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Comment of the Victorian Labor Council declaration of support for North Vietnam



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FOR PRESS

COMMENT BY MR NIGEL BOWEN, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE

VICTORIAN LABOR COUNCIL DECLARATION OF SUPPORT FOR NORTH VIETNAM

The Australian people should surely be alarmed at this

latest treachery by the Left Wing of the Labor Party» The Left,

it must be remembered, is the dominant force on ALP defence and

Foreign Affairs matters»

It was the Left Wing that dominated the last Labor

Federal conference in Launceston, It was they who sought the

complete negation of the ANZUS Treaty, It was their pressure

that produced the policy of eliminating all military content

from ANZUS, It was the Left which almost succeeded in

dismantling the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation,

Last week we heard a disgraceful Parliamentary speech

by Dr Jim Cairns when he said that the North Vietnamese were

justified in taking military action in South Vietnam, He

described it as "self-defence"» Not one Labor member objected.

He had already been reported as calling for an end

to the US alliance. Again, no Labor member objected,

, Now we have another disgraceful spectacle. The

Labor Victorian Council supports the North Vietnamese and has

voted by 111 to 96 to approve a military victory for the North

Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front, It is apparent

that the views of Dr Cairns are widely held by this substantial

section of the Australian Labor Party,

»»,/2

This latest episode of the Left is plain to

everybody. People have every cause to be.uneasy,

Mr Whitlam is clearly worried. He knows the force

that the Left Wing carries. And we have, seen before

today, just how much a hostage to the Left he is,

Mr Whitlam's hasty denial is not good enough,

These people speak for the Labor Party, They., are the

Victorian Labor Council and they represent a formidable

section of the Labor Party, They won't be silenced now

and they would be a decisive force in any Labor

Government,

CANBERRA

17 April 1972