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Wednesday, 15 May 1957


Mr DUTHIE (Wilmot) .- I am shocked at the speech that I have just heard from the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock). Every church announcement on the issue that we have raised in the Parliament to-day disagrees with and contradicts the argument put forward by him. The honorable member has said that the strength we have is in the power we have. What a tragic statement to make in this Parliament! The power he refers to is nuclear power, which destroys people who have no part of any kind in war. Women and children, the aged and infirm in the cities of this land would be destroyed in a flash, but they have no part in war. That is the power the honorable member referred to, and it is a diabolical power.


Mr Ward - I wonder whether he has included such statements in his sermons?


Mr DUTHIE - Yes, I wonder! In a statement to the press on 26th April last, the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, urged the leaders of all nations and faiths to abandon nuclear weapons and turn nuclear energy to the service of man instead of pursuing - and I cite his exact words - " a terrifying and costly race towards death ". That is where the speech of the honorable member for Lyne would lead us!

The Tasmanian Synod of the Church of England, meeting in April at Campbelltown, in Tasmania, made such a definite statement about nuclear power and nuclear war that it was published on the front page of the Hobart " Mercury " with banner headlines. The Synod urged the banning of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons, and the international control of all atomic energy production. The federal council of the Church of Christ in Melbourne made a similar pronouncement earlier this year. In March, at the Tasmanian and Victorian conferences in Melbourne, the Methodist Church made a similar pronouncement. The Presbyterian Church, in November of last year, at one of its important assemblies, urged the international control of atomic energy and the banning of hydrogen and atomic bombs. The Congregational Church of Australia has made a similar statement. Yet We have cynical people in this Parliament and throughout Australia who still believe in the power of the atom rather than the power of God. What good do people do by going to church on Sunday, when the next day they still believe in the nuclear armament race which, if not stopped, will eventually destroy innocent people? How far do we take our Christianity when we act in that way?

Every church in this country and the head of the Roman Catholic Church have made statements supporting what we have said in the Parliament, and that is where I take my stand. I am not interested in what honorable members opposite have said or in much of what the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) will say soon. However, the honorable member for Mackellar has probably given more constructive thought on the atomic bomb than any other honorable member opposite, and I would be prepared to listen to him on an objective view of the atomic bomb. He has made some very constructive suggestions on the way we should act to achieve the banning of nuclear warfare. I am not so naive as to suggest that America or the United Kingdom should cease the production of nuclear weapons and that Russia should be allowed to build them. We believe in a multi-lateral banning of nuclear weapons on an international plane through the United Nations.

I have given the views of the churches on this matter. Millions of people in Australia believe in Christianity and are represented by the churches I have mentioned. None of them would be regarded as Communists merely because they advocate the banning of this hideous, diabolical instrument of man, which makes the savages of the past appear to be gentlemen by comparison with us. I stress the church angle on this matter. I was a Methodist minister for eight years and should know what I am talking about.

Dr. AlbertSchweitzer, a Nobel Prize winner and a famous Christian statesman and missionary in Africa, appealed in midApril of this year for an end to nuclear tests. No one would call him' a Communist! He was supported by Professor Hahn of Germany, who is also a Nobel Prize winner and one of the eighteen leading West German scientists who have declared that they will not work on atomic weapons. If all the scientists in the world, including Russia, adopted that attitude, we would, have no need to worry about a nuclear war. These men are giving up their professions and saying that they will not work again on atomic weapons. Professor Hahn was joined by Professors Otto Haxel Heinz Maier-Leibnitz and Wolfgang Riezler

We are convinced that we are on the side of humanity and everything that is decent and right when we bring before the Parliament a subject such as this. A gallup poll on this issue was taken in December of last year. The results show that the Australian people are behind us on this matter. The question asked referred to the banning of atomic tests and the handing over of nuclear power to international control. Sixty-six per cent, of the Australian people said " Yes ". Of Liberal-Australian Country party voters, 60 per cent, said " Yes ". So you, the advocates of nuclear tests, are in a minority in this Parliament!


Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER

Order! I ask the honorable member to address the Chair.


Mr DUTHIE - Seventy-two per cent, of Labour voters favoured the banning of atomic weapons tests. So, from all the evidence that we have gathered, it is obvious that those who will not do something to have these weapons banned are in the minority. Who is going to start making peace, anyway? That is the question. Some one has to start somewhere, some time. When will the nations of the world begin to trust one another. When the United States of America suggests a plan to stop the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, Russia suspects a trap and rejects it. When Russia proposes a plan for " open skies " over vast areas, the United States says, "It is no good; we cannot trust the Reds". When the United Kingdom proposes multilateral disarmament, the United States is luke-warm and Russia is suspicious. So we go on with this attitude of international lunacy, week after week, and month after month, with the lives of every one at stake while the nations of the world refuse to agree to make a start on the banning of nuclear weapons. This means that no scheme to save humanity is considered to be any good unless an individual nation's own plan is accepted. The attitude is, " My way to peace, or no peace; my way to disarmament, or no disarmament ". At what stage will one nation begin to trust the other? When will the nations of the world meet on common ground, and find a common denominator of agreement on this issue between East and West, between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the rest of the world? Each of the three Powers finds fault with each other's proposals, therefore, no start is made to save civilization. Why not take the areas of agreement as a starting point? Why not find even a small piece of trust to start with?


Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER

Order! The honorable member's time has expired.







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