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Thursday, 31 March 1966


Mr ENGLAND (Calare) .- The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Cross) has told us a lot about China. Later in my speech, I intend to speak about this country, but I shall deal with a different angle. First let me draw attention to two points on which I differ quite strongly from the views of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said that the war in Vietnam is an unwinnable war. Quite bluntly, this is not a matter of fact; it is a matter of opinion. My opinion is the same as the opinion of this Government, of the Government's military advisers, of approximately 250,000 conscripted American troops and of the Government of America. It is the same as the opinion of some 43,000 conscripted Korean troops in Vietnam, or who shortly will be in Vietnam, and of the Government of Korea. My opinion is the same as the opinion of the Government of the other half of Anzac - that is, the Government of New Zealand - whose troops are in Vietnam. Indeed, it is the same as the opinion of the other 30 nations who, in addition to the United States, at 1st February of this year were giving aid to South Vietnam and of the nine other governments that have promised to provide aid to South Vietnam.

All these people believe that the war in South Vietnam is winnable, and there can be no doubt that it is. But possibly they are all out of step and the Opposition in this Parliament is the only group in step. This war is winnable, just as was the war in Malaya, Borneo, and Korea, the Cuba incident, the Berlin blockade and the other points of pressure brought to bear by Communist forces. The point I take is that calling the war in South Vietnam an unwinnable war is a shocking bump to the morale of the troops serving there. It is a shocking kick in the stomach to them to know that this Parliament is divided on this issue. I was no great shakes as a soldier. I was not even an infantryman. But I do know a little about being in a jungle at night. In a few hours time, these fellows of ours will be settling down over there for the night and they will be watching everything - watching every move and listening to every noise. But tonight they will know that the National Parliament of Australia is split and that a group of honorable members believe that the war in South Vietnam in which they are engaged now is an unwinnable war. I think this is a shocking state of affairs. It is a very nasty reflection. It is a bump to morale.

The second point on which I disagree with the Opposition is this: The Opposition says that this is not a civil war. Let everybody in the country ask themselves these questions: Is there no conclusive evidence of Communist aggression in South Vietnam? Are not arms, munitions and materials coming forward from such Communist countries as the Chinese Peoples Republic, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, North Vietnam and the latest addition, East Germany? Is there any evidence of arms or munitions coming from any country in the free world? Is there any conclusive evidence of the antics of the Communist propaganda machine? I am sure the Opposition is behind the Council of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. At least I think it is, but after listening to the debate the other day I was somewhat uncertain. The Council of S.E.A.T.O. said -

The Communists themselves have proclaimed their assault on the Republic of Vietnam to be a critical test of the tactics of infiltrating arms and trained men across national frontiers.

Is it not a fact that, of the estimated 80,000 Vietcong regulars, 20,000 are from North

Vietnam? These are irrefutable facts. Have not the North Vietnamese had no close, shall 1 say, life-injecting contact with the 40,000 members of the political cadres that are in South Vietnam? Have they had no great impact on the 100,000 to 120,000 village guerrillas who are in South Vietnam? Of course they have.

Is Ho Chi Minh himself a Republican or a Democrat? Is he a supporter of the Labour Party, of the Liberal Party or of the Australian Country Party? He is a Communist. He started his revolutionary activities as a boy. In 1919 he went to France and joined the French Communist Party. In 1923 he went to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. For what purpose? To study revolutionary techniques. In 1925 he went to Canton. For what purpose? To join the staff of the Soviet Consul. In 1927 he went to Russia. In 1929 he went to Thailand and in 1930 he went to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong he organised Communism in Indo-China. So the record of Ho Chi Minh goes on. He is a Communist to the boot heels; he is a Communist to the tip of his wire whiskers. Is this a civil war in South Vietnam? I say it is a blatant, militant, deadly act of aggression by Communists who have come down into South Vietnam, and I am sure that many Opposition members agree with me.

Let me deal now with a section of Australian criticism. There is criticism in this country. This is a democracy and we can still criticise. But if there is criticism, I think surely it ought to be based on a point of responsibility. I am rather surprised at the criticism. I want to deal particularly with the criticism coming from certain churchmen and academics in this country. Thank goodness there is no church and no denomination in this country which has taken an outright stand on this point, but there are a lot of individuals, such as wardens of colleges in charge of our younger generation, who talk of the duties of Christian ministers; principals of colleges who talk anti-Vietnam and anti-conscription; churchmen from all fields; a professor from Sydney University who accused the Primate of Australia, Dr. Gough, of jingoism - the one senior churchman in Australia who, with all due respect to the Primate, has got off his behind and gone to have a look at conditions for himself. He has been accused of jingoism.

These people have spoken of the way of totalitarian governments. According to them, this is a totalitarian Government adopting policies which, as they put it, are utterly inconsistent with democratic principles and Christianity. I mark that because I want to develop this theme. Do not these people know that Communism is opposed to all religion and all religious practices? Do they not know that the Communist is sure that religion is incompatible with Communism's materialistic ideology? Certainly its suppression of religion has varied from time to time from outright suppression in Stalinist days - it has eased slightly to suit places, conditions and people - to less forcible and persuasive methods which arc used in various countries, but always there is the effort to rid the people of religious beliefs and religious practices.

Do not these people know that in 1963 a Chair of Scientific Atheism was set up in the University of Jena in Communit Germany to teach the young people of that country, not Christianity, not any other religion but atheism? That is the kind of thing the Communists want to get into the minds of the young people. Do the critics to whom I have referred know that the head of that faculty came from the Department of Dialectical and Historical Materialism - the Communists love these long words - in the Philosophical Institute of the University of Jena? Do they know that that man was the chairman of a working group on atheism and that to this working group came representatives from the Universities of East Berlin, Leipzig, Jena, Halle, Rostoch and Greifvald? Would they be surprised to know that that same man made a study trip to the Soviet Union in the autumn of 1963 to study scientific research on atheism? Now he occupies the chair to which I have referred and he is teaching the young people sitting below him the principles of atheism.

The articles of foundation of the chair may interest some people, lt was to be the chief co-ordinating centre of scientific atheistic work in the Soviet zone, it was to develop an intense and purposeful research in this field of science - they call it a science - and it was to make a decisive contribution to the dialectic, materialistic, philosophical education of the people. How the Communists love these long words. In the words of the articles, it was also to be a valuable stimulus to the improvement of philosophical, atheistic propaganda. 1 should like the House and the Government's critics to mark this. There was to be intensification of atheistic propaganda among teachers and educators and clear atheistic and anticlerical direction. There is the age old philosophy and the age old method. Go to the teachers and the educators, and get to the minds of the young people. I direct the attention of the critics, particularly those from the churches, to what Communism is trying to drive down the throats of people.

The basic philosophy of Marxist Communism is that there is no God, that the State takes the place of God and that everyone subordinates himself to the State. A man discards his right to control his own actions and his own words and, to repeal a phrase used by the Primate of Australia, the most degrading form of slavery is that he is denied the right to control his own thoughts. The public policy of the Communists, as announced, is to respect fully the religious feelings of believing Christians. This policy is honoured in the breach. In practice, the principle of religious tolerance is by no means respected. Time does not permit me to develop this theme but I have any amount of evidence to support my remarks.

Let me turn now to China. Bearing in mind the peaceful right hand that has been put out to China by the honorable member for Brisbane, it is not surprising to find embodied in China's constitution a guarantee of religious freedom. In fact, this amounts only to a tolerance of persons holding certain religious beliefs in private life. Mao Tse-tung, who was mentioned by the honorable member for Bradfield, laid down in 1940 - these are his own words - that toleration of religion by Communists can only be temporary and expedient. Have these dissentient churchmen looked as far afield as this? Do they know that lslam in China is described as an anti-scientific reactionary world concept? Do they know that China Islam is regarded as alien and inimical to the scientific Marxist-Leninist world concept? I repeat that those are Mao's words, not mine. - Where religion is concerned, China is running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. It shouts to the outside world that it has religious freedom but internally it is restricting and gradually eliminating religious freedom. With the present trend it is estimated that within 10 years Islam in China will be dead. In all schools, I should like the House to note, religious teaching is prohibited. Its place is taken by scientific materialism and Marxist-Leninism. Children are taught to ridicule religious beliefs and to become scientific atheists. This is the China to which the honorable member for Brisbane has referred.

Now let us look at the religious situation in North Vietnam where the present trouble exists. Again, the Constitution provides freedom of religious thought. Some activity has to be shown to indicate that North Vietnam is abiding by that part of the Constitution so the Unified Buddhist Association of North Vietnam has been formed. It has been proved that this Association is suborned to the State. It plays along with the regime partly from fear and partly by passive acceptance because passivity fits in with tha Buddhist religion. However, the Association has no voice of its own. It has no anti-Communist role and it follows the Government Une of anti-American propaganda.

The danger I see is that the critics to whom I have referred hold most responsible positions in the community. They have a great influence on the thinking of many people. People in trouble go to them for advice. These are the kind of men - just a handful, fortunately, but quite a vociferous handful - who are coming out against the Government's policy. They have a great effect on the emotions of people, both those amongst the deep and objective thinkers and those in the impressionable sector. I think they should pause and truly assess the dangers of Communism. Let them seek for themselves whether Communism can exist for any length of time in the same society as does religion of any type for any length of time. Then let them come in behind the Government in the stand it is taking against an ideology which does not in any circumstances fit into- our Australian way of life. I do not shrink away from the accusations that are going to be thrown at me of talking about a holy war. The wars that have been fought in my lifetime have been fought for freedom - freedom of thought, freedom of action, freedom of expression and freedom of worship. Wars have been fought for these reasons, but never before in the lives of honorable members in. this chamber has there been so much effort throughout the world for the suppression of religion and religious beliefs. So honorable members may call it a holy war, if they wish. I say to these men and to the editors of some of the church newspapers that if they stand in the way of the actions taken by this Government to halt the advancing tide of Communism, there may come a day when they will not want to be heard talking of these things. They will not want to be heard speaking of the rights, duties and responsibilities of Christian ministers, and the Church as we know it now may no longer exist.







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