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Thursday, 26 August 1937

Senator HARDY (New South Wales) . - I looked forward with considerable interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (SenatorCollings) on the subjects discussed at the recent Imperial Conference, and particularly that of defence, because I thought that by following his remarks closely, and keeping my mind reasonably clear, I might hear him clear up the mystery surrounding the defence policy of the Australian Labour party. After hearing him speak for over an hour I must confess that I am still as much in the dark as ever. In these circumstances I do not regret the statement I made during the Gwydir byelection campaign, when in reply to questions as to the defence policy of the Labour party, I Had to say that it had no defence policy. Although the Leader of the Opposition has said that the policy of the Labour party provides for the adequate defence of Australia, I am still convinced thatit is a policy which could not ensure national security. I desired to hear from the honorable gentleman replies to a number of interjections, particularly those which asked what the Opposition would do with the Defence vote if, per chance, it were successful at the forthcoming election. Honorable senators still do not, know what the Labour party would do with that vote if returned to power. When the budget is submitted to us in a few clays' time, the Leader of the Opposition will have an opportunity to say whether or not the Defence vote is regarded by the Labour party as satisfactory. I confess also that I am still ignorant of the means by which the Labour party would limit the activities of aerial bombers to the territorial boundary of Australia.

Senator Collings - No one suggested anything so silly.

Senator HARDY - The defence policy of the Labour party provides that no man shall be called upon to serve outside the territorial limits of Australia. It may be that, under a Labour government, a piece of elastic would be attached to the end of each bomber to ensure that it did not. go beyond the three-mile limit. This and other questions the Leader of the Opposition did not answer.

Senator Sir George Pearce - A warship can throw shells a distance of eighteen miles..

Senator HARDY - The Leader of the Opposition talked of many things - of the unification of the railway gauges, of unemployment, of vocational training of youths - but in regard to the main subject covered by the report, he spoke only in general terms. I say emphatically that the report of the Imperial Conference is one of the most significant documents that has ever been tabled in the Senate. Although it is of such importance as to demand the 'most, earnest consideration of every honorable senator, its chief points - those which relate to major matters such as the peace of the world - were avoidedby the Leader of the Opposition this afternon. The report, at least, points to the path which Australia should tread in its pursuit of a sound policy of national defence. I believe that when the people have studied it, they will see that the proposals of the Government go a long way towards removing that sense of insecurity which now exists.

The report also answered effectively the criticism which has been levelled against overseas visits by Ministers. I was interested to observe that this subject was not mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition to-day. Obviously, he acted under instructions from the caucus. In effect, members of the Labour party have been told : " This report is dangerous ; be careful how you handle it, for it may be used against the Labour party. Talk broadly, and do not provide any political munitions to be used against you."

Senator Collings - As a member of the caucus, I can say that that statement is untrue.

Senator HARDY - On other occasions the Leader ofthe Opposition has condemned the Government for sending Ministers overseas, but no mention of that subject was made to-day. The caucus has directed that such subjects shall be retained for mention on the hustings. .

Another hardy annual was absent from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition to-day, for he made no reference to the domination of Downing-street. Acting under instructions from the caucus, the honorable gentleman has remained silent on this and a number of other subjects.

Senator Collings - The honorable senator's statement is untrue.

Senator HARDY - I have here a booklet which may be of great interest to honorable senators generally. Its blue cover is probably well known to the Leader of the Opposition and the members of his party. It is called Labour's Challenge ; why Australia should vote out the Lyons Government. The booklet is issued " on behalf of the Labour party, by John Curtin, Parliament House, Canberra, 20th. July, 1937."

Senator Grant - It contains a few mistakes.

Senator HARDY - After the booklet had been issued, a few mistakes were found in it, and desperate efforts were made to recall the copies distributed. The booklet is now almost as scarce as diamonds. If the Leader of the Opposition believes that it contains good propaganda on behalf of his party, I ask him to supply acopy of it to each honorable senator. I am afraid, however, that, again obeyingthe caucus, the honorable gentleman will pounce upon any copy that he may find lying about, and immediately place it in the strong-rooms of the party at the Trades Hall.

Senator Collings - I accept the suggestion of Senator Hardy, and will see that every honorable senator is supplied with a copy of the booklet. It has not yet been issued, and I do not know how Senator Hardy obtained a copy of it.

Senator HARDY - The Leader of the Opposition has not said when he will give delivery of the booklet.

Senator Collings - The honorable senator has a bad mind.

Senator HARDY - I trust that there will be no delay in making copies of the booklet available to honorable senators; there are plenty of copies here in Canberra.

Senator Sir George Pearce - I suggest that unexpurgated copies be supplied.

Senator Collings - Unexpurgated copies will be supplied to honorable senators.

Senator HARDY - On page 103 of the booklet there is a cheap sneer at ministerial globe-trotting. I had hoped that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) would deal with that subject in his speech, but, obviously, he decided to act with considerable restraint for ho did not mention it. On this subject the booklet states -

In fa-ct the most worn plank of the Lyons Government's platform is the gangway of an overseas steamer.

The .booklet sets out to try to convince the electors that the Lyons Government has been extravagant in regard to ministerial trips overseas which have had practically no results.

On the subject of the Imperial Conference, the Leader of the Opposition, in his speech on the Address-in-Reply, said -

The Prime Minister and two other Ministers have been participating in the important deliberations of the Imperial Conference.

I ask honorable senators to note the word u important ". Notwithstanding his use of that word, the honorable gentleman did not discuss the principles underlying world peace contained in the report.

Senator Collings - I quoted them almost by the yard.

Senator HARDY - The honorable senator went on to say -

I understand from intimations given to honorable senators yesterday that the results of those deliberations will be placed before us later. In passing, I shall only say that everybody in this country, with a mentality developed beyond the infantile stage, knows perfectly well that the Imperial Conference has been a "dud".

Senator Collings - I stand by every word of that.

Senator HARDY - To-day the- honorable senator said that it was worse than a " dud ".

Senator Collings - Yes; it is dangerous.

Senator HARDY - I ask honorable senators to take note of that interjection. The honorable gentleman went on to say -

The time occupied in its deliberations has been totally valueless to Australia. That is the only conclusion we can draw, if the information that has percolated to Australia through the syndicated press - in which, by the way. I have very little confidence - and the syndicated wireless, which is controlled by the syndicated press, can be taken as reliable. This information shows that the conference has been a complete and tragic dud.

Senator Dein - Did not the conference achieve anything of importance?

Senator COLLINGS - Yes, but those things could have been achieved without this conference.

In one breath the Leader of the Opposition says that the conference achieved nothing of importance, but almost in his next breath, in answer to an interjection by Senator Dein, he said that the conference did deal with something of importance. That the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber holds views on the subject of overseas trips vastly different from those of the Leader of the Australian Labour party will be made clear by an extract from a speech delivered by the latter in the HoUSe of Representatives, as reported in Hansard, of the 6th December, 1929. Dealing broadly with the international associations of Australia and ministerial visits abroad, the speech of Mr. Curtin showed clearly that that honorable gentleman approved of representatives of Australia visiting other countries and attending conferences. His views are set out in the following report of his speech : -

There is related to the problem of defence, the great problem of international association. In 1924 I went, as a representative of this country, to one of the conventions of the League of Nations, and I concluded that the representation of Australia internationally is about the only contribution that we can effectively make towards a cementing of the antagonisms of the old world. AVe must participate in this movement because it is part of the process of civilization. We should not remain outside it.

Statements such as that do not deter the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber from trying to induce the electors to believe that Ministers have no right to4 take part in international gatherings abroad.

Senator Collings - I did not say anything of the kind.

Senator HARDY - The speech of Mr. Curtin continued -

A knowledge of international difficulties and of what is being proposed internationally to deal with them is essential to the people of Australia and more essential to those who have a definite responsibility imposed upon them. Whether it be the League of Nations', the Disarmament Conference, the Imperial Conference, or any other conference, I feel that we should have associated with our delegation three or four representative men in the sole capacity of research workers, whose duty on their return to Australia would be to engage in effective educational work in accordance with what has been done at the conference. It may be said that that would add to the coat of government:

Sir ArchdaleParkhill Is it worth while?


Yet in this booklet which has been issued under his name, Mr. Curtin, as Leader of the Australian Labour party, has a cheap sneer at the Government representatives who went abroad to attend the Imperial Conference. This is evidence, I submit, of a capacity on the part of the Labour party to prostitute a sincere conviction to political expediency, and I suggest that such an attitude will tell against it when it asks for the confidence of the Australian people at the next election.

I propose now to deal with the important matter of our relations with Downing Street. During the Gwydir byelection campaign the Leader of the Opposition frequently said - and I have no reason to believe that his attitude in the future will differ very greatly from that taken up by him in the past - that this Government is the robot and pawn of Downing Street.

Senator Collings - Have I ever said that?

Senator HARDY - Not in those exact words, but statements to that effect have repeatedly been said by members of the Opposition in this chamber. They have contended that this Government does exactly what Downing Street requests. I shall offer a definite rebuttal of that allegation. Touching on the activities of alleged sinister imperialists Mr. Beasley said on the 1st November, 1935, Hansard, Vol. 147, page 1269 -

On the 11th September, speaking before the League of Nations, the British Foreign

Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, said that Britain stood for the maintenance of the Covenant in its entirety. I stress the word " entirety " to show again that economic sanctions must be followed by military sanctions, with war as the inevitable result.

I do not dispute that statement, but Mr. Beasley added - lt appears to me that this Government is simply an instrument in the hands of Mr. Anthony Eden and Sir Samuel Hoare and is willing to accept unreservedly what the British Foreign Office decided. .

That statement has been supported on the hustings by the Leader of the Opposition. I point out that Mr. Beasley has played a prominent part on behalf of the Labour party in electioneering campaigns throughout the Commonwealth. Up till recently he was the leader of the Lang group in the House of Representatives and, therefore, we must give some weight to his words. His statement that this Government is a pawn and robot, obeying the dictates of Downing Street, has been, supported time and time again by members of the Labour party. That being so, I should like the Leader of the Opposition to consider what exactly was the status of Australia at the Imperial Conference, because if it was represented at that gathering as an autonomous community then there must be something seriously wrong in Mr. Beasley's statement. I refer the Leader of the Opposition to the resolution passed at the Imperial Conference of 1926 which clearly defined beyond all doubt the status of the dominions, and I point out that in the meantime there has been no change of that status. The resolution read -

They are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no -way subordinate one to another in any respect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Will the Leader of the Opposition agree that that is so?'

Senator Collings - What is wrong with it ?

Senator HARDY - In 1931 Mr. Scullin, as the then Prime Minister of Australia, attended an Imperial Conference, and in 1936 the representatives of this Government attended another meeting of the Imperial 'Conference, but. on the latter occasion the Labour party did not hesitate to try to make political capital out of this Government's representation by saying that the status of Australia at the Imperial Conference had been changed.

Senator Collings - I did not say that.

Senator HARDY - The honorable senator himself may not 'have said that, but statements have repeatedly been made by members of the Labour party that this Government is under the control and domination of Downing Street. Consequently, it is only fitting in a debate of this nature to examine the history of the Imperial Conference in order that honorable senators may realize the real status of the dominions within the Empire. In that w.ay it will be shown that the dominions arc not under what the Leader of the Opposition would call Imperial domination, and, further, it will be realized that the conclusions arrived at by the conference have been simply the conclusions of a collective body representing autonomous communities within the Empire. I seriously doubt the attitude of the Labour party towards the British Empire and, in the past, I have not hesitated to say so. I shall offer substantiation for that charge by referring to statements contained in Mr. Curtin's booklet, and also to statements made by members of the Opposition in the Senate. Itis particularly interesting to note that when Mr. Scullin returned from the Imperial Conference in 1931, he said that he was more convinced than ever of the importance of being represented at such gatherings and thus having opportunities of discussing economic conditions with the heads of other governments in the British Commonwealth. He also stated that experience had- shown that while the work of an Imperial Conference could, not be judged solely on the basis of the tangible results at the time, each Conference gave an added impetus to forces which had been set in motion perhaps many years previously and, in this way, definite and far-reaching changes in the political and economic organization of the British people were brought about.

The accuracy of that statement is not doubted, hut I venture to say that at the next election the Labour party will chal lenge the right of this Government to send representatives to the Imperial Conference. During the Gwydir by-election campaign I listened to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate painting verbal pictures of this Government's representatives going up the gangway, followed by their entourage, and spending abroad the money of the Austraiian taxpayers. In that way he endeavoured to win votes.

Senator Collings - 'And we got them.

Senator HARDY - The honorable senator should be ashamed to admit that he got votes on such a cry. The last Imperial Conference was the first at which this Government was represented since the autonomy of the various dominions has been recognized by statute. I have dealt at length with Australia's position at the Imperial Conference in order to remove any possible doubt in respect of that matter, and in order to forestall any attack by the Labour party in that respect. Furthermore, it is my desire that the purport of this report be fully realized. While we hear the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate expressing agreement with the status of the dominions at the Imperial Conference what do we find in the booklet issued under the authority of Mr. Curtin as Leader of the Australian Labour party? That party characterizes the actions of this Government in its relationship and commitments to Britain and the other dominions as " furtive, secret and sinister ". I ask the Leader of the Opposition whether he thinks that this Government has- been furtive and secret in its imperial associations.

Senator Collings - Does the honorable senator himself think so?

Senator HARDY - No. I should like a direct reply from the Leader of the Opposition on that point because whilst he agrees with the principles which I have mentioned, this booklet, which has been issued under the authority of the party, characterizes this Government's imperial relationships as " furtive, secret and sinister ". That being so the time is ripe for us to examine the attitude of the Labour party to the Imperial connexion in order to find out whether it is furtive, or secret, and whether that party possesses that loyalty toward the Empire 'which, so recently, it seems to have discovered. I say unhesitatingly that the attitude of the Labour party towards the Empire is selffish, self-centred and vacillating, and reeks of a spirit foreign to that which actuates the British Commonwealth of Nations. I shall voice that charge from every platform from which I speak. My contention is supported not only by the statements of Senator Collings, but also by- those of many members of his party in the House of Representatives. Speaking on this matter in the other chamber on the 24th June, 1937, Hansard, page 413 - and this statement is particularly interesting in view of Senator Collings' expressions of loyalty and his show of righteous indignation when that loyalty was impugned - Mr. Ward said - lt cannot be denied by any observant student that foreign imperialistic powers - and among the number I include Great Britain - are preparing for war.

What did the Labour party do about that statement Did it reprimand Mri Ward, or investigate his statement in any way? Did it issue any statement repudiating the classification of Great Britain as a foreign imperialistic power? No; the Labour party simply accepted it. I submit that statement as evidence of its attitude to-day towards our imperial relationship, Mr. Ward continued-

The honorable member for Henty asked what the Labour party had to say about Empire. He_e is what I, as a Labour man, have to say about it: The British imperialists who have invested their money in different parts of the' world have done so, not to benefit the native races, but to exploit them. If the British imperialists wish to protect their interests, they can themselves.

That is the statement of an accredited member of the Labour party; Again, we find Mr. Curtin, in the booklet to which I have referred, referring to defence as follows : -

This does not mean in any way that the Labour party disregards its obligations as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

If the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate agrees with that statement, I still want to know why he tolerates- Mr. Ward as a member of the Labour party.

Senator Collings - Do not put the onus on me.

Senator HARDY - Speaking on the 8th November, 1935, as reported in

Hansard,Volume 148, page 1434, the honorable senator himself said -

The Labour party says definitely and unequivocally that when the mad dogs of Europe are barking "Empire" there is no occasion for Australia to enter the kennel.

Does that mean that the honorable senator, in no circumstances, would permit an Australian soldier to leave our shores, not even for the purpose of going to the succor of some other community cif the British Commonwealth of Nations? In order that there may be no doubt about where the Labour party stands on defence, I invite attention to a statement made by Mr. Beasley, the Leader of the New South Wales Labour group in this Parliament. He declared that Labour's defence policy was complete isolation. How is it possible to reconcile Mr. Beasley's statement with the view expressed yesterday in the House of Representatives by Mr. Curtin,, the Leader of the Labour party, that Labour was prepared to stand up to its 'obligations as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations?

Senator Collings - Does not the honorable senator think it is about time he made some reference to Mr. Lang?

Senator HARDY - That may come, if the occasion warrants it. It is apparent from recent statements by Labour leaders on defence, that a good deal of confusion exists in the party, and it is refreshing to find much more definite pronouncements by Labour leaders in other portions of the British Commonwealth of Nations. One I have in mind is a statement made recently by Mr. Savage, the Leader of .the Labour Government in New Zealand. He declared in no uncertain /manner that -

If the British Commonwealth of Nations were to live they must work together, and New Zealand could not separate from the Commonwealth any more than the Commonwealth could separate from the rest of the world.

Does the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber challenge the implications conrained in that statement? Yet leaders of the Australian Labour party, speaking with their tongues in their cheeks, continue to make varying pronouncements on defence, and completely disregarding their obligations to the British Commonwealth of Nations by, in at least one instance, as I have shown, advocating a policy of isolation.

Senator Brown - The honorable senator knows that such a statement is wrong.

Senator Collings - Our policy is to spend money on defence in the best possible way.

Senator HARDY - The Leader of the Opposition has not yet answered the query which I put to him during his speech earlier this afternoon, namely, whether it is the intention of the Labour party, if successful at the polls - a most unlikely event, I suggest - to reduce defence expenditure?

There has been some talk about the relative value of the three defence arms - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force - and we are not quite sure whether or not the Labour party, if returned to power, would be willing to sell the Navy to Japan for scrap iron. I put to the Leader of the Opposition a definite question - Is the Labour party prepared to spend on defence an amount equal to that proposed by this Government? I have no doubt that the answer, if it were forthcoming, would be in the negative.

Senator Brown - Does the honorable senator suggest that Labour's policy would be to sell the Navy to Japan?

Senator HARDY - From all that I have heard it would be perilously near to that.

Senator Brown - That is absolute " rot ". The honorable senator is spreading lies about Labour's defence policy.

Senator HARDY - The Leader of the Opposition this afternoon omitted to say anything about the eight-point declaration of the Imperial Conference, defining international relationships. To me it is extraordinary that the honorable senator, who has always advocated world peace, should have overlooked the importance of those point3, because the Imperial Conference emphasized their value in contributing to peace among the nations.

The Government has reached the conclusion that the first line of security against invasion is an efficient" naval force with an adequate air force supplementing and co-operating. If an enemy attempts aggression, and must be resisted, says the report, it is far preferable to fight him away from our shores, than when he is peeking to land on our coasts or has actually established himself on our territory. Has the Leader of the Opposition any objection to that statement of defence policy? Does he think it preferable to fight an enemy within the three-mile limit or when he is attempting to land on our shores, instead of resisting him away from our shores? Naval strength as the first line of security is one of the principles that emanated from the Imperial Conference. Apparently this sound fundamental principle is not approved by the Labour party. I say deliberately that the inescapable conclusion from a careful perusal of statements made by its leaders is that, if the Labour party had its way with regard to defence, the Navy would be doomed.

Senator Brown - Not at all. That is merely a bogy in the honorable senator's mind.

Senator HARDY - I find endorsement for it in the repeated statements By Mr. Curtin, the Leader of the Labour party in the House of Representatives. The honorable gentleman recently wrote a number of articles on defence for the Melbourne Herald, so there can be no doubt as to where he stands. On the 29th July he stated in one article -

No political party can justify inordinate naval expenditure to the detriment of other means of defence.

Senator Collings -What is wrong with that? It expresses his opinion.

Senator HARDY - There may be nothing wrong with that part of the statement, but there is certainly something wrong with this -

The present naval expenditure should be reviewed to see what can be diverted to complementary methods of defence.

Senator Collings - Nor is there anything wrong with that. It seems to me to be a statesmanlike utterance.

Senator HARDY - Mr. Curtin could have declared that the Labour party would spend as much on the Navy as the Government proposes to spend, but evidently that was a declaration which he wished to avoid making. He went on to sta te - lt is foolish to say that Australia can sustain a sea-going navy adequate to her needs. Even if Australia could do so, she has not the power to retain it when Britain needs it.

If the Leader of the Opposition can prove to me that the Australian Navy is under the definite control of Great Britain, when Australia needs it, I will concede that there is something to be said for his view, but I know he cannot do that. Mr. Curtin stated further -

Therefore Australia's expenditure on defences which are within her ability to sustain should be on those forms over which she can exercise full control - defences which it can bc reasonably assumed will be in Australia when Australia needs them.

Senator Collings - Where does the honorable senator think that the Australian Navy should be when it is needed ? A thousand miles away?

Senator HARDY - It should be where it was in 1914-1918 - where it was most needed. That was not in Australia.

Senator Dein - The Australian Navy, in time of war, should be where it can render the most effective service to the nation.

Senator HARDY - In a speech in the House of Representatives on the 5th November, 1936, Mr. Curtin made this interesting statement -

An Australian navy would, by itself, be an absolutely futile force in Australian waters, because it would obviously be the inferior naval force if an attack were made upon us.

Senator Collings - So it would be, by itself.

Senator HARDY - Has the Leader of the Opposition forgotten the exploits of the German raiders Emden and Wolfe during the war years ? And does he agree with Mr. Curtin that the Australian Navy would be an " absolutely futile force ?"

Senator Collings - Without support and in the face of a superior naval force, yes.

Senator Brown - The honorable senator knows very well that when ┬╗he made that statement, Mr. Curtin had in mind a major naval war in the Pacific.

Senator HARDY - Mr. Curtin in his newspaper article stated further -

The question of Austraiian defence boils down to how many aerial fighters, bombers and carriers are adequate for Australia's needs and within her means to sustain. Until that is decided Australia has no effective preparedness.

If that were a really true statement of Australia's defence problem, there might be no further need to debate the issue.

But it is not the last word. An illuminating editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, of the18th August, puts a number of important questions to the Australian Labour party. I quote the following extracts: -

Where does labour stand ? Less than a year ago its leader declared for local defence, supplementing " a really effective system of Imperial defence," with the Australian Navy playing a useful part. Now Mr. Curtin is sceptical to the point of scornfulnees about the value of the Navy;he is all for a big air force.

As for co-operation, "the Labour party's policy is against participation in foreign wars, and for the reservation of all Australia's strength for the defence of the land in which we live." This is a frank disavowal of the belief, generally accepted in Australia, that the British Navy, with the Royal Australian Navy as an auxiliary, is thesheet anchor of our safety. In time of war we are to shut ourselves up or beshut up, within our borders, and prepare to resist invaders, inviting them in fact, in the absence of a navy, to approach our very shores.

Mr. Curtinwould have difficulty in finding professional support for his argument that we can get defence on the cheap by virtually scrapping the Navy in favour of " a five-fold aerial fleet ". Mr. Curtin is not a military technician. While giving him full credit for sincerity of purpose, we are obliged to seek reasons for his excessive devotion to the air ann. Has the fact that the Navy could be used outside Australian waters, whereas the air Bquadrons would, of their own nature, be confined to internal defence, anything to do with it? Mr. Curtin's own explanation of his policy suggests this inquiry.

Mr. Curtinhas completely somersaulted in respect of aerial defence. As recently as November, 1936, he said -

In any case, any attempt to defend this country by aircraft alone would possibly necessitate, as I have said, the creation of an air force of such a size as to be beyond the capacity of this country to maintain.

It is therefore only reasonable to assume that Mr. Curtin was quite satisfied at that time that it was not within the bounds of our financial capacity to maintain this aerial force which he contemplated. Writing in the Melbourne Herald six months later, Mr. Curtin said -

The strength of Australian defence must lie in aviation. . . . The Labour party stands for a five-fold aerial fleet with refueling and repair aerodromes in all parts of Australia.It stands for an aerial fleet that can go across the continent and render public service in peace as well as in war.

In that statement no mention of the financial capacity of Australia to maintain such an air force is made.

Senator Sir George Pearce - What is meant by a five-fold aerial fleet?

Senator HARDY - I have not been able to discover that.

Senator Abbott - One for each State.

Senator HARDY - Yes, with Queensland left out. While the political wing of the Australian Labour party advocates one defence policy, the industrial wing of that organization has drawn up an entirely different plan. In the Melbourne Herald of the 23rd July, the following report appeared -

After a stormy debate, the All Australia Trade Union Congress to-day formulated the following principles to give effect to its policy against war: -

(   1 ) Organize the masses against war ;

(2)   Oppose the rearmament policies of British and the Lyons Government;

(3)   Support a policy of collective security through the League of Nations as may be necessary in the interests of peace; and

(4)   Secure democratic control of the army inside Australia. Included in this principle is Labor's opposition to conscription and Labor camps. This reverses the policy formulated in 1913.

Thus the trade union movement advocated a policy which was a direct negation of that propounded by the political wing of the party. Is it any wonder that we repeatedly ask for a declaration of the precise attitude of the Labour party to defence? Nobody seems to know what it is. Members of the party themselves are unable to give us a definite connected statement.

Senator Dein - Mr. Ward knows.

Senator HARDY - Yes; but Mr. Ward is not prepared, in any circumstances, to reveal his policy lestit might assist an imperialistic power.

The report of the Imperial Conference is a definite and constructive contribution towards world peace. The eight points contained therein are outstanding and if they are adhered to will govern the history of the world for many years. I believe that the principles of defence laid down by the Commonwealth Government are in the best interests of Australia, but if we were so foolish as to adopt the proposals of the Labour party, colourless as they are, nothing but disaster could overtake us.

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