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Thursday, 16 March 1961

Mr DEAN (Robertson) .- The honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) in his closing remarks alleged that this Government had brought Australia to economic ruin. I do not know to which part of the Australian Labour Party the honorable member belongs, because at the present time the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Renshaw, is about to set off overseas to advertise that State, in particular, as a good place for overseas investment and to tell people overseas of the high standard of living we enjoy in this country, how fortunate we are to have such a strong economic basis and that Australia is indeed a developing nation. That is what Mr. Renshaw will do, supported by his Government, overseas. Does he belong to a Labour Party different from that to which the honorable member for Kingston belongs?

This censure motion, as moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), alleges that the Government has failed to protect and develop the Australian economy. As I understand it the two operative words in that motion are " protect " and " develop ". This Government has always shown a true sense of responsibility in protecting the Australian economy. I realize that at times its measures have been criticized and have been unpopular for a short time. However, when their good results have become obvious, people have changed their minds and have indeed praised such measures. On no other occasion, perhaps, has criticism of our economic measures been so strong as that which followed the introduction of the 1952 Budget. Since that time, and even in this debate, it has been referred to as the horror Budget; but within twelve months of its introduction most people realized that the economic stability of Australia was being protected through that Budget. Their criticisms ceased and a large number of people praised the Government for the action that it had taken. The same pattern is evident now. When the economic measures were first announced in November, there was a sudden wave of criticism throughout Australia. Now, more and more people are realizing that action was necessary, and that once again the Government has shown wisdom and courage in protecting the Australian economy.

Mr Calwell - Who told you that?

Mr DEAN - I shall answer the interjection of the Leader of the Opposition by giving him an illustration. This is an example of many conversations I have had with people engaged in many jobs during the past few weeks. I have selected this example because the man concerned runs his own business, and it was affected by the Government's measures. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that it would be useless to introduce measures that had no effect at all. Obviously, some people are going to be affected. The first thing that this man said to me was, " Obviously, you did not introduce these measures to win votes ". At the time, the measures were unpopular. However, he added, "I have given the matter some thought. These measures are hurting me personally, but I can understand the reason for them. There is one other thing T want to say: Thank goodness we have a Government that has the courage to put into operation what it thinks necessary and does not worry about popular opinion of the time being." I think that illustration answers the interjection of the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Courtnay - What is this man's occupation?

Mr DEAN - He is an estate agent. He has been hurt, of course. The Labour Party wants to panic the Australian people into believing we are in the depths and dangers of a depression. One had only to listen to the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) to understand that to be so. We know that the honorable member and his colleagues have a vested interest in unemployment and depression, and that only by working the Australian people into believing that a depression is imminent can the Labour Party have any hope of gaining power in this Parliament.

The need of some important industries for skilled and semi-skilled employees is well known, and I shall give one example. I refer to the supplementary report of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited dated February, 1961, some months after the introduction of the Government's measures. The report states, at page 6, under the heading, " Availability of Labour " -

The obtaining and retention of an adequate number of skilled employees continued to be a major preoccupation. Considerable assistance continues to be received from the Commonwealth Government immigration scheme and the Company is conducting its own recruiting campaign in Britain and Western Germany.

I emphasize this passage for the benefit of the honorable member for Kingston -

However, the need for additional labour, both for construction and operation, is an everexpanding one and all of our major centres report serious shortages. Unless the position can be relieved it must have a materially adverse effect on the carrying out of our plans.

If you relate that statement to what has been said on both sides of the House on the need to increase the output of steel products, both for consumption in Australia and for export abroad, one realizes the need that is underlined in that report and how wrong, therefore, is the Opposition's description of the situation. The aim of the Government - which realizes its responsibility Co protect the economy - is to ensure that our economy follows a more even way than the path we experienced in pre-war days. Perhaps I might refer to some of the experiences of those days. The honorable member for Kingston mentioned the depression. The aim of the Government in introducing these economic measures from time to time is to ensure that we will never experience again the type of economic upset that we had before the Second World War. Honorable members will .recall that the Australian economy, like the economy of other nations, was left free by governments. As a result, the economy would progress slowly to the peak of prosperity, stay there for a little while and then drop suddenly into the valley of depression. We would stay in that valley of depression a long time until we gradually started to work up to a prosperity peak again.

Because of our experiences, the research we have done and the knowledge we have thus gained, this Government, with wisdom and courage, does what any responsible government would do: It takes measures to iron out the groove I have described. No longer will we allow the economy to rise to a peak of prosperity, then break and fall almost immediately into the valley of depression. The graph has been evened out. In the process, as I have said, some people will be hurt. It is obvious that economic measures would be useless if they did not have some effect; but the great advantage of the measures we have taken, and will continue to take if the need arises, is that they ensure that the least number of persons is hurt, and that economic stability will prevail for the greater proportion of the Australian people. Having protected our economic prosperity - to use a phrase that is written into the motion - we will encourage overseas investment to help in development.

I wish now to say briefly something about national development. Honorable members will recall that this motion of want of confidence refers to the Government's alleged failure to develop the Australian economy. It seems strange to me that the Leader of the Opposition used that phrase within 24 hours of the making of a statement by the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) in which he set forth positive proposals for the further development of the Australian economy. I remind the House that the right honorable gentleman spoke of taxation incentives to increase our exports overseas, and promised co-operation with the State governments concerned for the development of roads in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. He also promised to aid the beef and mining areas in that part of Australia where we can produce for export. Those are only two matters that "re mentioned in the right honorable gentleman's speech.

I do not think the Opposition is taking this motion of want of confidence seriously because little interest has been shown in the debate by members of the Opposition. This is evident from their speeches, and from the smallness of their numbers in the House. I think it is only wise to see what the alternative proposals would be. It is difficult to judge what the alternatives offered by the Opposition would be if we consider the seeches of honorable members opposite. I except from that statement the speech of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Bramley). In the circumstances, therefore. one has to turn to the policy laid down by the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party. I find among its proposals stringent banking controls, control of prices, profits and rents, control of interest rates other than banking, capital issues controls an'i import controls. I ask honorable members to notice how the word " control " keeps coming up all the time. The statement of policy also proposed control of marketing in Australia, restoration and c"l:n';on of Federal land tax, savage discriminatory taxation, excess profits tax, increased death duties, capital gains tax and possibly capital levies.

The two main points that come out of this statement is the increase of controls of all sorts and the heavy increase of taxation. We can compare this with some of the statements of the Leader of the Opposition. One of his famous sayings was, " Capitalism is the No. 1 enemy in Australia and Communism only No. 2 ". Another was that he hoped he might live to see a one-party state in Australia. We find, also, that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) said in this House on 22nd February, 1956-

In suggesting the abolition of the Senate one is not doing anything that has not been suggested and, indeed, put in operation, in most other parts of the world ... the abolition of the Senate would merely bring Australia into line with enlightened political practice in other democracies of the English-speaking world.

When Labour was in power in Queensland, it did indeed abolish the upper House, the Legislative Council, and on 29th April there will be a referendum in New South Wales, organized by the Labour Party there, proposing that the New South Wales upper House be abolished. We can see how much control there will be over the people if the democratic socialists, the Australian Labour Party, have their way.

I emphasized in reading the proposals enunciated by the Federal Conference of the Labour Party the number of controls that Labour wished to introduce. If Labour does that, the Australian economy, which is particularly mentioned in this censure motion, will have a sharp downward trend for all Australians. Not only will we have the types of control that I mentioned but we will have other controls, and I refer the House to the speech of the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) when he quoted what Mr. Chifley had to say about the Labour Party's objective concerning the control of labour.

The next point about the proposals and objectives of the Labour Party, the alternative government, is in relation to overseas policies. The Labour Party has said that if it were to get into power it would withdraw Australian membership of Seato and it would withdraw our Australian forces which are at present in Malaya as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. The Labour Party either does not realize or does not wish to realize that in one sense we are and have been fighting World War III. for some time. If we do not stand firm as members of the free world, we will certainly lose more and more. When we do have a victory in this battle, we have only maintained the status quo.

Mr Bryant - That is better.

Mr DEAN - I remind the honorable gentleman who has interjected that when the Communists have a victory in this fight, they always gain new ground, as they did in Korea, Indo-China, Czechoslovakia and Germany. Yet these woolly-headed thinkers believe that all is well, that we can withdraw our forces and allow the enemy free activity in countries close to us. I have had the opportunity of being near the Communist border in North Viet Nam in company with the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) and the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond). Outside the town of Hue, which is the largest town close to the Communist border, we had the opportunity of interviewing refugees who had fled in terror from the Communists and who had undergone great privations in so doing. I suggest it would be a good thing for the parlour pinks, the left wing leaders of the Labour Party, if they undertook the same journey and learned the views of people who have had the experience of living under Communist control. The honorable member for Macquarie must have great difficulty in the Australian Labour Party as it moves more towards the left in its leadership. 1 want to draw the attention of the House to a document that was published by the International Commission of Jurists. As is well known, this is a non-party political organization formed under the United Nations. A special committee was established to go into the question and report on Tibet. Included in the Labour Party's policy, as announced by its new secretary, Mr. Chamberlain, is a reference to the handing over of Formosa. That is part of the official Labour Party policy as announced by its Federal Secretary.

Mr Bryant - Where did he say that?

Mr DEAN - I will give you the quotation in a moment. We know what has been said by honorable members opposite - I will not go outside the House - regarding the recognition of red China and the withdrawing of support from Formosa so allowing it to come under the domination of the Communist Chinese regime. That is one reason that we have no confidence in the Labour Party as a fit organization to govern Australia. In the speeches that have been delivered to us in the last few days, honorable gentlemen opposite have made constant reference to human rights. I want to refer them very briefly to the publication " The Question of Tibet and the Rule of Law", which is the report of the International Commission of Jurists. In Section B, " Violations of Human Rights ", the report reads -

Article 3: " Everybody has the right to lite, liberty and security of person."

The killings referred to in the evidence on religious persecution show a wanton disregard for the right to life. This is not the only evidence of killings, and there is the following additional evidence of slaughter by the Chinese:

The report then gives the evidence. I mention this only very briefly hoping that honorable gentlemen opposite will read it in full. If they do consider themselves to be the fit and proper persons to be the alternative government of Australia, they will amend points in their policy.

I wish to conclude by saying this in relation to the Australian Labour Party's policy as compared with the policy of this Government: As is well known, the basis of our Liberal philosophy, which helps to form the aims, objectives and policies of the Government, is the concept of free enterprise. Though we may realize from time to time that it has its faults, we also know that it is the best that the mind of man has yet been able to devise to ensure that each person living within his own country has the freedoms in which we all believe - our freedom of association, of employment, of speech and of religion. We believe that by allowing man these freedoms, he will, using his own ability and intitiative, develop his way of life and his country to the full. On the other hand, we feel the deadening weight of democratic socialism on us. I have referred to the controls and to the extra taxes. I can say only that honorable gentlemen opposite have taken very lightly this censure motion on the Government; their speeches have shown that they do not really have much heart in it.

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