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Thursday, 2 May 1957


Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .- I think that most of us on this side of the House agree substantially with what the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) has said about the importance of retaining the highly trained men in the aircraft factories of Australia. I hope that nobody in the chamber, or listening to the broadcast of proceedings, will think that the Government has not high praise for and pride in the workmanship of the men in those factories. As we know, aircraft production presents a difficult problem, and machines date very quickly, but in a statement issued after the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the Government said that it intends to produce fighters in our Australian factories. The statement on defence by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is a very important and very sober document,, but the members of the Opposition have given it scant attention. Why they have done so, I do not know, because they have no serious defence policy of their own. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who led for the Opposition, was very scathing about it. He said that it was the production of brass hats and that he, as a " buck private " thought the best way to deal with it was " to get stuck into them ". Such a statement gives us some idea of the quality of the criticism of the honorable member who led for the Opposition. Privates are very important in any army, and so are corporals. In fact, corporals usually win wars. But officers are important also. Each man is an important part of an organization. Every man plays his part in the operations of an army. The honorable member for Parkes said that his experience of the Army led him to believe that he should " get stuck into the brass ", but I do not think he believed that. I should like to see his conduct sheet.

This statement on defence is a very sound summing up of the defence problems of Australia. In army parlance, it is an " appreciation ". This appreciation was undertaken to decide the strategic basis for the Australian defence policy. It divided war into three categories - global war, limited war and cold war. A global war would be one in which atomic and thermonuclear weapons were used. I express only a personal opinion when I say I feel that the world will never be faced with such a war because of the deterrent effect of the hydrogen bomb. We cannot ignore the possibility of a global war, but there is very good reason to believe that no nation would willingly start such a war. The Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) made a statement in which he said he thought that a global war would start only as the result of an accident of a miscalculation. When he said that, an honorable member on the Opposition side interjected, " Well, that is lovely! Who said that? " As it happens, the Minister summed up the strategic thinking of the best military brains of the United States of America. The Minister simply repeated what Mr. Dulles and the American chiefs of staff have said - that a global war is unlikely and that it could start only as the result of a miscalculation. That is the opinion of the best military brains on our side.

I was rather amused when the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) said that the smaller countries should not have atomic bases because Russia would not attack a country unless it had atomic bases. Here, indeed, is careless thinking. Would it be possible, in a conflict in which atomic weapons were used, that Russia, on the receiving end, would be able to recognize which bomb came from where? Such ridiculous and loose thinking indicates the sort of ideas that are held by members of the Labour party. My conception of a global war is that it would be one in which the Russian directional staff would know every area from which atomic weapons could be launched and every base of ours would be covered by the Russians in their first attack. We would know where their launching sites were and would take retaliatory measures. Consequently, there would be a stalemate. But it would not be possible to say whether an atomic bomb came from Iceland, Poland or anywhere. However, I honestly believe that it is doubtful that a global conflict will take place.

As the Minister has said, the Labour party in Great Britain takes a much more realistic attitude to this matter than does the Australian Labour party, but is divided on it. In the British Labour party's " shadow cabinet " a gentleman called Mr. " Volubility " Brown is the prospective Minister for Defence. He is entirely in favour of Great Britain having the hydrogen bomb for deterrent purposes.

The next type of war mentioned in the Prime Minister's statement is a limited war. My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that that is the kind of war we will have to face. I would remind honorable members

Mr. ACTING DEPUTYSPEAKEROrder! The honorable member for KingsfordSmith will subdue his voice.


Mr ANDERSON - If honorable members will recall-


Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER

Order! The honorable member for Werriwa will find himself outside if he continues his present behaviour.


Mr ANDERSON - After World War I. there was a horror of gas. Honorable members will recall that during that war gas was used and caused great casualties. Between that war and World War II. more deadly types of gas were developed, but the horrible results were so feared that during World War II. they were never used. I want honorable members to think on that point. Because of the danger of retaliation with such gases, World War II. was fought with conventional weapons, admittedly more powerful than in World War I. Both sides had all forms of gas, but they were never used. Since that war we have fought in two or three major conflicts.


Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER

Order! If the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith continues with his offensive behaviour, I will name him.


Mr ANDERSON - Both sides in the Korean war had nuclear weapons, but they were not used. Again, in Egypt, no nuclear weapons were used. There is a war going on at the present time in the French territory of Algeria and in other parts of the world, but atomic weapons have not been used. If a limited war breaks out, there is no reason to think that atomic weapons will be used. One of the major points of the new defence plan is to have a strong, active, well-equipped mobile striking force so as to try to limit wars which may break out. Therefore, the view of the Government is that such wars may occur. As to the extent of them, I cannot venture an opinion, but anybody who talks about " push-button " wars is not realistic.

We heard one honorable member talk about bows and arrows in relation to national service training. I would recommend him to try using a bow and arrow against the average boy who has completed his course of national service training. Those lads who pass through the national service training course are turned out as useful soldiers. I hold the view, personally, that in any wars in which we may be engaged man-power will be important, and the availability of trained personnel may decide Australia's future.

The third type of war referred to in the Prime Minister's statement is the cold war. I feel that this is, so to speak, one of the most dangerous weapons that the Russians are using against us. I feel, also, that we are manufacturing our own destruction by contributing enormous sums of money for defence. In the United States of America, the people are contributing £109 a head per annum for defence. That is a tremendous amount of money. It is used not only for arms, but also for aid. This is where the Russians may achieve their objective, because if governments of the free countries go on dragging enormous taxes out of their people, the people will come to dislike the conditions under which they are working and will lose confidence in the system which gives them their freedom. That is a point which must be carefully examined. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) said that people must not forget that wars are won, not only in the battlefield, but also in the economic field. Then I interjected - I very seldom do - and asked the honorable member to name one country to support his argument, and he turned to another matter. He was only talking platitudes. However, the honorable member struck the right note. Every country on the Western side is developing its economy. One of the reasons why this country is not spending more money on defence is that we want money for our development purposes.

When we are discussing defence policy we naturally expect criticism of the Government's policy by the Opposition, but it is reasonable to expect from Her Majesty's Opposition some alternative plan. The only plan submitted by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who led for the Opposition, was to call the proposed brigade force a United Nations force. The Opposition's foreign policy is to rely on the United Nations. Opposition, members believe that it should be the responsibility of the United Nations to guard the security of every man, woman and child in Australia. They believe that we should rely on that polyglot force although 32 nations in the United Nations organizations do not have democratic governments. Eight of those nations are military dictatorships, yet that is the foreign policy and the defence policy of the honorable member for Parkes.

Several times 1 have heard members of the Labour Opposition talk with some sort of pride of the extraordinary strategy that was evolved when they took over the government in 1942. They called upon the United States then for 25 divisions, yet time and time again they have boasted of that policy with pride. That was their strategy - to import American forces to defend. Australia. 1 agree with the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) that we should play our full part in the defence, of our own soil.

The honorable member for Parkes talked, about co-existence. He said he believed in living together, and implied that if that were done, eventually the problems of all nations would be solved. We have to look at the people who are causing the trouble in this world. Admiral Stump has said that a large number of submarines have been detected in the Pacific. We know that the Russians have an enormous submarine force. Is it necessary for Russia to have submarines? Honorable members should ask themselves that question. Russia is a large land mass, entirely selfsufficient and with no external trade. Why is it necessary for Russia to have large forces of submarines? Why is it necessary for Russia - a land mass with no external trade - to increase the size of her naval forces? She has the second largest naval force in the world, and is far ahead of any other nation in numbers of submarines.

Honorable members should consider this aspect of the speech that has been made by the honorable member for Parkes: He has suggested co-existence with people who are building up enormous naval forces. With the position of Russia as it is, they can be only offensive forces. So far as we are concerned, naval forces are needed to defend our lifelines, but Russia has no external lifelines. If she intended only continental defence, she would need no naval force. Her enormous land forces are not needed for possible co-existence. It is nonsense to delude ourselves when we are faced with such an ugly force. It is an ideological force we have to fight because there is a fundamental difference between the Russian way of life and ours. It is absolutely impossible to break down the physical barriers between the authoritarian socialists and the capitalists. Why is that so? We can have the authoritarian socialists come to our country, but they cannot tolerate large numbers of capitalists going to theirs because they know that their system would break down. We cannot live together until one of us changes our philosophy.

Can honorable members imagine free trade to Poland and Hungary or enormous -numbers of tourists travelling between Australia and Russia? Would the Russian system last five minutes if large numbers of Russian tourists came to Australia? Obviously it would not. Why is Russia continually spending money on defence? While that great expenditure continues we have to see that the cold war is not won by Russia on the economic front. We must try to break down the Russian system.

During this debate on defence, many speakers on the Opposition side have derided the forces we have to-day and what we have obtained for the money we have spent. What have we obtained for it? We have had security for six years. What is the position of the Navy? We have an effective Navy completely competent to fulfil its task. In this programme we say that we intend to speed up the production of various classes of vessels. We have two aircraft carriers fully equipped. We have a trained force of about 11,000 personnel. In the Army we have a force of regular troops numbering 21,000. They cost money to maintain, and a great proportion of the expenditure on defence has been for maintenance. We have a reasonable amount of equipment for them, and now we are trying to create an active force for immediate operations overseas.

It is unfortunate that we cannot have a

Tegular army and still maintain our national training. That is a tragedy because I have had the unfortunate experience of having to lead men who were not trained. The basic training of national service trainees will always be invaluable to them when any call is made upon them. In the Air Force, we have a squadron of modern Canberra bombers. We have effective Avon Sabre jet fighters. We have quite an effective force at present but, in the light of new thought, we have to alter some of our thinking. I believe that the plans envisaged here are good. The only criticism I have is this: I believe our main task will be in the field of limited war, and we should increase our regular forces to a greater degree. Once we have that force ready for our immediate commitments, we should- look at the suggestions made by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes) and the honorable member for St. George, that national service in some form for two years, or eighteen months, should be adopted in this country as it is in Great Britain.

I should like to see the position of the Citizen Military Forces improved. That is our main army. The C.M.F. is composed of patriotic men who give their time and go to considerable trouble to train themselves. We should make that force more popular. The C.M.F. formed the spearhead of our forces in 1939, and was invaluable to us. We would not have survived the war without them. The members of the C.M.F. should be encouraged, and must be encouraged, by such means as granting concessions on their pay. Every effort should be made to build up an effective C.M.F. I believe that the force is at present in good morale and fairly well trained, but a greater intake of volunteers should be encouraged.

So far, the Opposition has made no constructive proposals for our defence policy. Personally, I look to the future with great confidence. I do not believe in taking counsels of fear. I believe this Government's policy, with the minor alterations J have suggested, will prove an effective defence policy for Australia. I should, however, like to see more effort, and I am prepared to pay more taxes to meet its cost. I suggest that the Regular Army should be kept up to full divisional strength.

We must tell the people that we cannot hope to look to the future without continual expense on defence. That is obvious if we realize the possibilities that confront us. If atomic war comes, we must still have ground forces to occupy our own territory or that of our enemies. Inter-continental missiles cannot be sent to Sydney to take over the city. To do that an enemy must have forces. If we are defending our country, the more trained forces we have the better. I look to the future with great confidence. I do not believe an atomic war will take place except by accident. It is up to us and to every able citizen in the Western nations, for we have the security ot the world in our charge, to pull his weight in the defence of freedom.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Beazley) adjourned.







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