Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 9 May 1957

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honorable member would be in order if he drew on the " Hansard " report of that speech for reference only, but he is not in order in quoting from " Hansard ".

Mr Pearce - He is reading it.

Mr DUTHIE - What is wrong with that? The honorable member for Capricornia will be under the ground, the same as I will be, if war comes. His attitude is typical of the mentality of this Government.

Mr Chaney - The honorable member has just been talking about friendship.

Mr DUTHIE - The honorable member for Perth should keep quiet.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Perth will cease interjecting.

Mr DUTHIE - I have tried to quote from the speech of a' member of this House in this debate, but the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) - God bless him! - has raised a point of order, suggesting that I may not read from " Hansard ".

Mr Roberton - That was not my decision but the decision of the Parliament. I was only acting consistently with my duty, and the honorable member ought to do the same.

Mr DUTHIE - A nuclear war would be the most diabolical thing ever set in motion. By comparison, the savages of days gone by were gentlemen. They killed only their enemies. It was largely a mantoman war, but the white races are preparing for mass extermination. Nothing the savages ever did could compare for one moment with the diabolical nature of nuclear warfare with its obliteration of millions of innocent people- the women and children, the aged and infirm - in a flash. Atomic war would not be against armed men, but against fortified cities-. It would be a war on the defenceless, for there is no defence against nuclear war. The safest place could very well be with the armed forces. The cities, with their transport spearheads, their armament factories, their food arsenals, their docks and wharfs and their administrative nerve centres, will be the real targets of atomic weapons, dropped from fast, long-range, atom bomb-carrying aircraft or fired from atomically driven submarines. Cut off from supplies, all three services could be stranded in a short time and the war effort brought to a standstill. It would be a short war, but few would survive.

One trend has been noticeable in our defence expenditure month by month since this Government came into office. At the present time, I understand, about £50,000,000 or £60,000,000 remains unspent of the defence vote. Only a month or two remains until the end of the financial year. Every year the average monthly expenditure, up to March, has been about £14,000,000. Then, in the last three months of the financial year, the defence departments have spent at the rate of £25,000,000 a month in a desperate, lastminute effort to dispose of the rest of the money allocated for defence. That is wasteful and wrong.

Another interesting point was raised by the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) the other night. He spoke of the percentages of money spent on the navy, army and air forces in the various countries. I think he quoted the United States of America, Canada and Australia, and said that in the United States 28 per cent, of defence expenditure was on the navy, 24 per cent, on the army and 48 per cent, on the air force. In Canada the navy received 20 per cent., the army 28 per cent, and the air force 52 per cent. In Australia 26 per cent, is spent on the Navy, 37 per cent, on the Army and only 37 per cent, on the Air Force. He admitted, in his speech, that Australia should concentrate more and more on air defence, as the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Bostock) has pointed out to this Government for the last five years. That is sound reasoning, because in a great continent like Australia it is necessary to have fast-moving mobile defence units if the enemy is to be stopped at any one point. We will not be able to depend on the railways, roads, or even on sea transport to get the attack there "in time. Obviously America has concentrated on the air defence of its vast coastline. Why cannot Australia follow suit? We should cut down on the other two services and spend more on modern aircraft for defence.

Mr Luchetti - That is what John Curtin said.

Mr DUTHIE - The honorable member for Macquarie points out that that was the policy of the late John Curtin in 1937 - to build up our Air Force. He was laughed at at the time, as our late leader in Tasmania, the Honorable Albert Ogilvie, was laughed at in 1938 when, on returning from overseas, he said that Australia would need to have the sky black with aeroplanes if it wanted to win the war that was coming.

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Did he say that theyshould be Wirraways?

Mr DUTHIE - He did not say what sort of aircraft, he just said " aeroplanes ". When my colleague the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) was speaking, he pointed out the difference between the expenditure on capital equipment and the expenditure on administration in the defence departments. The figures he quoted were amazing. He pointed out that the report of the Public Accounts Committee showed that Army maintenance expenditure for the financial year 1955-56 totalled £48,980,000 and that capital expenditure amounted to £12,466,000. This means that about 57 per cent, of the entire Army vote of £84,761,000 was absorbed in administrative costs. Those figures show where vast sums of the defence allocation are being spent. They are going down the drain in administrative costs. I do not think that this Government has done anything to prune administration. It has pruned the national service training scheme, but 1 wonder how much it will save on administration. That will be a question for consideration when the next budget is under discussion and honorable members have the chance to review this defence scheme after it has been in operation for several months.

Mr Cleaver - Is the honorable member taking into consideration the payments to servicemen?

Mr SPEAKER - Order!

Mr DUTHIE - I have taken into consideration everything that was mentioned. Administration expenditure represents 57 per cent, of the total.

Mr Leslie - The report did not say thai it was administration expenditure.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Moore is not in order in interjecting.

Mr DUTHIE - In this ideological age in which we are living I would recommend the establishment in this country of a department of ideological warfare. I shall have more to say about that on a future occasion on a motion for the adjournment of the House.

Mr Cairns - I rise to order. The Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) raised a point of order in relation to the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) reading from " Hansard ".

Mr SPEAKER - I have already ruled on that. Are you questioning the ruling? I ask you to resume your seat. You are out of order.

Suggest corrections