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Wednesday, 22 March 1961


Mr HAYLEN - It is something that has to be challenged. We are not making any apologies to-day. We want to rouse the Australian Government to an awareness of its opportunities and its duties overseas. All we get from the Prime Minister is a complaint such as, " They have pushed my mate out of the Prime Ministers' club ". We do not care whom they push out of the Prime Ministers' club, so long as justice, sanity and common sense are restored in a world that has swayed completely away from the concept that our Prime Minister has had of it.

The Acting Prime Minister asked us, " What do you mean by arrogance? Why don't you specify it? " I will specify it, and I will quote from the transcript of the Prime Minister's own speech in doing so. He said -

If the general public or the people at United Nations don't like it they can jump in the Serpentine.

He said, further -

I believe in the British Commonwealth with " fa:lh in my guts ".

I would say there was plenty of room for manoeuvre in those circumstances. But we want to pose this suggestion: Never mind about faith in your guts; think rather about love in your heart. What about the picture of Sharpeville, with dead men and women lying in the roadway? When one thinks of that, does it matter a hoot what Mr. Verwoerd said, or whether he is in or out of the Commonwealth? He is out of it in the conscience of the Australian people and of all fair-minded people in the world, because of his policy.

It is all very well for the Prime Minister to be dramatic about these events after they have been concluded. Inside the conference he was quite peaceful and, according to the statements he made there, he indicated acceptance of the resolutions that were carried and of their consequences. It is only when he gets outside the conference that he indulges in these bursts of arrogance. He is indeed the enfant terrible of our peripatetic Prime Ministers. In the United Nations he made an arrant fool of himself. He did not even bother to find out what the great Afro-Asian group was doing about the matter then before the assembly, but rushed in with a resolution that was convincingly crushed. That was not a good performance. One of his own ex-Ministers made some remarks to-night, using the typical double talk of the Liberal-Country Party Government. He said that we ought to have two Ministers for External Affairs, because there is a lot of work for them. He implied that the present one was doing nothing. If he had had the guts which the Prime Minister speaks about he would have said, " We ought to sack the Prime Minister as an utterly incompetent Minister for External Affairs, never at any time representing the faith and aspirations and beliefs of the Australian people". The Prime Minister said that since the early days he had had a great vision of the Commonwealth; a great vision of his duty. What vision does he see? As the great White Sahib he sees himself as a great statesman in London. But what about the sixteen new African nations? What about the people at the United Nations listening to this man? What about our children and our children's children who will live in this country? We cannot be protected by Whitehall any more. We have to live in a community in Asia. We belong to a multi-racial unit. The Commonwealth of Nations itself is multi-racial, but all we hear from our Prime Minister is arrogance. I would say that 99 per cent, of Australians would not, in their wildest dreams, be associated with the Prime Minister of South Africa. The thought would be abhorrent to them. It is a bad thing that our Prime Minister said, " I also have my problems in regard to immigration " - trying to trade the White Australia policy for comradeship with the Prime Minister of South Africa. This is a serious matter and it has been dealt with in arrogance.

The Acting Prime Minister, to his eternal credit, has given us an opportunity to discuss this subject to-day, but he did not deliver a speech in which there was any real essence. He did not give us any real reason why we should not pursue this matter. The Prime Minister said that apartheid in South Africa was a matter of domestic policy. Surely that is the most fatal thing that could be said. Hitler's domestic policy eventually led to the incineration of 6,000,000 Jews, the breaking up of the unions and the murder of union leaders. The domestic policy of tyrants is the concern of the world. We should concern ourselves with the domestic policy of tyrants. The Prime Minister's little, pinch-penny attitude to these matters has filled us with horror on this side of the House.

The Prime Minister presented a defence of the high priest of apartheid, whether he believes in it or not. He has a yes-no, off-again-on-again, Finnegan's idea of economic policy, and nobody knows what he really stands for; but he said that he had no time for the United Nations. He said that, at the United Nations, one might listen to the representatives of 45 natrons making speeches lasting two and a half hours each, but that he would rather listen to what was said at home. He said -

I do not mind if 99 nations at New York go on making speeches lasting two and a half hours each . . . Nothing will ever persuade me that you can identify the exquisite personal relations of the Commonwealth with the debating society that goes on in New York . . .

Are we to give away the United Nations because the Prime Minister has a comradely pat on the shoulder for the murderer of Sharpeville? Are we going to pass these things by? It is no good the Government scuttling into its burrow. It has to answer these things. It is a matter of high policy, of international importance, and the honour of human dignity and the human soul. Every time the Prime Minister puts his comradely arm around the shoulders of Verwoerd he encourages him to another slaughter of the Bantu people. Never mind about his moral guts! If any man has Christian principles he will say to the people of South Africa, " It is about time that the Christians, the wise and the educated communities of the world, came to aid you - not to oppose you - in the exploitation that has taken place over the last 300 years ".

Therefore, in our attack on the Prime Minister we do not intend to pull any punches. The Acting Prime Minister made no case at all because he did not know what he was talking about. He has no concern about the matter. But surely in this House we should answer this prime question - this primitive, simple question: Upon which side do we arraign ourselves? I advise honorable members with narrow electoral margins not to be caught up in this horror for the purposes of a vote. They have to stand up for what the Australian people believe in and they do not believe in slaughter and decimation of minorities. Australians, whether Liberals, Country Party or Labour, have always been for the under-dog. Yet our Prime Minister says to all the press of the world, in London, " I am in favour of the tyrant who put the Africans down ". He does not say it in so many words but he says, " I am grieved and deeply troubled ", and he uses all the ponderous hyperbole which, in essence, means that he is always with the rulers. He is always with the top dogs and he cannot think in terms of Sharpeville, in terms of Angola, in terms of the Congo, and in terms of the agony that is wrenching the world. He lives in a hemisphere surrounded by colour but he talks as if he was safe m Belgrave Square or in Mayfair for the rest of his life.







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