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Wednesday, 16 March 1966


Mr COCKLE (Warringah) .- Mr. Speaker,I have listened very patiently to the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb). But as the honorable member is not a member of the party which is responsible for the security of Australia or which has the support of the people of Australia, he can speak with complete abandon and irresponsibility as he did today. In doing so, he extravagantly expounded the propaganda of the Communist interests, which I venture to say will be resounding very strongly in Hanoi and Peking.


Mr Webb - Is everyone who does not ap .ee with the honorable member a Communist?


Mr COCKLE - The honorable member can have his say, but I take the line of this Government. I refer to that section of the speech by the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) dealing with the commitment of additional Australian forces to South Vietnam. Like the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Nixon), I pay t compliment to our new Prime Minister on the forthright and courageous statement which he made a few nights ago. Mr. Speaker, I make my position abundantly clear by fully and unequivocally supporting the Government's intention to increase Australia's commitment in South Vietnam from 1 ,500 to 4,500 ~-in effect a task force group, approximately 30 per cent, of which will be national service trainees. Of course, the Opposition took the opportunity to be very critical about this proposal. I reject, for many, many reasons, the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), which objects to national service trainees serving in South East Asia. The Leader of the Opposition is well known for his objections to conscription. He is consistent in this respect. This is the consistency between his attitude in 1943 and his present attitude. We read that in 1943 he opposed conscription. Thank goodness that the Labour Government of those days contained men who were not prepared to accept his pacifist attitudes and overruled the opinions which he expressed. It appals me to think of the very dangerous situation of the lads who fought in the Pacific in the war against Japan. If they had known at that time that the present Leader of the Opposition was a pacifist and did not believe in supporting them in any way they would have been very concerned indeed. It was just as well that they did not know of his attitude. It was just as well also that we had the Americans with us.

All Australians should be concerned about the security of this country, and they must be very concerned about the attitude of the Labour Party, which provides our so-called alternative Government. Those on the Opposition benches who regard themselves as great anti-conscriptionists, such as the Leader of the Opposition and the members of the left wing - I am not certain what the left wing is - parade a line of Communism. In fact they are great socialists, and as socialists they are, of course, the greatest conscriptionists of all time. Their very doctrines enshrine their socialist objectives. Socialism, as it is known to those who faithfully follow its objectives, calls for complete conscription of everything, men and machines. These people want the land in which they practice or would like to practice their socialism to be under their complete control, but in their view conscription cannot be used for the security of Australia. So we hear noisy demonstrations by people associated with the left wing and by the arch-villains of the peace, the Communists - running down the Government and its efforts to preserve our country's security by calling up lads for national service.

As I understand the position, neither the Leader of the Opposition nor his followers made any objection during the last war when hundreds of thousands of conscripted American lads came to our part of the free world to protect us from Japan. We do not hear protests about the conscripted American lads fighting at present in Vietnam so that our free way of life may be protected. Surely if conscription is good enough for a great and strong nation like America - and there is abundant evidence that it is - it should be good enough for Australia, which has the task of making itself as strong as possible, bearing in mind that it has a population of only about 11,500,000. If it is good enough for America to defend us so that we may enjoy the privileges and attractions of a free world, should it not be good enough for us to accept our responsibility to protect the countries of the free world as best we can?

What about our volunteers, the lads who freely volunteered in the early stages of the war against Vietnam? Are we to leave them alone to do the best they can without any assistance from other members of the community? Are we to tell their parents, their wives and families that these volunteers are to be left without assistance? I am glad to see that the Leader of the Opposition has returned to the chamber and can hear these remarks. What about the parents of the young American boys who are fighting in Vietnam? Surely they have feelings for the lads who, as a result of the conscription policy of the United States, are now fighting our battle. It would be some consolation to the dependants of those American servicemen if we could give an assurance that we are determined to do our share in the defence of the free world. Thank goodness I am a supporter of a Government which has already given such an assurance in large measure.

In the ranks of Opposition members there arc quite a few who demonstrate a hatred of America. They constantly seek to criticise America and never to praise that country. It is strange that we never hear from them any criticism of Soviet Russia or Red China. We remember how left wing members of the Opposition expressed stern opposition to the establishment of the United States communications centre at Exmouth Gulf, how they opposed support for the United States in Vietnam, criticised South Korea for sending troops to South East Asia, supported a " Go home Yank " attitude and were in favour of demonstrations against America wherever they occurred.

I recall a couple of years ago a gentleman on the opposite side of this House whom I held in high esteem when I learned that he was an ex-serviceman, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray), standing in this chamber and saying that the American soldiers had come to Australia in the early stages of World War II as refugees. What a disgraceful smear to come from a man who in my view should have known better. I spent three years with the Americans - American conscripts as we are told they were and are - in the invasions which eventually led to the return of Macarthur to the Philippines. I was with them during the invasions of Wewak, Moratai. Hollandia and Leyte, the action in Lingayen Gulf and the campaigns at Brunei and Balikpapan. I was very proud of my associations with those fine American lads. They were not boastful in any way. They did their jobs without complaint and with tremendous efficiency. I saw these young American boys getting ready to go over the sides of their ships before dawn to be taken ashore in boats to hostile beaches. They never whimpered. They were there to do a job which manifestly involved the protection of Australia. I wonder if honorable members on the opposite side ever give a thought to the part that America and its young soldiers played in the war in which we were so ably protected from Japan. I wonder whether the irresponsible demonstrators and pacifists know what America has done in the past - or do they not take America's sacrifice into any consideration? The left wingers and their ilk, with their anti-Government propaganda follow the Communist line without deviation. As I have said, they are always condemning America and persistently presenting the case for Hanoi and Peking.

I can well imagine the influence that Communists - such as Jack Hughes and Tom Wright - who have played such a leading part in the disruptions on our waterfront, are now having in the demonstrations against this Government's legislation in respect of our war effort. No doubt they are behind these demonstrations in full measure. As a matter of fact, this seems to be an appropriate time for them to be active, as there does not appear to be as much industrial strife as previously. Unquestionably these Communists are behind the do-gooders, academics and others who, not knowingly, do things that are not in accordance with Australia's best interests, because of the pressures behind them. I believe too that the Communists are behind the attempt being made, in some degree successfully, to sabotage the war effort by people getting hold of the lads who are called up and prevailing upon them to take certain action in an attempt to avoid training. This is sabotage of Australia's war effort.

The hard facts of these critical times justify, in my view, and in the view of members on this side of the House, the Government's intention to increase the size of the Australian force in Vietnam and the intention to use an increased number of national service trainees. It is plain, for all who want to see, that to carry out our minimum tasks - to ensure our security and to fulfil our obligations to our allies - we need a larger regular army in Vietnam than voluntary enlistment is giving us. I am no warmonger. I love peace, as do all reasonable people. But it is unrealistic to be a pacifist in this unsettled and turbulent world. On our strength and on our association with our powerful ally, the United States of America, depends whether the Australia we love so much - or which we say we love so much - will survive or be totally annihilated.

As we are well aware, the Western world has been waging a war of survival for the last 40 years. It has been waging this war during a time when politicians and spiritual leaders have failed to face up to the threats confronting us. There has been condonation of piecemeal annexation. Remember Hitler's rape of Austria, remember Stalin's annexation of the Baltic States, remember how China was allowed to go red. Remember, too, the Nazi and Communist victories achieved in a sea of human blood and an ocean of human suffering while the world looked on. At last America has decided that the aggression of Communism, directed to world domination, must be resisted. The stand by the United States of

America in South East Asia flows from this decision to resist. We are indeed fortunate that we have America to protect our true democracy and all that we hold dear. No wonder the Americans, who are anathema to Communists throughout the world, including Communists in Australia, are so objected to by honorable members opposite.

After listening to the puerile arguments of the Opposition against our war effort one would think that no danger faced Australia at the present time. The Leader of the Opposition said - I interpolate here to say: " How irresponsible can you get? " - that Australia does not face any threat of invasion from Asia in the immediate future. He said that China has no navy or merchant marine capable of attacking Australia.


Mr Calwell - I said that. That is right.


Mr COCKLE - That shows the level of the honorable gentleman's thinking. He considers that he is the Labour Party's kerbside general or maybe its armchair admiral, whichever hat he is pleased to wear. Mr. Deputy Speaker, certainly let us work for peace, but at the same time let us be equipped to safeguard the way of life we have enjoyed for so long, with its freedom and its security, in the interests not only of our present community but also of the posterity who will follow us.







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