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Thursday, 31 March 1966

Mr GALVIN (Kingston) .- Yesterday morning at question time I directed a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt), in which I requested the Government to review the position of Australia's trading with China. I want to make it clear at the outset, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) did today, that the Opposition has no objection to Australia's trading with any country, but we are in a peculiar position at the present time. The Minister for Health (Dr. Forbes) in his speech the other night said that the Chinese imperialist objectives would alter so much that they would lap the shores of Australia. All Government spokesmen have described China as the real enemy and the real power behind North Vietnam.

When I referred to the fact that Marshal Chen, the Chinese Foreign Minister, had said that China was helping North Vietnam and the Vietcong by sending to that country grain, textiles and metals, the Prime Minister said that Australia had its own economic problems in providing for its defence and its development. It appears that we are going to solve our defence problems by selling war materials to a country which this Government has described as the real enemy, and which has put its army into the field to fight and destroy Australian servicemen. The Government is not concerned about that matter as long as it can pay the expenses for the defence by Australian servicemen from the proceeds of the sale of goods to the enemy which is seeking to destroy Australian servicemen. This must be capitalism at its worst. This is trade at its worst. We are engaged not in a declared war but in a technical war. People are being killed, yet we supply the enemy with the equipment with which to kill our troops.

This is an interesting position. Today at question time a further question was asked about our trading with China. Reference was also made to our trading with North Vietnam. I have been waiting and watching for the answer to the question which the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) has on the notice paper with regard to the Australian trade with North Vietnam. Whatever technicalities may be involved in relation to China, we have been told time and time again that North Vietnam has troops in South Vietnam. They are fighting and killing Australian servicemen. We find that in 1964-65 Australia sold ยง155,158 worth of tallow to North Vietnam. This was inedible tallow, and everybody knows what tallow is used for. It is a component part of glycerine and glycol. It is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of high explosives. It is a necessary ingredient in the high explosives that are being aimed at Australian servicemen. Those high explosives would undoubtedly be used not only on the battlefields of Vietnam but also in the streets of Saigon. Wherever you send Australian troops in Vietnam, whether to the battlegrounds in the jungles or to the streets of Saigon, you will find explosives made with Australian tallow that has been sold directly to the enemy, North Vietnam. How low can a country get? How low can capitalism bring this country when we find goods such as these being sold directly to the enemy? We should also remember that we are selling this tallow quite openly - and in much larger quantities - to China as well.

I have come to the conclusion not only that this Government should never be forgiven by the people of Australia, but also that it should be noted for all time that this combination of Liberal and Country Party members cares little for the boys serving in Vietnam, the young conscripts of 19 that the Government is sending there. Government supporters care little for them. All they care for is to receive money in return for their goods. They do not concern themselves with the fact that munitions manufactured from those goods will be used to destroy our own Australian boys. My opinion is that members sitting on the Government benches are just a lot of modern Judas Iscariots. They will sell Australian youth as long as they get their price.

Honorable members opposite must feel ashamed to know that the wheat they are sending to China is being used to feed the troops who are opposed to the Australian lads whom this Government is sending to Vietnam. If those lads are destroyed the fact must play heavily on your consciences - if you have any consciences. Ask yourselves if it is good to feed the enemy with Australian grain, or to clothe him with Australian wool, or to send him the metals with which to manufacture weapons of war to be used to destroy the youth of Australia.

Capitalism, we know, has a bad record. This Government has a bad record. I hope the Australian people will never forgive the members who sit on the Government side of this Parliament. I am sure the mothers of the boys they are going to send to these battlefields and to the streets of Saigon will not forgive them. It is no wonder that the lads who are serving in Vietnam do not want to take a spell. They realise it is as dangerous in the streets of Saigon as it is in the jungles of Vietnam because the bicycles that one sees in the streets of that city may be loaded with high explosives containing glycerine made from the tallow that Australia is selling to China and directly to North Vietnam. Honorable members opposite are prepared to sit in their places and describe China as the enemy of this country. One after another they tell us that China is the real power. They make no bones about the fact that North Vietnam is advancing and fighting face to face with the youth of this nation.

What I have said about honorable members opposite applies particularly to members of the Country Party. To meet them individually one gets the impression that they are quite a nice bunch of fellows, but the fact is that money is more important to them, trade is more important to them than the lives of Australians. As I said before, the best description I can give them is that of modern Judas Iscariots. They put their price on the lives of Australians. Every time one reads the casualty lists one has cause to wonder about the policies that Australia is following. Members of the Government say: " We are sorry, but because we wanted money to raise the revenue for our defence forces' we had to sell these goods." They will be judged by history. The young people of Australia and their parents will not forgive them. They will pay the price at the - next elections.

Their hands will drip with the blood of every lad killed or wounded in this war.

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