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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) .- When the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) began his speech he said, referring to the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), that with all due respect, the honorable member's speech contained a tremendous amount of flapdoodle. With alt due respect I say after listening to the honorable member for Parkes that he should be an authority on flapdoodle. First of all, we might have a look at some of the statements he made. I found them most interesting. He referred to the trip overseas of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). I wonder whether the honorable member thought that the Prime Minister should not be overseas at this vital conference of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers. The honorable member spoke about a cheap clock made in West Germany running down and likened it to the economic policy of the Government. I wonder whether he picked on West Germany because one of the things that has made the Communists feel unhappy is the tremendous progress that has been made by that country since the end of the Second World War.

The honorable member for Parkes referred to insurance companies. I have met many executives of insurance companies and I have found that they are men of high quality and integrity. The honorable member's statements regarding some of them would be received with considerable interest by the people concerned. The honorable member's statements about a strangle-hold on credit meaning a stranglehold on the country, will be of interest to those who remember when the Labour Government wanted to nationalize the banks. That would have given the Labour

Party a strangle-hold on. the capital of this country and thus would have given them a strangle-hold over Australia.

I will have something to say later about the situation that has developed with regard to vending machines, but I remind the honorable member for Parkes, who criticized this Government and asked what action it had taken in the matter of the vending machines, that this is a matter in which a State government should take action. I realize that the people concerned get no benefit and no compensation from our being able to say in this House that this is a matter over which the States have control; nevertheless, 1 remind the honorable member for Parkes that he should, before he starts throwing bricks, take a look at his own glass house and the glass houses of his colleagues.

I remind the honorable member also that it is well known that when a person has a very weak argument he will frequently resort to personal abuse. The personal abuse that he levelled at members of the Country Party will be received by them with the contempt that it deserved. In heaping this abuse on us he did not put forward any kind of reasonable or solid argument. I am sure, also, that the country people of Australia will be extremely interested to hear the personal abuse that he directed not only at the members of the Country Party, but also at country people in general.

Let me make a few comments also about the remarks of the honorable member for Parkes concerning the Christian Church in red China. I invite him to compare hrs statement, that the Christian Church in red China is all right, and that it has a degree of freedom, with the statement of a person who, I suggest, would know a little more about the matter than the honorable member would. I refer to the famous missionary, Miss Gladys Aylward, who says that there is no freedom of the Church in red China, and that she has seen people murdered because they refused to denounce the name of Jesus Christ. I, for one, would be prepared to take the word of a person of the character of Miss Aylward rather than that of the honorable member for Parkes, who has given us his opinion on the subject after a very short visit to red China. 1 was rather surprised at a statement made by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart). Perhaps the statement was not meant to give the impression that it did give. He said, however, that this Government lacked courage. That is one accusation that surely cannot be made about this Government, because we have, over a period of eleven years, gone forward from time to time and faced the people of Australia with a high degree of courage and conviction, putting our policies before them, and we have seen that courage and conviction appreciated by the people, who have, in the long run, agreed with our policies.

One of the charges made by the honorable member for Parkes which should be refuted is that this Government desires to create unemployment. I have heard this suggestion on more than one occasion from various members of the Opposition, and I invite the Australian people to consider it. If, over a period of almost twelve years, the policy of this Government has been to sustain employment at the high level at which it has been sustained, as high as, or higher than, the levels in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and West Germany, surely the Opposition's charge must fall by the wayside. If a government did wish to create unemployment, it certainly would not wait twelve years to try to do so, and it would not do so in the circumstances in which we now find ourselves.

This censure motion, which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, means, of course, as my friend and colleague, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) said yesterday, that the Opposition contends the Government no longer has the confidence of the people and should resign. I believe every person in Australia should read what the honorable member for Lilley said, because he gave the facts of the present political situation. Honorable members opposite may try to pass off his contentions and say that they are the ones that are frequently brought forward in such circumstances as these, but the fact remains that the left-wing section has control of the Labour Party at the present time. That statement of the honorable member for Lilley cannot be disproved, and if honorable members opposite do not like to face the fact, they should do something about the situation.

It is apparent, I think, that there is little depth of feeling amongst members of the Opposition with regard to this censure motion, and little optimism as to its chances of success. The attitude of the Opposition towards the country's problems was clearly shown earlier this afternoon, when the matter of appointments to the Foreign Affairs Committee was being discussed. Honorable members opposite displayed a complete lack of appreciation and understanding of what should be done in our present world situation. The Leader of the Opposition said there was no evidence that this committee had achieved anything.

Mr Calwell - Where is the evidence?

Mr LUCOCK - The honorable gentleman would have seen the evidence if he had accepted the invitation of the Minister for External Affairs to have members of his party appointed to the committee. This committee does not go around waving the flag and boasting of what it does. It is more concerned with making a contribution towards the safety, progress and stability of the country than in getting cheap publicity for itself. If the Opposition had felt that its censure motion was really acceptable to the people of Australia, or if it were vitally concerned with Australia's welfare, it would not have fiddled about, if I may use that expression, with the matter of appointments to the Foreign Affairs Committee on minor procedural grounds.

I say quite sincerely that if we look squarely at the present situation we must appreciate - and it is being appreciated more and more clearly by the people of Australia - that we cannot, in this twentieth century, divorce matters involving foreign affairs from considerations of trade. Consider the situation that is developing in Europe at the present time, with the formation of the European Common Market. There are not only economic links involved in the situation but also political links. So I say that in this twentieth century, and in the present world situation, foreign affairs and trade must be linked together, and they must continue to be linked together. The two matters must be given equal consideration, and they must be considered together.

The censure motion that is now before us criticizes the Government's approach to economic problems. To listen to speeches made by members of the Opposition one would gain the impression that there is no problem involved in governing a country of the size of Australia in its present position, that there is no problem with regard to our international trade relationships and that there is no problem at all involving world trade. But if we look at what is happening overseas - and evidently members of the Opposition have not bothered to do so - we can see that these matters are concerning many nations to-day. If members of the Opposition had listened carefully to the speech made by the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), they would have realized that, there are problems involving international trade which vitally concerns us, and which, in many cases, have arisen quite outside our own domestic scene. They would also have come to appreciate mat these are problems that cause, at one time or another, an alteration to our planning and our programmes.

I would like to pay a tribute to the tremendously valuable work that the Minister for Trade and the members of his department have done in contributing towards the economic stability of Australia. The right honorable gentleman gave us figures showing what we have exported from this country and what we have received in payment for those exported goods. This year Australia will sell overseas about £880,000,000 worth of wool, meat, butter, lead, zinc and various other commodities. If we were to obtain the prices for those goods that we received for them in 1953 we would be paid, as the Minister pointed out, £1,300,000,000. The fall in the value of exports is something over which this Government has had no control, but, as I have said,- to listen to speeches of Opposition members one would think that this circumstance had no relationship whatsoever to our present problems, and that we have nothing to worry about in this regard.

Let us consider the progress of development of the country during this Government's period of office. I direct attention first to the very successful immigration programme. Then there is the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. We admit that the planning of this scheme was commenced by a Labour government, and let me say that the members of the government at that time had a far greater degree of stability and of appreciation of the real world problems and the problems of this country than the members of the present Opposition. We concede that the Snowy Mountains scheme was commenced by the Labour Government, but the money that has been spent on it has been made available because of the progress and development of Australia under the leadership of this Government. A sum of £2,000,000,000 has been provided by the people to pay for public works, which will benefit not only the present generation but also generations to come. This is the kind of achievement to which we can point. We can be proud of the progress, development and advancement of Australia under this Government.

I have advocated on a number of occasions that a harbour be built at Port Stephens. If the State Government had any appreciation of the real need for this harbour it would have at least commenced work on it. Experts who know something about the subject have said that Port Stephens is one of the best natural harbours in the world. But in the face of this the oil refinery was established at Kurnell.

I have said that this is a vast country. We are confronted by problems of progress, development and high per capita costs because, with our huge area and our small population our cost per head would be greater than in any other country even without an inflationary spiral. I should like to read to the House a statement which was made by Mr. Bernard Baruch, adviser to United States presidents, on his 90th birthday. He said -

Inflation often seems to be a complicated subject but it really is a question of protecting the purchasing power of the money which each one of us earns.

Inflation directly concerns the working man, the business man, the pensioner. It is a problem for schools, hospitals and governments. It cuts athwart all the great issues confronting us - foreign trade, taxes, military strength, social improvements. It has a direct bearing on the standard of living we enjoy and on the strength and stability of our country.

The problem of combating inflation is a problem of preserving our economic health and strength. And we must be strong economically as well as militarily and spiritually to overcome the danger? that confront us.

The Commonwealth Government, in its endeavours to overcome this problem has not received from certain quarters the assistance that it should have received. We have slowed down inflation but a tremendous amount of work still remains to be done. We have to work so that the margin between market costs and world prices can be restored. By this means we shall save capital for expansion. A greater amount of savings should be loaned to industry for the development and progress of this country, but I state emphatically that there must be co-operation between all sections of the community - the worker, the trade union and big business interests.

The Government proposes to introduce legislation relating to monopolies. Members of the Opposition have criticized the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) for his decision to approach the State governments in this regard, but that is the wisest thing that he could do because, if the legislation is to be introduced, we must ensure that it has no loopholes through which the interests concerned can escape. If those loopholes existed, our last state would be worse than our first. I remind honorable members opposite who have criticized the Government that in 1955 Mr. Justice Richards conducted an inquiry into the timber industry in New South Wales. In his findings he referred to the detrimental effect that six associations in that State were having on the industry because of monopolistic tendencies. That report was presented to the New South Wales Government in 1955 but no action has yet been taken on it. But Opposition members come into this House and criticize the Government for not doing this and for not doing that. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) mentioned vending machines and seated that the Government should take some action in relation to them, but the activities of the companies concerned are a matter for the State Government.

Judge Ganey of the United States Court made the following declaration in the antitrust case: -

This is a shocking indictment of a vast section of our economy, for what is really at stake is the survival of a kind of economy under which America has grown to greatness - the free enterprise system.

The defendants have flagrantly mocked the image of that system.

I am convinced that many of these defendants were organization men - the conformists who go along with superiors and find balm for conscience in the additional comforts and security of their place in a corporate set-up.

Mr. BaddiaRashid. the Department of Justice trial attorney, stated -

This litigation is to make clear that economic freedom in this country is no less important and no less an ideal to be followed than political liberty.

The Government, in introducing this legislation, needs the co-operation of the States and of those who are interested in achieving the economic stability that we require. The people whom I represent - the people in the country towns who for many years have carried the burden of our economic stability on their shoulders and upon whom the industries in the metropolitan area depend - realize that this is something that we have to do. So do not let us have cheap gibes from Opposition members, because this is a matter on which co-operation between the Commonwealth and all State governments is necessary. I have tremendous respect for the Attorney-General and I realize the magnitude of the job that is ahead of him.

Mention has been made of the timber industry. I believe that the Government will take certain action to assist the industry to meet the problems which now face it, but I say quite frankly that we should not be asked to throw overboard the whole of our economic planning which is directed towards reducing costs in our own industries and achieving stability in our economy. It is essential that the State governments cooperate with the Commonwealth Government in its endeavour to stabilize the timber industry and to place it on a sound economic basis.

The Opposition's want-of-confidence motion should be thrown out, not only by this House but also by the country. All we have heard from the Opposition is a jumble of words. There has been no positive presentation of any reasons why the motion should be supported. It is evident that not only in the political field but also in the economic field the Opposition has no realization of the problems that are confronting this country and, as they have no such realization, they can have no policy for the solution of those problems.

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