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Thursday, 7 May 1970


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - When the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) finished speaking about the Moratorium parade that is to take place later this week he said that he was going to get down to serious business and serious issues which should be before the Australian Parliament. The clear implication from that is that he did not regard the Moratorium issue - the question of peace and war - as a serious one for debate in this Parliament. I know full well that the other matters he mentioned have a very real significance and concern for those who are involved in them but to suggest, as he did, that the question of peace and war - of a reasonable and proper settlement in South East Asia - is not a matter of serious concern or is not a serious issue for this Parliament is surely an odd statement to make.

The honourable member said that if anything untoward happens in the next few days members on this side of the House will have to examine their consciences in view of what has been said in this debate. What the people of Australia should recognise is that a significant number of members of the Australian Labor Party, from the

Federal and State spheres, have consistently supported the Moratorium issue, have said that it is right to occupy the streets, and have said that it is right to disturb the normal business and commercial life of the great Australian cities to pursue a cause that they have not been able to pursue successfully through the ballot box. They are, therefore, seeking to change Australian policies by demonstration and this is not part, and should not be part, of our democratic process. If there are any kinds of disturbances during the next few days it will bc the advocacy of the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and the advocacy, membership and support of members of the Australian Labor Party, that will have contributed quite directly to that.

The whole Moratorium issue is based on a lie. It is based on the lie that if Australians withdraw from Vietnam and if the United States of America withdraw from Vietnam, there will be peace and happiness for everyone in Vietnam. This, of course, is not so. The South Vietnamese who want their own independence have indicated that even without support they would fight as long as they could. In truth, the Moratorium Campaign is aimed at the heart of the democratic process. It is designed to achieve government by demonstration. It is designed to alter the policies that have been supported in election after election by the Australian people, lt also indicates a lack of concern and a lack of willingness by the Australian Labor Party to accept the verdict of the Australian people in elections.

The honourable member for Lalor has said that individuals have a right to break laws. He does not define the terms on which and the circumstances in which individuals have a right to break laws. But this again is not a part of the democratic process, and it should be noted that the honourable member for Lalor time and time again has advocated this breaking of laws. There is in Australia a full opportunity for citizens and for members of political parties to seek to change laws if they muster a majority of the Australian people in their support, but the Australian Labor Party through its long and sorry history in recent years has not been able to muster that majority support and therefore it resorts to the streets to try to achieve what it has not been able to achieve through the ballot box. What the Labor Party is now accepting is denial of acceptance of majority rule, and this is not part of the Australian way. This is a deliberate attempt to interfere with the rights of many citizens who only want to go about their own business.

This is a deliberate attempt to stop the business and commercial life of Australian cities over the next few days. The honourable member for Lalor has said that he hopes that the commercial and industrial life of cities will be held up as a result of these disturbances. He has said that there is a right to occupy the streets. What does this term 'to occupy the streets' mean? It is strangely reminiscent of the circumstances that have occurred in Paris time and time again during the course of France's history, when one republic has been overthrown by revolution and replaced by another. This was the term then used. The citizens of Paris occupied the streets to change their government by revolution. The honourable member for Lalor uses the same term. He asks people to occupy the streets of Australian cities. Honourable members opposite have said at times that it is hoped that the demonstrations will be non-violent, that they will be peaceful, but then with a typical cry of revolutionaries they have laid the groundwork for a violent demonstration by saying that if there is violence it will be as a result of police intimidation.


Mr Uren - But you know that you are a violent man.


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - This has been the cry of revolutionaries all around the world.


Mr Uren - You are a violent man.







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