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Thursday, 24 September 1936


Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I join with other honorable senators in commending Senator Abbott for having submitted the motion. Every one who, in this distracted world, when the nations seems to be advancing slowly or rapidly as the case may be to war without any one being able to say that any particular man or country is to blame, raises his voice to plead for peace does good ser- vice to civilization. With the underlying motive of the motion we have no quarrel whatever. Probably most of us will agree with the motion as it stands. We concede that a common language would be a tie amongst the nations but, as was pointed out by the Leader of the Senate to-night and by Senator Foll a week ago, that tie is not strong enough to prevent conflict. It did not, for instance, prevent the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, or the war of independence in the United States of America, about the same time, nor did it prevent the American civil war in the last century or the present conflict in Spain, which comes at a time most inopportune for any one who has to maintain the proposition that a common language is a definite safeguard against war.

Even if it were true that a common language would make for peace, does it follow that what the Leader of the Senate describedas a synthetic language would necessarily be an agency for accord among the nations ? We speak of " our mother tongue ". In itself that is a term of endearment. But will any person affirm with enthusiasm that a synthetic language which, as Senator Leckie has said, may be useful for the purpose of commerce, would be a useful agency for cultivating say, blood warmth between the peoples speaking it?

The attainment of universal peace is an ideal. It was looked forward to in the middle of last century by Tennyson who spoke of the day when - the war drums throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were furled

Inthe Parliament of man, the federation of the world.

That is the view of the idealist. But the means by which universal peace is to be established come into the realm of reality. One may sympathize with the ideal of universal peace, whilst being sceptical concerning the means suggested for attaining it. Thus, with other honorable senators I commend Senator Abbott for submitting his motion, but I deprecate the attack which he made upon the Leader of the Senate to-night. I think the honorable senator will concede that my Leader is as anxious as he is for universal peace.


Senator Abbott - I never questioned the right honorable gentleman's sincere desire for peace.


Senator BRENNAN - Then the only question at issue is the procedure to be adopted to implement the motion. I agree with the views expressed by my Leader as to the constitutional position. If the motion is adopted in its present form it will be sent to His Majesty the King and, in my. opinion, it will be returned to the Commonwealth Government for advice. I invite the attention of the mover to the second paragraph, which reads -

For this purpose this Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia urges that the nations be invited by His Most Gracious Majesty the King to send their representatives to a world convention.

It will be noted that the motion is silent as to the manner in which this matter is to be brought before His Majesty. It asks that the nations be invited by His Majesty to take certain action. It does not indicate who shall adviseHis Majesty to do this.


Senator Abbott - I indicated that in my speech.


Senator BRENNAN - But the motion itself does not deal with the procedure. It merely asks that the resolution be conveyed to His Majesty. If it is forwarded from the Governor-General as a resolution he will be asked to seek the opinion of his advisers on the subject.


Senator Abbott - That is not in accordance with the practice outlined in Keith.


Senator BRENNAN - The honorable Senator quoted from a volume on the relations between the Mother Country and the dominions which is completely out of date. Those relations were entirely altered at the Imperial Conference in 1928 and the following war. On matters of dominions policy the King is guided entirely by his Dominions advisers.


Senator Abbott - On matters of dominions policy !


Senator BRENNAN - I remind the honorable senator that this is not a subject over which we should become excited. We should not, as Samuel Lover said, "fight like devils for conciliation." If a resolution is forwarded by the Governor-General to His Majesty it must be returned to His Excellency's advisers in Australia, and their advice sought. His Majesty would not take any action until he had received advice through, the Governor-General. I agree with the Leader of the Senate that it would be embarrassing if the resolution were passed in its present form, and the Senate would be wise to accept the amendment proposed by Senator Allan MacDonald. That would prevent us when discussing universal peace from exhibiting discord amongst ourselves.


Senator Abbott - The Assistant Minister's suggestion is that the motion should be amended so that it will be in a form which the Government said earlier it could not support.


Senator BRENNAN - Not the Government.


Senator Abbott - It has taken the Government fifteen months to make even the proposal that it has suggested tonight.


Senator BRENNAN - I trust that Senator Abbott will accept the amendment suggested by Senator Allan MacDonald, which seems a via media that we should adopt.







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