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Thursday, 16 November 1939

That representative body of public opinion in Western Australia is not distinctively Labour. This is what it says -

It is not enough simply to fight against the wrongs which have been inflicted upon roland. Wo must prepare for a peace founded upon just dealings in the social and economic life of all peoples. 1 said that a few moments ago. It continues -

Our supreme objective must be to establish a peace which will bc approved everywhere, even by the vanquished. Such a peace will place world welfare before national advantage. It can only be built on principles of honesty, unselfishness, and brotherhood.

I repeat that the peace that is won must have the support of the vanquished. It represents the lesson wo learned from the failure which occurred during the last war and immediately after to formulate a satisfactory peace. Professor Bailey, of the Melbourne University, in discussing the present war with Mr. W. McMahon Ball, as reported in a booklet issued by the Victorian branch of the League of Nations Union, said -

T disagree with the view that it is altogether too early to think of the terms of peace, though we have all felt some kind of sinking in the pit of the stomach when we start doing so, and I fully appreciate the realism which lies behind such a view. But I believe that it Ls entirely wrong to leave it until the war is over or nearly over before one starts thinking about the terms of peace. That was a mistake of the last war, for while it. is true that there was some very straight thinking done in the United States nuri the United Kingdom about the sort of order that was to bc provided, it came too late to influence the atmosphere and the minds which dictated the settlement at Versailles.

I have only to make it clear that this party is determined that the present war must be won; it would be absurd to be in a war and to contribute towards its defeat. We support the declarations, as we have construed them, which the Prime Minister has put forward, that the aim of this country and of the British Commonwealth, is not to acquire additional territory or to interfere with the rights and political aspirations of other countries. 'But we ask that the parties to this dispute should agree to some means whereby it will be possible for some satisfactory decision to be reached even by negotiation - a term used by the Minister for External Affairs this afternoon. Obviously the only alterna tive would be the complete victory of one of the belligerents over the other, but before that point could be reached, some negotiations must take place. I appreciate as much as any one else the form of the British Prime Minister's reply to the King of the Belgians, and I subscribe to the view that has been put forward that there has to be associated with overtures for peace an exhibition of genuineness on the part of those who will participate in the discussion. It must be quite apparent, to the British-speaking community at any rate, after what occurred at Munich, that all must ask for more substantial guarantees and a closer adherence to pacts than marked the signing of the Munich agreement. I trust that at this early stage an atmosphere will be achieved in which suggestions of peace discussions will not be misconstrued as being synonymous with a spirit of defeatism. To make that clear at this early stage, should be a notable contribution towards a saner solution of the problem of international relations than marked the termination of the last war or the events which followed it.

In the Prime Minister's speech, there was an outline of the general activities of this Government. I direct attention to the fact that there were two notable points, as the right honorable gentleman described them, marking decisions of the Government in the interim between the adjournment of Parliament in September and its re-assembling this week. They are, the introduction by the Government of compulsory military training, and its decision in respect of an expeditionary air force for overseas.

I know, of course, that the 2nd Australian Imperial Force has been recruited as a special force in which enlistment is on the basis of service at home or abroad. The Government has made it plain that it is committed to the Empire air scheme, the head-quarters of which are to be in Canada. The Prime Minister gave us to understand - his remarks were supplemented by the Minister for External Affairs - that, while there is a hope in the peace discussion background to this unusual war, there is no finality in the alinement of the powers or in the dis- position of neutrals which can be regarded as wholly satisfactory; there are possibilities in the situation which are not yet quite clear. I remind the House that there is inherent in these circumstances the possibility, and perhaps the probability, of some of the neutral countries, particularly in Europe, being involved, not as a result of any willingness on their part, but solely owing to the fact that they may be invaded because of the strategic necessities of the situation. During the last war Belgium was in such a position, and quite recently there has been a suggestion that Holland may be in a similar predicament. Let 'us contemplate what the situation would be should Holland bc brought into the vortex. We have not far from our shores a. very important dependency of Holland,' which I need not describe other than to say that it is rich in some of the most essential raw materials which modern industry requires.

Mr Lazzarini - Particularly in wartime.

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