Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 11 November 1971
Page: 3322


Mr JAMES (Hunter) - The Parliament has resumed the debate on the appropriation for the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Bill provides for a total expenditure of $89,913,000 in this Department for the year 1971- 72. This is an increase of $8.5m on the expenditure for 1970-71. I would have been happier if more earnest consideration had been given to the distribution of more financial aid to the nations or islands of the South Pacific Commission. On a recent visit to that region by a parliamentary delegation led by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), I was able to study the problems of the countries of the South Pacific region that were visited. I believe it is true to say that countries such as the New Hebrides, Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji have a deep affection for Australia and the Australian people. Members of the delegation were in a position to observe that these countries are in need of further Australian economic help but due, I suppose, to the mythical propaganda of the threat from regions to our north, we give priority to them.

The islands of Western Samoa and Tonga could be regarded as being overcrowded. Tongans have difficulty in migrating anywhere because they belong to a kingdom. Western Samoans with work permits have immigration privileges to and from New Zealand because Western Samoa formerly was administered by New Zealand. The indigenes of the island of United States Western Samoa have full United States citizenship, but the poor Tongans cannot readily migrate elsewhere because, as I mentioned, Tonga is a kingdom. I think we should examine their problem in this regard. Whilst in Fiji the parliamentary delegation visited the South Pacific University where I spoke to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Aitken, about appointments of staff to that university. I found that a Tongan with lesser qualifications than a native born Fijian had been appointed to the staff. In my view, the Fijian had much higher qualifications for the position. I refer to Dr James Anthony, who recently qualified with a Ph.D. at the Australian National University and who has degrees from the University of Hawaii and a university in the United States. I believe Dr Anthony was victimised because he took a prominent part in a strike in Fiji about 12 or more years ago and for this reason he was not successful in receiving the appointment for which he applied. In the strike in which he played a prominent part as a young man of about 23 years of age, he was instrumental in having the wages of the Fijian workers raised by about $3 or $4 a week. As I mentioned, Dr Anthony was educated at the Australian National University to a Ph.D. degree and his scholarship cost the Australian taxpayers in the vicinity of $12,000 or more. I understand that the sole purpose of Australian aid in this regard is to equip scholars from our neighbouring countries with higher qualifications so that they can return to their countries and aid their own governments' educational programmes in their native lands which, unfortunately, are lacking in educational facilities. Dr Anthony has since been appointed to the staff of the University of Hawaii.

It is noticeable in this debate how Government supporters have refrained from mentioning the tragic situation which now exists in East Pakistan - a Commonwealth country. I am deeply grateful for the concern which has been shown by many of my constituents in the Cessnock region who have written to me pointing out the plight of these unfortunates who have had to flee their native land into India. This has placed a crushing economic burden on the Government of India which must almost have reached saturation point. The political party which advocated independence for East Pakistan and which the refugees supported swept the polls at recent elections, capturing 167 seats out of 169. However, the military regime will not allow the wishes of the people to be implemented. Because, in the main, of the maltreatment of the people by the military regime which controls East Pakistan and which will not give them their independence, almost 10 million refugees have fled from East Pakistan to India and the Indian Government has been burdened with a cost of almost $A3m a day to house, feed and provide for these unfortunate people. When one considers that Australia's aid contribution is a mere $5. 5m, one must regard that as mean, lousy and shabby. We are spending $300m on the Fill aircraft and there are still doubts about its safety.

I now want to say something about the foreign or United States bases in Australia. I want to place on the records of the Parliament some of the facts disclosed in a booklet which was sent to me by an organisation in South Australia. It begins as follows:

Who owns the bases?

Who pays for them?

What arc they for?

Why are they shrouded in secrecy?

Do they make Australia more secure?

Do they make Australia a nuclear target?

Are they related to a sound foreign policy?

Is there an alternative to such bases?


Mr Jess - Who sent you the booklet?


Mr JAMES - I do not think it would have been the honourable member because he does not believe in truth, frankness or forthrightness. Further on the booklet states:

The most consistently expressed objection to the bases is that they make Australia a nuclear target. Creighton Burns has described Woomera as a potential nuclear target in the event of a nuclear war. Robert Cooksey and Des Ball claim that in a global nuclear war Pine Gap would be a priority target, and that there are other situations falling short of global nuclear war, in which it might be attacked.


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - the honourable member for Lalor - has charged that the Government has made Australia a nuclear target by stealth. He has also said that the bases in Australia are totally unprotected. In America similar bases have an efficient and highly costly anti-ballistic missile system around them, but not here. What does this mean? he asks, does it mean that they will not be defended? If they are to be defended, who will pay the cost? Where is the ABM system coming from? Where is the money coming from if Australia has to provide it? Have any discussions been had with the United States about what that country is to do?

I commend the document to honourable members.


Mr MacKellar - Where can we get it?


Mr JAMES - If the honourable member is sincere in his request and calls at my office at the termination of my speech I will see that he is given a copy immediately. This country is urgently in need of men, and I think that the following poem could be applied to the present situation and leaders of the nation:

God give us men! A time like this demands

Strong wills, clear heads, true hearts, and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;

Men who possess opinions, and a will;

Men who have honour; men who will not lie,

For while the rabble, with their narrow creeds,

Their large professions, and their little deeds,

Wrangle in selfish strife, Lo! Freedom sleeps,

Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice weeps.







Suggest corrections