, because the expression of such views must lead to one dreadful end for us. all. The Prime Minister gave the show away when he asked the final question at the end of his long series of questions. He asked whether the intervention by the United Nations was good - not for the immediate cessation of fighting, but whether it was good at all. He said that it was good tor the immediate cessation of the fighting, but that it was not good for peace in the long run.


Mr Graham - That is quite right.


Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My friend says that it was not good for peace in the long run. The Prime Minister enumerated four reasons why it was not good, the fourth one of which was as follows: -

If a major war seems unlikely to-day it is because of the deterrent. It is because of the deterrent primarily, and the concerted friendship and organization of free powers backing up the deterrent. But a great war might still be produced by an incautious arrogance on the part of the Soviet -Union, flushed wilh the success it has been having. That is always a possible cause of some mad stroke that may produce a war.

Let us analyse those words. Do the nations of the world lack appreciation of the effects of nuclear war? I commend to all honorable members the remarks made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) during this debate. Are we merely to sit by, as the Prime Minister suggests, and trust that there will not be a war, and that one of the great powers will not make some injudicious or incautious move that will produce a third world war? The United Nations was established by five great powers. Quite contrary to the view expressed by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes), it was set up with the distinct purpose of ensuring that the world, having emerged from two major wars, would not suffer a third one. At the time of the establishment of the United Nations, the effects of nuclear warfare were not considered in the way that they are to-day, but those five great powers must have understood that if we cannot arrive at an understanding in respect of the use of nuclear weapons, the world must perish. Is it not the duty of every person in a free parliament anywhere in the world to demand that all nations shall observe the decisions of the United Nations? That is our job in this Parliament, and we must recognize that any nation, whether it be Russia, Great Britain, France or the United

States of America, which flouts a decision arrived at by the General Assembly of the United Nations, jeopardizes world peace.

I know that honorable members opposite are wondering what will happen if Russia takes the fatal step. I agree that we shall be in great danger if Russia does so. but what should we do in the meantime? Do we go on from day to day hoping that no incautious act on the part of one of the nations will cause a nuclear war? ls the United Kingdom Government to be condemned because it faced the issue only recently and said - for which it was criticized by the American press - that if a nuclear war were to start. Great Britain could not be defended? Having seen a film on atomic weapons in this building only about ten days ago, I looked forward with eagerness to another speech of the Prime Minister, that on defence, which the right honorable gentleman made here recently. He spoke of ringing Sydney with some kind of defensive equipment, although we all know - and no one better than the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) - that one hydrogen bomb would wipe out the City of Sydney.

Are we in the hopeless situation that the world is doomed, and that we can only await the day when Russia drops a nuclear bomb? We on this side of the House do not believe that that is the position. We believe that the United Nations is strong enough to save the world, provided that we have the will to see that its decisions are carried out, and provided that it is supported by the free peoples and in all the free parliaments.


Mr Roberton - Why does not the honorable member speak up?


Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We believe that the United Nations is strong enough to save even Scotland, from which country the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) came. We think that the United Nations can save the world from those things that the British Government has said are inevitable in a nuclear war.

I say quite frankly. Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, that the only hope for the world is a strong United Nations and adherence to its charter. That, after all, is the policy of the Australian Labour party, which has resolved to support, on all occasions, the efforts of the United Nations to save the world from the things that we know could happen. It is wrong to brand that organization, as the honorable member for Angas branded it. We have an obligation to the people that we represent, and to the other peoples of the free world, to give them some hope that we are capable of building an organization that will free the world of the thought of nuclear annihilation in the very near future.







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