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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- The remarks of the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) should not be disregarded, because he speaks in this Parliament as chairman of the Government's Foreign Affairs Committee. The fact that he has been replaced as first speaker on the Government back bench by the comparatively unknown and inexperienced honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) shows that the views that he has expressed to-night are by no means acceptable to the Government or to other honorable members who sit behind the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). It is quite clear that the honorable member for Chisholm does not support the motion of confidence in the Prime Minister. He said so himself, and he will be absent from those divisions concerned with it. To be most charitable, 1 would say that he is a very doubtful supporter and T think that that sums up his attitude.

We are debating an amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to a motion that a statement submitted by the Prime Minister be printed. The final paragraph of the amendment states -

The House resolves, therefore, that the right honorable gentleman should be censured and removed from the office of the. Minister of State for External Affairs.

The honorable member for Perth, in flowery language, some of which he could not have written himself because it is quite beyond him, has stated that the Parliament should express its confidence in the Prime Minister and that he intends to support him in a vote of confidence. It is quite clear, as the honorable member for Chisholm has stated, that this is an indication of uncertainty and weakness in the Government and the policies that it is following. There can be no doubt that the Australian Government, to its eternal discredit, is to-day defending in this Parliament the racial' policies of South Africa and all that the South African Government is doing. This Government to-day stands as the apologist for the immigration policy of this country and it supports the Prime Minister of South Africa, who has been condemned bv every nation in the civilized world for the actions of his Government. Is it any wonder that the honorable member for

Perth finds it necessary to move a motion of confidence? As the honorable member for Chisholm has said, this shows that the Government is uncertain and there is a weakness in the Government's case. A vote of confidence in the Government is required because there are no doubt men in its ranks like the honorable member for Chisholm who are not prepared to support such a motion.

The honorable member for Chisholm said that at Mascot when the Prime Minister returned he made certain statements in a manner which would have caused concern in the minds of people. Undoubtedly such a disturbance was created when he said that if it had been left to him he would have withdrawn two rounds earlier. That was hardly a bright statement when we recall the statements of Mr. Macmillan. The Prime Minister also made some statements after the dinner at the Savoy Hotel. That must have been a pretty good turnout and it was in advance of what happened at Mascot. These matters, which have been repeated in this debate and some of which I wish to state again later, show that there is more than uncertainty amongst the people at large and that amongst the nations of Asia there is downright contempt for the policies espoused by this Government in the councils of the Commonwealth and the United Nations.

I agree with Lord Casey - fancy me agreeing with Lord Casey! - and also with the honorable member for Chisholm that the Commonwealth will be strengthened by the withdrawal of South Africa from the ranks of its members. In supporting South Africa, we support policies that have appalled the civilized world. We cannot ignore the statements of the honorable member for Chisholm when he says that he is uncertain and will not support a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister. I ask the people who helped to draft the amendment for the honorable member for Perth and those who have supported the policies put forward by the Prime Minister what they think of the statements of the honorable member for Chisholm, who has said that we must set about rebuilding our prestige which has been gravely affected by the Prime Minister and the Government in the councils of the world in recent times. This is the Government that says it has great goodwill throughout Asia, and that the nations of the world welcome it! Here is one of its members, chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee, stating that our task to-day is to set about rebuilding the prestige of Australia; that our prestige has been destroyed by the actions of a most arrogant and overbearing Prime Minister who is Completely out of step with the feelings of the Australian people.

The honorable member went on to state that we must have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. I think it is about time that we did. I have had a look around the Government benches. The Prime Minister has not much to choose from, but I do not think anybody in the Government parties could do any worse than the Prime Minister has done. The External Affairs portfolio is a full-time job. In this Parliament, as reported at page 434 of " Hansard ", of 21st March, the honorable member for Chisholm said practically what he has said to-night. He said that there ought to be a full-time Minister for External Affairs. In fact, he said it was too much for one man and there ought to be two men. Labour can do the job with one man, but I appreciate that it takes two Liberal Party members to make up for any one Labour Minister. The honorable member for Chisholm, therefore, is on safe ground. We now have a part-time Minister for External Affairs. Surely, the Prime Ministership of this country is a full-time job! But at one stage the Prime Minister said that he could do the work of Minister for External Affairs. Then he also became Acting Treasurer. Even allowing for the undoubted talents that he possesses, these tasks are beyond him and the constant blunders he has made, which have been condemned to-night by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, show that there is an unanswerable case for a full-time Minister for External Affairs if the name and the prestige of Australia is not to be dragged further into the dust by the actions of the present incumbent of the position.

Why can we not get a full-time Minister for External Affairs? 1 have had a look at the notice-paper and I see that we have a Foreign Affairs Committee. The chairman is the honorable member for Chisholm. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) is a member. He is supposed to be a bright fellow. He has told us consistently in this Parliament of his great knowledge of foreign affairs. The honorable members for Phillip (Mr. Aston) and Perth are also members. The honorable members for New England (Mr. Drummond), Lawson (Mr. Failes) and Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn) are members. The honorable member for Farrer is to speak next and honorable members will be able to judge for themselves how he would be as Minister for External Affairs. The honorable members for Barker (Mr. Forbes), Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon), Bowman (Mr. McColm), Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and Mitchell (Mr. Wheeler) are further members of the committee. The honorable member for Mackellar is a man who makes unusual statements, but nonetheless he puts his point of view with force.

All these honorable members are members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of this Parliament. It should be no satisfaction to them that the Prime Minister has to do the job on a half-time basis because he does not consider any of them worthy of even assisting him in administering this portfolio. Is it not time that we had a change of Government if this is the best talent that the Government parties can produce? There are more than 100 Liberal Party members in this House and in the Senate. Yet of that number the Prime Minister cannot find one he can trust with the External Affairs portfolio; he has to muck up the whole thing himself. This is an indication of the incompetence of the Government. It shows the lack of confidence the Prime Minister has in the rank and file members. If those I have mentioned vote for a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister when he has clearly shown that he has no confidence in any of them, they deserve all they will get and that is a continual sojourn on the back bench on the Government side of the House.

I, with others, agree that we should have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. With the Prime Minister holding the portfolio we have a boy on a man's errand. He rushes in and out of this place, picks up a brief, does not know what it is all about, wins five votes out of 95 and thinks he is doing well because this is a couple more than he expected to get anyway. These matters would be humorous if they were not so serious, and we must remember the state of affairs that exists in the world to-day and the constant use of Australia as a pawn in the game because of the actions of the Prime Minister. This disturbs those people who sincerely desire to maintain our prestige throughout the world.

Let us look at the actions of the Prime Minister on many matters without touching at all the situation in South Africa. Every one in this country remembers the Suez crisis. The Prime Minister was sent there as the fall guy when others would not go. He was the bunny, as it were; he was picked out; he was the crow; he was drawn out of the hat. He went to see Nasser and just to make it look as if he were really sincere on the issue, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) said that 20,000 Australian troops would support him in the Suez crisis. This was the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister, and the results are now history. Australian prestige in that part of the world has never been lower for many generations.

What happened at the United Nations? The Prime Minister went there and consulted with President Eisenhower and others who at that time were evidently completely out of touch with Australia's position in this part of the world. He went into the United Nations and moved a resolution. In the words of those who knew at that time, Pandit Nehru left his reputation, such as it was, in tatters on the floor of the United Nations. And he did a remarkable job. I listened to the quotations made by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt) to-night. The Prime Minister did a remarkable job on that occasion and got five votes out of 95 - the mystic five! Five votes out of 95 was what the Prime Minister got at that stage!

Let us look at the next situation - his third excursion abroad which was to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. There is no doubt about our Prime Minister. He gets results, and South Africa is now out of the British Commonwealth of Nations. First of all, President Nasser threw the Prime Minister out of the ring, and then Pandit Nehru threw him all over the place and he got five votes out of 95.

He attends1 the Prime. Ministers' Conference and South Africa leaves the. Commonwealth. Prior to that, he stood in the world as the only Prime Minister who was prepared to support South Africa in the shooting down of defenceless natives, an action which appalled the world It is no good denying it.

If we read the South African papers at that time we find that they mention that Uncle Bob had stood up for South Africa because he was the only Prime Minister prepared to support its policy. What do honorable members think the result of that is in Asia? Here we are, a white nation in Asia, living with these people and building up friendship under the Chifley Government in days gone by. Now all that is destroyed overnight by the stupid actions of one who I would say is an intelligent man, because of his inability to do an important job in an important sphere. It is no good denying the fact that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) last night quoted the votes in the United Nations, and they showed that Australia has been on the wrong leg ever since the present Prime Minister and the present Government have been in office.

The other night - at midnight, in the dead of night - the Prime Minister called his Cabinet together, hoping, I suppose, that its deliberations would not get out to the press. A complete reversal of form in the United Nations followed. Our delegate was instructed to condemn South Africa, although, the Prime Minister had stood up for it at the Savoy Hotel dinner and at other conferences in different parts of the world. He had defended South Africa's actions as a racial and internal problem of its own. Is not this great reversal of form amazing? Is it not a case for the stewards? The Prime Minister must have got jealous of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The Prime Minister must have reasoned: If the Treasurer can change his policy as often as the weather changes, why can't I change our international policy? But this may mean the difference between war and peace. On the economic front, we may survive the Treasurer's blunders but the Prime Minister's blunders in the British Commonwealth of Nations and also the United Nations are such that not for much longer can we stand a Minister for External Affairs who does not know the job that he is expected to do.

It is no good Country Party members and others saying that they support this policy. No Country Party member has been able to talk for more than ten minutes in support of the Prime Minister's policy. We heard a lecture on the- results of the library researches conducted by the honorable member for Wide Bay, because he did not want to support the Government's policy. The truth of the matter is that what I am saying is clear to the Government. The Government has defended South Africa's racial discrimination and has defended Dr. Verwoerd although that policy is opposed to everything that the people of this country stand for. Would not one expect this Government to be behind a man who was British in outlook and who had supported us over the years? Would not one expect the Prime Minister to get behind people who had really supported our country? But no, that is not the position.

Let us look at the background of the people he is supporting in South Africa to-day - Dr. Verwoerd for instance. Let us look at the Prime Minister of South Africa and the attitude the Government is taking in respect of this man. I quote now from a book written by a journalist experienced in South African life. It is " The Tragedy of Apartheid ", by Norman Phillips, the foreign news editor of the "Toronto Star" and a victim of South Africa's idea of freedom and democracy. He says -

It could be said of Dr. Verwoerd that he is a devout Calvinist and the father of seven children. Further than that, on the credit side, I find it difficult to go. If he must be granted sincerity in his patriotism, then it is the sincerity of a Hitler or a Stalin. If he appears to have intellectual stature, it is only in comparison with the moss-backs and small-minded bigots surrounding him.

Dr. Verwoerdrepeatedly calls himself a Christian, yet he is the most ruthless exponent of the unchristian doctrines of apartheid and baasskap. He claims South Africa is in the forefront of Western civilization; but he is turning it into a police State.

Let us listen to the loyalists on the other side who always say the British Empire is supreme and who wave a flag and talk wildly of patriotism. Norman Phillips goes on to say, of Dr. Verwoerd -

His first recorded public pronouncement was a call in 1936 to bar South Africa's doors to the

Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany. The next step was to become editor of the Nationalist paper Die Transvaaler, a post he held from 1939 until 1948. During the war years Die Transvaaler was undisguisedly anti-British and its pro-Nazism was thinly veiled. When another South African paper commented on his pro-German bias, Dr. Verwoerd sued for damages - and lost. The judge ruled that he had knowingly given support to the enemy.

To our eternal disgrace, indelibly recorded in the annals of history, is the fact that the Prime Minister of Australia supported that man against other members of the Britsih Commonwealth and people in other parts of the world who had stood behind the British Commonwealth and Australia in times of crisis. It is no use denying that the Prime Minister stated that Dr. Verwoerd was a sincere man who put his point of view in every way admirably on various points.

I take the point, also, to-night which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) took to-day. I thought it was almost tragic to hear a man like the Attorney General (Sir Garfield Barwick) practically begging for mercy when having to speak in support of the Government. It was really tragic. I can understand the discontent of the Attorney-General. After all, he went away to lead the Government's team at the United Nations and in the middle of the proceedings the Prime Minister said the Attorney-General could not do the job. The Prime Minister took it on himself and made a bigger hash of it. So the AttorneyGeneral has reason to be a bit sore, but today he was apologetic and a bit sorrowful about the whole matter and said that these misunderstandings occur. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in what I thought was a brilliant speech, tore to ribbons the weak defence of the AttorneyGeneral.

It is no good denying the fact that when he came back to Australia the Prime Minister had to do one of two things, either stand up to the statements which he made abroad or run away from them. In this Parliament last night, we saw him running away from the statements he made after the Savoy Hotel dinner and from his Mascot statement and from the statement about jumping in the Serpentine. Last night the Prime Minister stated many things which, if they had been stated in the councils where he was, would have been to his credit.

Instead of that he told one story in Great Britain and another in Australia, but he had to come into the open because his great friend, Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, denied him in the British Parliament.

It is no good honorable members opposite saying that these denials of the Prime Minister come from the press. I have here the statement of the United Kingdom Information Service, and it was only when the Australian Prime Minister was lined up by the British Prime Minister that he got into line and realized that Dr. Verwoerd was not forced out of the British Commonwealth. As Mr. Macmillan said, one little concession or act by Dr. Verwoerd would have maintained the status quo and kept South Africa in the Commonwealth. This is an indication of the two voices with which the Prime Minister speaks and of the fact that he realized, when he got home, that he had failed his country and, therefore, was deserving of a vote of no confidence by this Parliament.

Is it not degrading to know that the Prime Minister is ashamed of our white Australia policy and that we have had to get the Prime Minister of Malaya - I do not say this in any vicious strain at all - a man not of our colour, to stand up and defend the white Australia policy and tell our white Australian Prime Minister that he does not know what he is talking about and that he completely misunderstands his own policy? Those are matters upon which the Government and the Prime Minister are deserving of censure. Therefore, we believe that the amendment proposed by our leader is warranted.

I conclude on this note, as time does not permit me to say anything further: I express, as other members of the Opposition have expressed, our complete lack of confidence in the Government and its unAustralian attitude. I agree with the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) when he said -

Those of us who stand for a more vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies' inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.

That was said by Mr. W. C. Wentworth, as reported in the " Sydney Morning Herald " on 13th April, 1943, and it is as true to-day as it was eighteen years ago.

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