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Thursday, 24 March 1966

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- The discussion tonight deserves some explanation. I think -that the explanation is that the Government parties are very conscious of the fact that they are being indicted for conscripting young men of 18 to 20 years to fight in the dirtiest and most stinking war that perhaps has ever been known. This accusation against the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) amounts to this - that he is alleged to have said: " What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? ". Let us have a look at what this Government is doing. Today young men are being compulsorily removed from their homes, taken to the jungles of Queensland and trained to be efficient in the practice of guerrilla warfare. People all over the world are saying that this is a dirty war. So Australia comes into a dirty war and trains men in jungle warfare which is, in other words, guerrilla warfare. These young men sail away as conscripts and land on the shores of a country where there ia undoubtedly, on the admission of the most reliable authorities, a very large section of trained South Vietnamese who rightly or wrongly consider they are defending the integrity and the shores of their own country. They, on their part, have been trained in the art of jungle warfare. They are South Vietnamese. On the other hand, there are those in Vietnam, North and South, who are dedicated members of the Vietcong or, in other words, the local Communist Party. But in both instances they are natives of Vietnam, North and South. They have had a prolonged quarrel amongst themselves since they unloaded the French. They have given no indication at any stage of this filthy fight that they ever have endeavoured or even have wanted to do anything to the detriment of this country we all love so much.

Because someone in this party says: " What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? ", the Government gets very heated, and attempts to smother the fact that it is responsible for training young men to leave the shores of Australia - young mcn adequately trained in guerrilla warfare - lo land on the shores of another country whose inhabitants wish no ill will towards Australia, to meet the guerrillas of that country.

Someone has asked: " What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? " There is everything wrong with it, and this Government which is responsible for training young Australians compulsorily to go overseas and engage in guerrilla warfare in other people's territory is, in my opinion, engaged in a very evil act. ls it any wonder someone has asked: " What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? " We are engaging in it and so are the people on whose soil we are landing our forces. The obvious answer to the question: "What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? ", is that it is evil, but primarily evil is this Government which has plunged this Australia of ours into a filthy conflict among people of a country who have never done anything to harm us and who want to live in peace with the rest of the world. On both sides of the dirty quarrel, the people of Vietnam are more interested in the integrity of their own country than in anything else.

I learned a few dirty tactics while being trained for a war in which we had something to fight for but in this case honorable members opposite should be ashamed of themselves. They are so ashamed that they have had to dig up their champion muckraker - I do not apply these remarks to the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) - to deliver a phoney attack on the Opposition. To honorable members opposite I say: " You should be ashamed of yourselves."

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