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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr WARD (East Sydney) (1:54 AM) .In view of the gravity of the international situation, the Parliament should meet again before Thursday next. A great deal could happen between now and then. I can see no reason why the Parliament should not meet again early next week. In any case, the Government is not bound to call the Parliament together even on Thursday next.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - Would the honorable member like it to meet on Monday?

Mr WARD - Monday would be much better than Thursday. If the position is as grave as the Government has indicated, the Parliament should meet much earlier than Thursday next.

My main purpose in rising to address the House at this hour is to put on record a most important decision with respect to the present international situation that has been arrived at by a number of religious orders. This decision whole-heartedly supports the attitude adopted by the Labour Opposition in this Parliament and in the United Kingdom Parliament. The decision which they have made is expressed in the following words: -

We appeal to the Australian Government and Parliament to urge forthwith the Governments of the United Kingdom and France to bring the hostilities commenced on Egyptian territory immediately to an end and to allow the whole Suez Canal situation to be dealt with by the United Nations.

This is in accord with the Labour Opposition's decision. The gentlemen who made that statement on behalf of their various churches are as follows: - Bishop E. H. Burgmann, Church of England; Reverend Hector Harrison, Presbyterian; Reverend Dr. George Wheen, Methodist; Reverend Alan Farr, Congregational; Reverend F. P. McMaster, Baptist; Reverend Dr. J. J. Stolz, United Evangelical Lutheran; and Reverend G. R. Stirling, Church of Christ.

Honorable members can see that that is quite an imposing array of important gentlemen who support the Labour Opposition's view.I hope that in view of what these gentlemen have had to say, the Government will reconsider its attitude to the whole situation, and recognize that the Labour Opposition has adopted the correct line, which is meeting with the approval of the community. I hope that the Government will amend its attitude to conform with public opinion in Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 1.56 a.m. (Friday).

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