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Thursday, 2 May 1957

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The Minister for Air will refrain from interjecting.

Mr HAYLEN - What we want from the Government, and cannot get, is realism. Here we have the continent of Australia - 3,000,000 square miles of vulnerable territory, with very little to protect us. Geographically, our strategical position is very bad indeed. We want to know what the Government's plan is. Everybody else has a plan. Government supporters tell us that they are anti-Communist and are going to do this or that little thing, and we agree that they are frustrated by a shortage of man-power, money and materials, but some eventual plan must be decided upon.

The British Government is facing up to things better than we are. One of the things that the Prime Minister of this country and his military advisers should read is the speech of Mr. Duncan Sandys, the soninlaw of Churchill, who is Minister for Defence in Britain. They should look at his courage in facing up to a situation and regard it as a pattern for the Australian

Government, and for all of us. I shall quote from the report of that gentleman's speech in the London " Times " -

The policy, says Mr. Sandys, is founded on the recognition of two basic facts. First, that in present circumstances it is impossible efficiently to defend this country against air attack with hydrogen bombs, and, second, whether we like it or not, we could not go on devoting such a large part of our resources, and in particular our man-power, to defence.

That is Britain's attitude. The report continues -

Since it must now be accepted that adequate protection against all-out nuclear attack was impossible, the Government believed that the British people would agree that the nation's available resources should be concentrated, not upon preparations to wage war so much as upon activity to prevent this catastrophe ever occurring.

That was the speech of the Minister for Defence in a Conservative government. If it were made by any member of this House he would be slated as a red and a .proCommunist wanting disarmament. Of course he would! Government supporters are leaning over backwards to do that, and this may serve as a halting note to the Government. Mr. Sandys continued -

There will be no real safety in the world until there is disarmament.

We agree with that entirely. It ought to have been incorporated in the Prime Minister's statement to the nation. Continuing, Mr. Sandys said, and this is extremely important -

During my visit to Russia-

Mr Aston - When did he make that statement?

Mr HAYLEN - He made it towards the end of last, month and it is reported in the London " Times ". Do you think he made it in Sanskrit or Hindustani? He made it in the House of Commons and this is a fair report, taken from " Hansard ", complete with interjections -

During my visit to Russia last summer I saw something of the vast programme of social and industrial work upon which the Soviet Government is engaged. With these immense schemes of domestic reconstruction on hand, it is hard to see how the Russians, any more than us, can have any interest in war or any desire to go on spending so much of their substance on military preparation. We must find a way of creating some measure of confidence between these two countries.

That is a profound, sensible and realistic statement on the position. Armament today is not so much a matter of expensive nuclear equipment which eventually every one will get. It is something stronger than that. The greatest weapon in the world to-day is friendliness between nations - the hope to bind us together so that we shall not perish together. To-day we heard the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) answering a question by blackguarding the Soviet side in this situation, which is on the razor's edge of war. If I may interpolate something into my analysis of the Prime Minister's pathetic statement on defence I would say that we must first of all get the right conscience, the right attitude, the right set-up and this must come, as Mr. Duncan Sandys has said, out of a proper appreciation of the position.

If a war comes - and pray God it will not - it will not be a matter of winning for civilization. No one will win. The result can only be the epitaph and extinction of civilization.

What plans have we before us now? Pathetically enough, they are not big, but as I come from the City of Sydney and wonder what will be the reaction of the people there, I would like to quote one passage from the Prime Minister's statement. The right honorable gentleman had been talking about the far warning system and the chain of warnings that go through the country - reminding us that when the bell tinkles the first bombers into the air will achieve victory. This should take only three days and there will in any case be casualties amounting to between 11,000,000 and 16,000,000, depending upon where the bombs are dropped. In regard to the provision of guided weapons, the Prime Minister said -

The Guided Weapons Unit will be located in the Sydney defence area and will therefore be used for air defence training in a place where a modern control and reporting unit has alreadybeen established.

Those are cold, logical and sensible words, but what do they mean in the drama of war? They mean that Sydney is the " target for to-night " or any other night. There is not a more vulnerable city in the world. Stretching as it does now from the outskirts of Newcastle to Wollongong, it is the sitting shot of the world and we talk about lacing that area with atomic equipment! The rockets are ready to go up into the air, and because of the stupid planning of Sydney - partly due to this Government - we have an extraordinary set-up. On Botany

Bay we have Bunnerong, the " sleeping lizard " of the old aborigines. We have there the smoking stacks of our electric power installations. On the other side of the bay we have the tragic Caltex oil installation - oil tanks where Captain Cook first set foot in this country. I have never liked it, but it happens to be, for the purposes of this argument, yet another vulnerable spot. A little farther inland, in the electorate of the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson), we have the Menai reactor. Farther in still, but close enough to be within the perimeter, is the St. Mary's munitions factory, the greatest target of all time. All these things are gathered together on the foreshore, despite our warning to the Government when the Menai reactor was being built, and despite what we said about the old-fashioned factory costing umpteen millions of pounds to fill cartridges at St. Mary's. Talk about Rip Van Winkle! I have never heard anything so disgraceful in my life! Therefore we have now, as an adjunct to our happiness, and to make us sleep tight in Sydney at night, a so-called perimeter of defence made up of guided weapons which will be a warning post, a reporting post for air defence and a training post.

The Americans faced up to this position in respect of such places as San Francisco. They knew that they had a vast, vulnerable coastline, and they did not hesitate about the matter. They tried at once to put their equipment, their vulnerable resources and essential services behind the mountains, in behind the high Sierras. They took, and are still taking behind the mountains, the good targets. If the enemy should succeed in destroying the things that feed and power a city, we hope at least they will not destroy the flesh and blood of the citizens. We sincerely hope that the enemy concentrates on destroying the potential to defend, for that is logical. I see nowhere in the Prime Minister's statement any suggestion of deep underground caverns for protection against the ray, nor do I see any suggestion for putting vital industries behind mountains. No, the Government proposes to let them gather like a lot of hens and chickens on the beaches of Sydney where they are completely vulnerable even to an old-time bomber with one " egg ". Yet Ministers talk in terms of atomic energy and the defence of this country! Have they made preparations to store food and to get the know-how on equipment? If we do escape - it is all a great question mark - an atomic attack, we have to return and build our industries again. Preparation for all this has been made in America, but there is no word of any such planning in the Prime Minister's statement. There is no word whatever of preparation except a few vague phrases. Look at what happened in connexion with the F.N. rifle. The honorable member for Macquarie (Mr.. Luchetti) has repeatedly asked questions in this House as to when this rifle will be in production. It will be another two years, will it not?

Mr Luchetti - It will he 1959.

Mr HAYLEN - -We have had great headlines in the press, reverberating headlines, 48-point headlines and 60-point streamers about our new scheme of defence in which we are integrating our arms with America's. But when will this be done? The F.N. rifle - take up thy musket. Sam - will not be ready for two years yet. The planes will not be ready for two years yet. Goodness knows how long it will be before we are ready with guided missiles! The Government is not courageous enough to tell us it has made no preparations for that dreadful interval between 1957 and 1959. The Government must answer that query, and it cannot be answered with incompetence or by reference to such performances as organizing the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Minister for Defence Production made an astonishing statement that really hurt the susceptibilities of the average Australian. In an address to the Fellowship - I repeat " Fellowship " - of the Congregational Union in Sydney, he said -

We hope to preserve peace by mutual terror.

Has anything so disgraceful or so distressing been heard for years? Of course, he was speaking from the script, and there it is. On the one hand, we find that there is no preparation made. The Minister, himself looking very glum, has been taken to task by the " Sydney Morning Herald " for not getting up and going places.

Mr Osborne - I think the honorable member has been taken to task by the " Sydney Morning Herald " before this.

Mr HAYLEN - That, as the Minister knows, is the price of fame. I suggest that he get a little more publicity because it could help him in the future.

I was referring to the Minister's remarks relating to mutual terror. That is a nice breakfast meal for the Australian people; it is nice black coffee in the headlines to be told we are keeping ourselves out of war by mutual terror.

Mr Killen - That is Churchill's phrase.

Mr HAYLEN - Of course it is Churchill's phrase, and so is the iron curtain. After all, we can see now that our defences are not in very good trim, that our preparations are also of the Kathleen Mavourneen variety - it may be for years or it may be forever. Then we come to the good hard core of the planning that, has taken place. The Government has decided that we are to have a force representing a brigade of about 4,000 men. It may be increased later, ft is suggested that this is to be a sharp, well-equipped striking force, and that is all we are to have, except the Regular Army of some thousands.

I.   want to suggest in connexion with this matter - it is about the only useful thing I can see in this compendium - that this force should have the apex of equipment and that it should be of the highest possible standard. Let us make soldiers out of the men. Do not let us continue with the lolly-pop uniformed thing that we have been seeing lately. What is wrong with the old slouch hat and the old khaki? If Australians have to use Yankee guns, if they have to fly Yankee Starfighters, and if they have to fight for possession of this country as Australians, let them remain and look like Australians. That statement may sound extremely sentimental, but it has a lot more useful significance than perhaps the Minister realizes. If we are to have this small, powerfully equipped force with atomic equipment, which 1 think is only a temporary answer - you must have it because the other fellow has got it - we then come to the question of what we are going to do with such a force. T suggest that we in this country have an opportunity - the first to be given to any country. Because it is my own beloved country, I think we all have a trust to do just what I suggest. It is a free country; it is a democratic country. No man is hanged unjustly in this country; no man has breathed out his life before justice has been exploited to the full. We all know that, and if my friend from South Africa, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) has not got the same history behind him, I cannot help it. If this is a world in which existence means co-existence, and as we cannot provide sufficient numbers to defend ourselves, as we have to lean, without inhibitions, on America, and to-morrow we will lean without inhibitions on Mother England or on any one also who will let us lean on them, let us be factual and realistic, let us tell the world of our acute and most extraordinary problem. Let us tell the world that we 10,000,000 people who inhabit a continent of vast size in a sea remote from the European side of the world are dedicated to the cause of peace. Let us make this crack force which the Minister has told us about, and which the Prime Minister has told us about, a League of Nations force. That would be the greatest thing we in this country could do to ensure peace. We could make it a force to break tyranny. We have done that already. We have provided a force for Korea. If required we could have done so for Egypt, but we are not required. Since this crack force, this corps d'elite, is not an army - we hope that with the new strategy men will not be needed as much as in the past - let us do that one thing! Let us not be called visionaries because we suggest a tight, competent and courageous army steeped in the traditions of the Australian soldier - and I mean that in the broad sense of the Australian fighting man. lt would be a gesture of peace to the world, instead of all this sabre rattling and. rabble rousing which get us nowhere. I think this operational contribution should be considered.

There are many things in the Prime Minister's statement, such as economic policy and immigration, which have to be considered. For instance, could we not use some of this £100,000,000 to finance the construction of more strategic roads to enable citizens to get away from the bomb if it should fall? Could not we have had some organization to use that money for the construction of ports, roads or shelters or something of that sort? But it has been confessed, although not in so many words, that the money has been expended in administration, or it has been spent more in administration than in the purchase of equipment and materials. So the standardization of our equipment with that of the United States of America is an admission that we are not able to carry on, so what do we do? We simply integrate ourselves with the Americans, and become, in effect, the 49th State of the Union. That will be our future under the policy of this Government. We shall completely dissociate ourselves from Britain, and integrate ourselves with the United States of America. My suggestion on that matter is that we should proclaim that we are a democracy with tremendous limitations in regard to our man-power. There is nothing wrong with having a courageous force devoted to peace. That is something that I would like to see consummated before I leave politics or shuffle off this mortal coil. I think it is one of the finest contributions that the Government could make to the welfare of this country.

All that the Prime Minister has said about defence does not touch the situation now because strategy, as I said before, has been shot to pieces. There is not a piece of brass in the country, clever or otherwise, who knows what would happen in a future war. In the old days the general, sitting at his desk, knew that if he deployed his forces in a certain way and turned his flank in a certain direction he could work out his own offensive. But to-day, the atom bomb is the great question mark. We have to ban the bomb. The Government says, " Russia has the bomb and we have it ". The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has said, " Since we are just reaching parity with Russia in the development of the atom bomb, it would be a terrible thing to deny us the right to build up our stocks". This is not a matter for nations any more. It is a matter for the whole of the world, and the atom bomb must and will be banned. Scientists have now come to their senses. A certain amount of spirituality has come to experimenters with atomic bombs. One by one they are coming to the penitential stool and admitting that they have been mistaken.

Last night, we celebrated a certain occasion with the representatives of certain exenemies of this country, the Japanese. Surely all of us thought of the cross-roads of death that is Japan to-day. On the one hand there is atomic fallout from Russia dusting itself over the hills, valleys and rivers and beaches of Japan. On the other hand there is the threat of Christmas Island. The citizens of fourteen cities have protested that something should be done in relation to atomic power. The Prime Minister had no time to see those people when he was in Japan. But this is the cry of humanity: " Save us lest we perish "; because they are in the vulnerable wind drifts of the world. As a protest, with that kamikaze attitude that they have to life, the Japanese have sent their humble fishermen to the vicinity of Christmas Island. I remind honorable members that another group of humble fishermen were also called upon to make extreme sacrifices. Those Japanese fishermen will be the victims of atomic fallout as a great national protest against the madness of atomic bombs and atomic experiments. We have to come to a realization of this position. Everybody feels that, finally, common sense will prevail as far as the atomic bomb is concerned. Surely it is not written that man shall extinguish man in the brutal manner in which this can be done by the atomic bomb. We have wreaked enough misery already, and will have to get down to sanity again. Some people will have to be humble rather than proud. That jungle saint, Dr. Schweitzer, gave up money, position, a musical career, a scientific career and the opportunity to accept many excellent positions in order to go into the jungle of the equatorial Congo to nurse the sick natives who did not know that there were merciful white men who would cure them of their ills. And from his holy monastery of the jungle he has sent a message to the world - " Destroy the atom bomb before it destroys civilization! " I would rather listen to that man because of his story than to any other man in the world to-day. He has gathered a galaxy of witnesses behind him who are saying, " Let us ban this thing! " We cannot continue in our present course. The peoples of the world are gradually rising to say that this must stop.

The subject of defence must be lifted from the level on which it is asked, " How many rifles, how many guns, how many bodies and how much brass and how many sergeant-majors have we? ". The question must be asked, " How many friends have we in a hostile world? " We have not many. I had had the privilege of talking to two journalists who came here from

Singapore and other eastern countries. They were delighted with the friendliness of Australians, at the kindliness shown to them in this House and with the kindliness shown to them at the Snowy River Authority. There was kindness every where. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and were glowing under the treatment that they received, and one of them said a significant thing. He said, " Is it not a pity that you do not do this internationally? In your own country you are able to explain the White Australia policy without heat. But you are misunderstood in connexion with the Middle East and you have not the friendship of the nations in that area ". It is a myth to say that we have any friends. Such arrangements as Seato are only constituencies of protection. It is necessary for us to have a wider field of friendship. We must make friends in our own hemisphere and in our own ocean. It is all right having some* delightful friends in Greenland's icy mountains, but I would settle for a few friends in Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, Ceylon, and all points east and west. That is the situation in regard to defence. I am bitterly disappointed that the Government has offered no explanation of the thousands of millions of pounds that have been wasted. I am bitterly disappointed that the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are in the doldrums. I fear that we will return to the state of affairs which existed from 1939 to 1941, when we found that we had rifles but no butts to go with them. History could tragically repeat itself. I am dismayed to know that the City of Sydney is to be the sitting duck for the atomic experiment. It is a pity that Sydney must be the first experimental point, and it will fill people with dismay to know that at some distant date Sydney may be the target for to-night.

The essence of defence in the new strategy in the world is to have faith in the other fellow's motives as well as in your own. It is no use deciding to hate everybody because continued existence is coexistence. I know that the Government hates such slogans, because they may smack at some place it does not like. But it is not possible to live except in one world. If one part of that world is bitterly opposed to our section of it and we are bitterly opposed to the other part, the result will be total extinction. I commend to the Government a change in its attitude to Eastern countries in the issuing of its public statements, which have been vulgar, irrational and completely ineffectual. In order to live and maintain ourselves in this country, we must have human dignity. Within the compass of our own man-power and materials and our brains and capacity, we should do all we can against the threat of atomic bombs. We should do all we can to convince people that we have peaceful and pacific intentions, and we want to live in peace and amity with the world. The man who can bring that about will be the greatest Minister for Defence that Australia has ever seen.

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