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Monday, 16 November 1964

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) (1:26 AM) . - I cannot deny, Mr. Deputy President, that the sudden termination of the honorable senator's speech has taken me somewhat by surprise. The paper before the Senate has been outlined by Senator Ridley. It contains the Government's defence proposals. The Opposition has proposed an amendment to the motion that the paper be noted. The Government's proposals to increase the defence forces have been well and truly expounded by my colleagues. I approve of the proposals and believe that upon their implementation unquestionably they will place this country in a stronger position. For some reason, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), said that they would weaken our defences. I cannot follow this argument. I express the hope that the Navy has not seen the virtual end of fixed wing flying and that when the " Melbourne " has been modernised, we may be able to secure from Britain or the United States of America more modern jet fixed wing aircraft to be carried by the "Melbourne" in replacement of the Venom aircraft.

I think it is generally conceded that the augmented' defence measures are, unfortunately, very necessary in the changed world in which we live. The Labour Party alleges that the new defence programme is only an election stunt. To prove this claim in another place it threw into the breach that devastating military critic, the Honorable A. A. Calwell. He made some astonishing statements. Taking one at random, he said that Fisher's Navy, which the Labour Party set up, was stronger than the present Australian Navy. I do not know how silly it is possible to get, but Fisher's Navy comprised one battle cruiser and half a dozen cruisers and destroyers. The honorable gentleman does not seem to realise that one Gannet from the aircraft carrier "Melbourne" - the "Melbourne" carries three squadrons of Gannets - can carry more explosive fire power than one of Mr.

Fisher's cruisers. I could range through a number of Mr. Calwell's foolish errors, but I do not propose to do so because not only would' it be fruitless, but also it would be extremely tedious. Times have changed and the honorable gentleman should not make such absurd comparisons. In the same speech Mr. Calwell said that if we were attacked there would be no question that Labour would fight. I do not know with what. Does he expect an enemy to give him due notice of his intentions? Presumably Mr. Calwell will wait until the parachutists are dropping.

Mr Deputy President,I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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