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Thursday, 24 March 1966

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) .- I can well understand why the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Hansen) should spend the first five minutes of his time in speaking about the really important issue in this debate and the subsequent IS minutes of his time in giving his own rather quaint interpretation of the drought. I realise that speaking on the real issue in this debate considerably embarrasses him. Not so many years ago, when he was a member of the shipwrights' 'union, he was a very strong anti-Communist. In fact, until Dr. Evatt first put pressure on various men in the Australian Labour Party, the honorable member for Wide Bay was one of those people who were known as very strong industrial groupers.

Mr Hansen - Mr. Speaker, I regard that as an insult. The honorable member for Lilley has named me as an industrial grouper. I regard that as a direct insult to me as a member of the Labour Party.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Lilley will withdraw the remark that he made.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Then I presume that the honorable member for Wide Bay denies-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will withdraw his reflection on the honorable member for Wide Bay.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - If the honorable member for Wide Bay is offended, I withdraw it. I come now to the propositions put forward by the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Sexton). I will come back to the honorable member for Wide Bay on some other occasion when the circumstances are more suitable. The honorable member for Adelaide waxed rather rhetorical on our commitment in Vietnam. Of course, he spoke a lot of sanctimonious nonsense, such as one would expect from a sweet-tempered proletarian.

What is the issue in regard to Vietnam? What are the feelings of members of the Opposition, not only with respect to the national servicemen who are going to Vietnam but also with respect to the regular soldiers who are there now? Running through their contributions to this debate is this thought or proposition: "We will support our regular soldiers there ". Let us see whether they would. Let us see how much real support they would give to our regular soldiers in Vietnam. I shall read from a much quoted report - the report of the proceedings of the last meeting of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party. [Quorum formed,] I thank the three or four members of the Opposition who are present for providing me with a larger audience. Let us look at one decision of the Federal Executive which has been supported by every member of the Opposition including the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and at the implications of that decision. This is one decision of the Federal Executive which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - the leader leading from behind - supported without equivocation.

Item 12 states that the Federal Executive endorsed a request that a strong protest should be sent to the Government of South Korea for sending 15,000 men to fight in

South Vietnam. Let us consider the background against which that decision was made. I am delighted to know that one member of the Federal Executive is listening to me here tonight. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) have hinted on a number of occasions that they would leave our regular soldiers in South Vietnam. What would they do? They would leave them there with minimal support.

Mr Pollard - What rot.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - That is a fact. The honorable member should face a few facts occasionally. When another Asian nation decides to send first 15,000 men and now 41,000 men to back up our troops in South Vietnam, what do members of the Opposition do? They protest. But they say: " We will leave in South Vietnam the 1,500 men that we have there now ". I am sure that every soldier who is or will be in South Vietnam would be delighted with the support that the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party and every member of the Opposition would give him. They would leave our troops there with minimal support and exposed to the greatest danger. They gloss over these things and I hope that they do not understand them.

I challenge the Federal Conferences of the Labour Party, which will meet tomorrow, to change that decision of the Federal Executive. But it will not have the wit, the will or the courage to do that. We should remember that a decision of that kind is infinitely more important than any decision on education. I have supported certain principles and State aid in respect of education for years, both when it was popular to do so and when it was unpopular to do so. But this decision to leave our troops in Vietnam and to sabotage our efforts by having the troops of other nations taken away from there is the most despicable thing that I can possibly imagine. Running through the debate - many matters have been running through this debate - is the proposition that Communist China may be concerned in North Vietnam. We know that the Vietnamese Communist Party is under strong Chinese influence. We know that Le Duan is strongly committed to Communist China. We know that he has gained significant power, in effect replacing

Ho Chi Minh. We know that China le exerting greater influence in North Vietnam. We have been challenged time and time again to demonstrate where this has any real significance to Australia. It is argued that we are a long way from Vietnam. The talented members of the Opposition should know that on at least three occasions Communist China has stated that Australia lies within her sphere of influence. Lin Piao has stated this, and Kuo Mo Jo has stated it twice. In August 1961, in Djakarta, Kuo Mo Jo was asked questions about Australia and he said quite clearly that they saw the future of Australia as lying within the Chinese sphere of influence over the neutralist Afro-Asian nations. This means, of course, that we lie within the sphere of neutral nations like South Vietnam, Ghana as it was, and Indonesia which China may yet influence. Subandrio has stated that the revolution in Indonesia has only been postponed for seven years. In 1 96 1 it was stated clearly that Communist China had intentions regarding Australia.

Last year Lin Piao very clearly stated Communist China's plans for the world. We come into this scheme, not in a secondary way but in a primary way. He said -

Taking the entire globe, if North America and Western Europe can be called the cities of the world then Asia, Africa and Latin America constitute the rural areas.

Anyone who is familiar with recent Chinese history, at least since 1945 - the member of the Labour Party's Federal Executive who is sitting opposite me should know this, and if he does not know it he should study it - realises that the rural areas are taken first. We are not relegated to the background to be influenced ultimately as are Europe and North America; we lie within the primary area of interest. People who look at the events in North Vietnam and ignore these facts are running away from the facts of life. The trouble is that in Australia the alternative government is running away from the facts of life.

Mr Webb - We are not supplying China with wheat, wool and metals.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I will not try to explain the situation to the honorable member. Communist China has expressed precise aims for Australia, and the New

China News Agency did so again last weekend. We cannot ignore the position. It is before the eyes of honorable members opposite if they only dare to look at the facts. Some people say that it would be impossible for the Chinese to get to Australia.

Mr Hansen - Tell us why the Government is sending kids to Vietnam.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I would not say too much if I were the honorable member for Wide Bay. We can learn a lesson from the Japanese war. We can read it in the recently published biography of Admiral Yamamoto. The reason why the Japanese did not come directly to Australia after Pearl Harbour was that the Japanese army staff vetoed the decision of the Japanese naval staff to do so. The Japanese had two alternatives. They could come directly to Australia or they could go around the southern part of Asia towards Ceylon and India. The navy wanted to come here, but the army vetoed that decision. Why? It vetoed it because Japan did not have 10 divisions to spare. The lack of 10 divisions stopped the Japanese from coming here quickly but would China ever be stopped because she did not have 10 divisions to spare? Would she ever be in the position where she did not have 50 or 100 divisions to spare? Any nation that can make an atomic bomb can supply the necessary naval and air power too. Honorable members opposite should try to learn a few of the facts of history. We are situated in this geographical area and we have to be aware of our position.

What do people in North Vietnam - people like General Giap, Lin Piao and Ho Chi Minh - think about this country? They know that this war is now being fought in the domain of public opinion in the democracies. I do not apologise for the French, but I am trying to learn a lesson from what happened with the French. The French war collapsed because of lack of political support. The United Front Marxist and socialist Parties in France quite clearly sabotaged the French war. Crossman stated the position about the Australian Labour Party. General Giap knew that Mendes France had put a time limit on the war. He knew that the collapse of political support in France secured his victory in Dien Bien Phu. What do members opposite have to say about this? General Giap himself said -

The enemy will pass slowly from the offensive to the defensive. The blitzkrieg will transform itself into a war of long duration. Thus, the enemy will be caught in a dilemma; he has to drag out the war in order to win it and does not possess, on the other hand, the psychological and political means to fight a long drawn out war.

I ask honorable members to note that. If the Chinese Communists look at the policies since 1955 of the alternative government in this country they will come to the conclusion that psychological and political support for national security has died in Australia. Every decision on external security that has been made by the Labour Party's Federal Conference since 1955 has sabotaged our efforts at national security. The Opposition has some more decisions to make in a day or two, but let me recount some of the decisions it has made. This reads like a litany of approval for those who oppose us. What are the decisions since 1955 that have been supported by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition? There has been opposition to our troops serving in Malaya. There has been support for diplomatic recognition of Communist China, no matter what happens to Taiwan. There has always been a delightful little phrase used in connection with the security of Taiwan - " No doubt suitable arrangements will be made in respect of the people of Taiwan ". This is how the Labour Party would secure the future of about 12 million people. There has been Labour Party opposition to the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. There has been opposition to the base at North West Cape, or support for it only on conditions that the Americans would never accept. At its conference in the next few days the Opposition can reverse these decisions and get back to the kind of Labour Party that the honorable member for Wide Bay was most vigorous in supporting, as a member of the Federated Shipwrights and Ship Constructors of Australia, until 1955.

Our commitment in Vietnam over the years has been part of our commitment to the American alliance that we have in the area. It must be viewed in this light. If we were to get out of Vietnam, could we blame an American mother or father for saying: " Bring my boy back home "? I can imagine the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant; u< u.* Honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Sexton) making their stand on the banks of the Yarra, the Torrens or perhaps the Brisbane River. They would be terribly successful. I hope you are all willing to face up to these decisions. General Giap would only be encouraged by the psychological and political defeat which has been propounded by the Opposition for the last 10 years. Both Leaders of the Opposition and Deputy Leaders of the Opposition have sounded the trumpet of defeat. Whether they have been leading their men from the front or from behind, they can only give support to our opponents - those people who would seek to undermine this country, to isolate us, whether by a Locarno type of pact, physically or in any other way. These honorable members can do nothing else. Yet many members of the Opposition have not sufficient courage to uphold the principles which their Party tried to put into operation between 1943 and 1955. A strange set of schizophrenic attitudes has arisen in the Australian Labour Party since the period 1943 to 1955. How different has been the position between 1955 and 1965. Of course, Labour members must be guided by their conscience.

Mr James - The honorable member talks about conscience.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I have been trying to discover the honorable member's conscience for the last few years.

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