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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1145


Senator McMANUS - Does the Minister representing the -Minister for Foreign Affairs agree that election motivated protests by Mr Whitlam and other senior Australian Labor Party leaders about the resolution on Vietnam last week by the Victorian Branch of the ALP are entirely illogical? Is not the decision of the Victorian Branch of the ALP endorsing a military victory for North Vietnam merely the logical complement of the propaganda campaign waged by the Australian Labor Party all over Australia in past years - a campaign which can only assist in another way. a Vietcong takeover of South Vietnam?


Senator WRIGHT - The honourable senator has referred to the stand that is taken by the Leader of the Opposition in another place in presenting the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to the Vietnamese campaign. Of course, Mr Whitlam for some purposes seems to be desirous of giving the impression that his sympathies are not with the North Vietnamese; but as we know, his colleague Dr Cairns made a statement last week to the effect that he welcomed the invasion by North Vietnamese forces of South Vietnam. Lest there should be any acceptance of the idea that the statement of Dr Cairns is rejected by Mr Whitlam I inform honourable senators that I have had brought to my notice a television interview with Dr Cairns in which he was questioned about whether Mr Whitlam rejected his statement. Dr

Cairns said: 'Well, Mr Whitlam told me after I sat down that I had just made a very compelling speech indeed.'

Dr Cairnswas asked by the questioner further questions which were designed to ascertain whether his views differed from those of his Leader. He was asked: 'Are you concerned at all that the Americans might take a rather adverse attitude towards it?' He replied: 'I'd be very concerned if they thought we approved of what they're doing'. He went on to point out that he thought that his views were entirely in line with those of his Leader. So, if his Leader does espouse views, as Dr Cairns claims, which are entirely hostile to the United States of America and entirely friendly and encouraging to the North Vietnamese, it is an important matter for this Senate to take notice of and for the country to understand.







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