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Thursday, 1 April 1965

Senator MATTNER (South Australia) . - During the debate on the paper that was presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) it has been apparent that honorable senators on both sides of the House have been asking themselves these questions: For how long will the people of Australia be permitted to pursue their democratic way of life? For how long will they be able to live in peace in view of the various problems that are facing them?

The whole history of Australia and of its citizens proves that throughout the years we have endeavoured to promote the welfare of our people by sound government and by peaceful intentions. We wish to tell the world - I think it is obvious to all - that we have no territorial ambitions. We seek peace and prosperity not only for ourselves but also for our near neighbours. It is because we have these views and ideals and are prepared to pursuethem that we view with alarm the events that are occurring in South East Asia. The people of South East Asia are our neighbours. They are people with whom we desire to live in peace and to whom we offer the hand of friendship and goodwill. They are the people to whom we gladly and willingly offer our aid and support so that they too may gain increased prosperity, peace and a government founded on democratic principles.

I believe that these people possess in themselves a latent power and that they can and must lift their standards of living. Anyone who has seen the great mass of people and the poverty which exists there must ask himself: What is the cause of this poverty? It is not as a result of anything that Australia has done. Australia can help in some ways but the effort and the reforms, if they are so necessary - I believe that they are necessary - must emanate from the people themselves. This is the crux of the problem now confronting South Vietnam.

The people of South Vietnam are fighting for their very existence. They are defending themselves against attacks and fighting armed aggression which comes from the north - from the Vietcong, the Communists, the Conformists or whatever they may call themselves. This aggression against South Vietnam from the north has gone on for years. In fact, it started in 1954 but it has been stepped up since 1962. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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