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Monday, 16 November 1964

Senator BRANSON - If it was said in time of war T would consider it treason. I think that Mr. Calwell's statement must have been a very great comfort to the people whom we consider to be our enemies.

Senator Hannan - It made headlines in Peking.

Of course, other countries would derive even greater comfort if they knew what we have to defend our coastline. Senator Branson referred to Dr. Evatt and the policy speech he delivered in 1955 on behalf of tha A.L.P. Senator Branson said that Dr. Evatt stated then-

Labour would not require the huge annual expenditure at present appropriated for defence.

Senator Bransonalso quoted Mr. Calwell as having said in a radio broadcast in Melbourne on 24th November 1957 -

It would have been far better if some of the defence grant had been spent on universities and secondary and technical schools . . .

Obviously we would have followed a proper course and conscription would not have been necessary today if Mr. Calwell's policies then had been put into operation. According to Senator Branson, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) was sufficiently treacherous to have said - and this statement was reported in Senator Branson's speech -

This Government should reduce its expenditure on armaments and use the money it is now wasting on expenditure for war to work for peace. It should devote the money to peaceful uses, such as the Colombo Plan.

Then Senator Branson, quoting Mr. Uren further said that this was the important point -

It should disarm and contribute to the work of the United Nations.

Then the " Hansard " report continues -

Senator Morris - Who said that?

Senator BRANSON - Mr. Uren said it in the other House on 11th October 1960.

Senator Hannan - Was he serious?

According to Senator Branson, here was another crime: We have in the Australian Labour Party somebody who said in 1960 that we should have been spending more on the Colombo Plan than we were spending on defence at that time. Senator Branson then referred to statements by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) who had said in the debate in another place -

All we need to have at our disposal is something in the nature of a police force to meet that form of attack pending the arrival of assistance from the United Nations.

Then the honorable member for Yarra - the notorious Dr. Cairns - was quoted by Senator Branson as having said -

My point is that we should prepare ourselves to supply troops to the United Nations and that is the only justification that Australia has for supplying any troops anywhere at any time.

The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) was quoted as having said -

Honorable members opposite are the scaremongers. We are not the ones who say we must defend ourselves against the surging hordes from the north.

Then we find that the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) had the cheek and audacity to quote a subversive publication to say -

Great statesmen throughout the world, and great Australians are clamouring for world peace on a permanent basis. Yet we find this Government . . .

And then Senator Branson said -

This frightful Government, which does nothing about defence -

And Senator Branson then completed the quotation of Mr. James -

.   . providing £204 million for defence expenditure in the year 1961-62.

The honorable member for Hunter was asked: "Would you cut it?" and Senator Branson quoted the honorable member for Hunter as having said -

Yes, I would cut it . . . This Government proposes to spend £204 million this year on weapons of war, although the Tenth Commandment is: "Thou Shalt Not Kill".

Apparently, in the opinion of Senator Branson, a man is not worthy of our respect if he quotes the Tenth Commandment in relation to expenditure for war. Senator Branson referred to Mr. Haylen whom he described as " the fellow who has aspirations to join us ". The fact is that Mr. Haylen will join us next July if for no other reason than that he will be assisted by the feeling in the country against the Government's defence policy. Senator Branson quoted Mr. Haylen as having said -

The Australian Labour Party is a parly of the people. We who belong to that Party believe that S.E.A.T.O. is useless.

I have only one other quotation to give to show the accusations that are made against members of the A.L.P. I will not read it because I think I have already dealt with it. There is a reference to a group of Labour politicians who, Senator Branson says, cannot be trusted because they want peace, because they want to spend money on universities and because they want to spend money under the Colombo Plan. Let us examine whether this approach is treacherous. For as far back as we can trace our history, groups of warriors have been going from one battlefield to another, beating their tom toms and rallying forces for the purposes of war and destruction. At first, battles were fought for the possession of hunting grounds, and later, for profits - which amount to the same thing. From the earliest days, men have been prepared to kill and to die rallying round a chief or a flag. That position has not altered now.

We must ask ourselves: What is it that excites men to such a stage that they are prepared to kill? It is my opinion that the taking over of hunting grounds or the prospect of profit is not sufficient to attract the mass of the people. They can, however, be roused by cultivating a national pride. There is no other factor more likely to force men into conflict than national pride. So we get the position that Christians will fight Christians, Moslems will fight Moslems, Hindus will fight Hindus, Catholics will kill Catholics, Protestants will kill Protestants, and members of the Labour Party and the Liberal Party in one country will kill members of those parties in another country. Those ideologies do not prevent war. We have developed and we play upon the idea of national superiority, and this forces us to fight against inferior beings, who, because of propaganda, we believe to have forfeited any right to live. Civilisation has not altered in this respect. With the development of more powerful armaments and with a perverted science, we can more easily kill the women and children of nations which we consider to be inferior. They have the same love and affection for their families as have Australian, British and American people, but we say they have forfeited their right to live because of some action on their part - not because they are Germans, Japanese or people of some other race. We have invented terms to make us believe that peoples of other nations are inferior to us. We refer to them as Huns, Dagoes and Communists, and by other names.

India and Pakistan are fighting to see who will control the area of Kashmir. The only thing to be resolved in the dispute is: Will the people of Kashmir complain about their starvation to the Indian Government or to the Pakistani Government. There is no desire on the part of the Governments to end the conflict, because it helps the people forget about their poverty. The people ask themselves: " What are our Governments doing to uphold our dignity and our pride in the Kashmir issue?" We see a similar position in Indonesia at present. The people there forget th at they are living under remarkably bad economic conditions; their main concern is with Indonesia taking over Malaysia. The Indonesian Government tells them: " We are being hemmed in by Malaysia. Indonesians will never stand this ". That policy is used by governments of civilised countries, including Australia. We are told that we are surrounded by and threatened with an invasion by Communists, and that we must defeat them.

Despite the cultivation of this psychological attitude, for at least 2,000 years voices have rung out asking that this wanton destruction be stopped. Almost 2,000 years ago the death of a saviour leader was deemed to be necessary because of utterances which were thought to be subversive. He preached the policy of peace on earth and goodwill to all men. He preached this policy until it had such support that the authorities decided he should be condemned to death. However, other people have carried on his policy. His philosophy has been written in the book from which the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) had the audacity to quote. The honorable member referred to the commandment: " Thou shalt not kill ". The belief has been held through the ages that as orthodox attempts to stop holocausts have failed, we should make another approach to the question. In a chapter of St. Luke we find it related that when the soldiers sought advice as to how they could be cleansed for the purpose of receiving baptism from John the Baptist, he told them: " Do violence to no-one ". Those subversive statements have been handed down to us. These are the statements which were mentioned in another place and which were criticised in this place during the course of the debate.

The inventor of gunpowder had high ideals; he. thought that he was making something so horrible that no-one would engage in war again. We have carried on the belief that we can make something so horrible that people will not engage in war. Gunpowder was used to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives in the two World Wars. We believe that there will not be another war because we now have atomic power, which can destroy more quickly and more completely. What a great policy that is! What a great belief that is! It is used in support of the condemnation of men who have said that they want atomic weapons used for peaceful purposes.

Over the years many people have believed that we should turn the other cheek to our enemies, that we should comfort and support them and that we should not seek to seize their hunting grounds. Out of this has developed the psychology that, if we fail to have an international force, we fail in our ambitions completely. Senator Branson said in his speech that any reasonable person knows that we cannot defend Australia alone against a major enemy. Everyone knows that few countries, if any, could defend themselves against a major enemy if attack came. While we have the limited powers of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation and the A.N.Z.U.S. organisation, this is only the machinery which is necessary in the absence of a world power that we can trust.

In Senator Branson's speech there was condemnation of the United Nations. He asked what we would do while we were waiting for the United Nations to come to our aid. I remind the Senate of the prompt action of the United Nations in Korea; in this debate we have heard nothing about that. It achieved more than the Americans have achieved in Vietnam. If we condemn the organisation which is the hope of the world we are not serving the ideology of peace and the hope of mankind for peace. We have heard members in the other place describe as treacherous and subversive those who dare to quote the Bible and to advocate a peace force. The Menzies Government would have us believe that they threaten the existence of our whole society. We do not know what would come about if eventually we got peace upon the earth. It would deny our boys who are now of military agc the opportunity of recalling the valour that they encountered on the battlefield. Some hope that they will have that opportunity.

While we silence the peace advocates, saying that these subversive activities should not be allowed, while we refuse to permit visas to those who would dare to come to Australia for the purpose of discussing peace, let us at least not condemn those who think that there may be some solution of the whole problem if we were advocating peace instead of boasting of" our defences. While some are condemning them, let us remember the words of the poet -

Let us tell with such high zest children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

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