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Thursday, 4 April 1957

Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) .- 1 am glad that the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce), the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) and certain other honorable members are in the House, because I am going to reply to their oftrepeated question, " What did the Labour party do about Hungary? " The honorable member for Capricornia appears to have been appointed as the deputy screamer in the night because the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) is resting his larynx. If the honorable member is seriously concerned about the tenor of this debate, he should listen to what I have to say about Hungary and refrain from repeating political slogans. Conditions are so dangerous that a debate of this kind should be lifted above the party political level. Sometimes, of course, I transgress in that regard as much as do other honorable members, but that is only because of my peculiar Celtic deficiencies in logical debate. I think that admission is abject enough to satisfy even the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Wheeler). I should like to say, in regard to the Hungarian situation, that the

Australian Labour party has been most unfairly treated on all counts by both the newspapers and the government of the day. As long ago as 16th November, 1956, a declaration was made by the executive of the party in New South Wales, and afterwards repeated in just as aggressively strong terms by the federal section of the party, in regard to the Hungarian situation, which was violently active at that time. The central executive of the party in New South Wales said -

The Central Executive of the New South Wales Branch of the Labour party condemns as inhuman the Soviet attack on Hungary and calls upon the United Nations organization to do everything possible to end the mass deportation of Hungarian workers to Soviet prison camps. Labour denounces the Australian Communist party for its support of the Soviet Onion's attack on Hungary and joins with the democratic socialists throughout the world in declaring its abhorrence of this attack. The Executive repudiates the fraudulent and impossible charges by Communist propagandists in Australia that armed intervention by Britain and France in Egypt in any way paralleled in intensity or ferocity the Soviet attack on Hungary. The Executive, however, supports the attitude of the Federal Labour party and the British Labour party that armed intervention in Egypt by Great Britain and France has gravely injured and undermined the moral leadership of those two countries in the struggle for peace throughout the world. 1 should like the Government to remember, in all fairness, that this is the declared policy of the Australian Labour party, both in New South Wales and in the federal sphere, on this matter. To enter a debate in which we had to come down to the question, eventually, of the preservation of the human species, and to shout at us, " What are you going to do about Hungary? " is not what we expect from rational people. I think that the statement that I have just read is clarity itself. We are proud of having made it, and we are proud of having made it so early in the chain of events. The only thing that we regret is that due publicity was not given to us. The declaration contains the complete answer to the charges made on the other side of the House in relation to the Labour party's attitude on Hungary.

Now, as to the Minister's speech on foreign affairs. I was delighted to note the new attitude, evinced in it, towards Israel. There is a document in this House, bound and printed and distributed to honorable members, called " Hansard "; and if ever there was a domesday book for the changing thoughts of the Government on foreign affairs it is that document. If you con through its pages you will see where Israel was defamed and denied in the years when it was first being formed. The thought was still that of the existing mind of the British Foreign Office of the day. The then Opposition, which is now in government, sat on this side of the House and had nothing favorable to say about this new modern state of Israel. At least, there was no favorable word amongst its most prominent speakers for this new struggling democracy which was to be created in the Middle East. But now that has changed, miraculously, because the position has been changed by events. It reminds me of the famous, and cynical, statement by Lord Palmerston that no great country has permanent friends, only permanent interests. So the permanent interests have slewed round to the case of Israel, and now the light gleams above Israel, and all its actions are justified. We, on the Labour side of the House, have been the friends of the little democracy of Israel since its inception and indeed, I say to this House, and to the Jews of Australia, that were it not for the leader of the Labour party in this Parliament, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), there would be no Israel to-day. The ad hoc committee created by him, when he was president of the United Nations, and the fight that he put up for Israel, are historical. They cannot be denied, and I think we feel quite firmly that we can talk to our friends in the general interest of peace by saying that the action of Israel in regard to being led under the flail and the scourge of circumstances to commit an error of judgment in partaking of aggression, was wrong. We have the right to say that, because that action does spoil the master plan created for the loyal people throughout the world who believed in the inevitable victory of the United Nations over the Moloch of war.

I was disgusted to hear a normally pleasant, decent and typically gentlemanly supporter of the Government, the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) emulating the Russians in damning the United Nations with faint praise. Why does it not do this? Why does it not do that? He is a simple country man and he must observe the birds and the bees and everything else that completes the circle of life and the cycle of life. Does he not know that there is more slaughter in the world than peace? Does he not know that for every action of peace there are a thousand actions of aggression? Does he not know that there have been wars since the dawn of history? But he expects, in the few short years of its existence, that the United Nations will not make mistakes. What it did wrong there! What it did wrong here! That is a counsel of despair. We have got to bear with that, because the United Nations is the only light burning for civilization in the world to-day.

The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), another splendid gentleman and. I hope, a personal friend of mine, who is blinded by his loyalty and very splendid patriotism, said something derogatory to the United Nations by way of interjection. Well, of course, the United Nations cannot do everything. But it is the guiding line for the future to which we must cling. And the Labour party is determined, come weal or woe, that it will stick solidly to the United Nations in its decisions, because you must have solidarity - a word we understand very thoroughly on this side of the House. I do not use that word in the sense that honorable members opposite who have a superficial knowledge of the dictionary definition understand it. I mean that in the deep solid foundations of life you must have solidarity for an ideal, and we feel that there is an ideal in the United Nations.

The Minister damns the United Nations with faint praise because it did not conform on the question of what obviously was a wrong action by Britain and France. But that does not mean that members of the Opposition are opponents of Britain and France. It only points out that, in the tortuous techniques of international relationships which break through and become aggression, it was utterly wrong of Israel to have precipitated itself into the conflict. It was utterly wrong of Great Britain and France - and we say so - for the scorn of the moment and the richer reward of the future, to do what they did. There are times when you must submerge your nationalism, when you must submerge the song in the blood sometimes and decide which side you will be on for the ultimate future.

The Minister turned to other subjects, particularly the atomic bomb. He sounded a warning to all of us as to which way we are going. Are we going to waste our time talking about the sins of omission and sins of commission of the United Nations, and about which side was right in something that has been concluded? Because the canal is open again, except for some reservations in regard to Israel which will be, and must be, ironed out. The pressure of these people in conferences to-day has more power than all the cannons in the world, because they have reason behind them and, eventually, tin-pot tyrants of the Nasser kind, and others, will all conform to the sober thought of peace as against the anger of war. We know that, as does the Government of the day.

Then we turn to the threat that lies behind all these debates. It is not who was right and who was wrong, but the question of nuclear experiments and the dropping of nuclear bombs, and the radiation and the fall-out - that awful word that has come into the language - and its component parts which are alleged by one side - by a group of professors - to be highly dangerous, and by the other side to be harmless. On which side will we lean in seeking the truth, because on that decision depends the future of the human race - not any section of it, but the whole human race?

When I was leading a parliamentary delegation to Japan I saw the ruins of Hiroshima and I gathered some statistics which I should like, in all humility, to present to honorable members regarding the devastation of the atomic bomb - an experimental bomb, dropped at the wrong time, in the wrong place, a bomb that broke every rule in the book in regard to bombing by a new and horrible weapon of war. But look at the awful achievement in terms of the destruction of human life! The bomb fell at 8.15 a.m. on 6th August, 1945, on a little city which resembles Canberra somewhat, with a perimeter of blue hills and in a saucer-shaped valley, like that in which Canberra stands, except that it is watered by four or five small rivers or streams. Into that natural ,net for an atomic bomb this bomb descended on a bright August morning. The casualties were - dead, 78,150; wounded, 37,425; missing, 13,982; refugees - that is. the homeless - 176,987. A total of 306,444! I took the trouble to try to obtain the census figures of population - a very difficult thing in Japan. But the 1940 census, which was reasonably conducted, showed that there was a population in that area in 1940, five years previously, of 343,968. The point I am making to honorable members is that 306,444 out of 343,968 people were killed, wounded, became refugees, or later became victims of atomic radiation. The nuclear bomb to-day, of course, is one thousand times more deadly, and the real point is that by carrying on experiments that we are not sure about, war is actually being waged against the total human population.

It is all very well for professors in the misty isles of Europe to say that there is absolutely no danger of radiation from this bomb; that opinions to the contrary are a lot of poppy-cock, immature nonsense, and probably Communist-inspired; but that to make sure, they will not explode a bomb in their own European countryside. So, it is taken into the Pacific. I would rather accept the evidence of people who suffered from the bomb. The Japanese accuse us of one thing. Not of winning the war, because they are a valiant race in many ways, and with the turn of the wheel of fortune they have accepted their conquest. But they do not accept our dropping of the new horror upon them. They say it was because they were not white men, but one of the inferior races of the world; one of the lesser breeds within the law; and so it was not so harmful to try it out on them as it would have been to try it out on the Germans, Italians or other enemies of that day.

So we come to the views of the Japanese on atomic radiation. They are the witnesses, the cloud of witness against the world, because the bomb has been dropped upon them twice. The first was at Hiroshima and the other at Nagasaki, and by a queer and cynical coincidence, all it did in the main was destroy all the Christian institutions and the work of Francis Xavier, the sainted missionary who came to that country very very many years ago. It made nonsense of the spiritual talk that we were giving to Tokyo and of the democracy that had taken possession of the land of Shinto and the idol. So to-day the Japanese are witnesses against the atomic bomb because they are experienced. They live in fear. If you read their newspapers, socialist and conservative alike, you find that every branch of the printing and publishing industry in Japan stands in terror. It talks of Christmas Island as if it was next door because it knows what the winds and the tracks of Heaven can do.

I was talking yesterday to one of the men who have ridden the uncharted spaces of the sky, Sir Gordon Taylor, better known, perhaps as P. G. Taylor, famous as a member of the crew of the " Southern Cross ". He told me that when we exploded the atom bomb at Monte Bello, although the wind was away from Australia, that was only about 10 miles high, and above that was a raging westerly that blew the radiation and the other effects back over the continent. That turbulence can be observed all over the Pacific. No man - and Sir Gordon Taylor is a pilot and a navigator - can swear which way the wind will carry the fall-out from an atomic explosion. We have to be careful, before it is too late, to see that we do not commit ourselves to the great indiscretion, which is the simplest way to describe it. Surely man in his own heart would not perpetrate this horror if he thought it would do the things some sober scientists say it will do!

So any debate on foreign affairs is to-day just footling if it burkes the issue of the atomic bomb, and we have not been able to drop our politics sufficiently in this House to talk about it in an objective and rational way for the sake of the people to come after us. We have not been much of a parliament. We have not displayed much humanity. It does not matter a hoot what the Russian thinks of the bomb. The Russians are only men on two legs. Russian blood can flow and Russian bodies burn. The Russians are no less vulnerable than the French, the Italians and the Turks. So, if this is a threat to the world, if science persists in policies of destruction instead of remedies for the ills of the world we will have to stop the scientist. The only thing we can look to now is the common sense of the people of the world - the ordinary Joe Blow, the ordinary man and his wife in the community, who face this thing with horror. Do we understand what is in their minds when they present us with petitions? Am I to spurn every petition handed to me and say, "Did the local branch of the Communist party tell you that? " I would not dare. I will examine every petition and see if in any way possible I can further its demand for the banning of the bomb throughout the world. I admit that great forces are being organized against it. The Bermuda talks had some significance. The highly glamorized Seato conference, which is merely a special agency of the United Nations, should have a formula based upon peace; but all one can find in the Minister's statements are allocations of strength to beat the Corns. Has not our . philosophy of the world told us that once you fight a man you concede half his case? We fought the Germans and now we cry for them as immigrants. We fought the Italians, and to-day we demand that they come in in their thousands.

Can we not, before things become impossible, get some sort of round-table talk on the question of the atomic bomb? We cannot deal with this matter in hatred. I do not suppose the Russian is any less fearful than we are of all this. There is no matter more important to this House than the question of the banning of atomic tests. We have had them in this country. Some people ascribe the starvation of the Warburton natives - one of the blots on our escutcheon - to atomic fall-out, and any one who has seen the film produced by a former Liberal member of this House, Mr. Grayden, will agree that he has made his case. Why are these natives hungry fugitives in their own lands? Because something has happened. The game has been scared. The experiments have been dangerous. There has been atomic fall-out. I do not think that happened at Maralinga, where it was controlled, but if the world becomes nothing but a conglomeration of bomb-dropping idiots, where are we going? If the world cannot stop at this stage and say, "This is the brink; we are not going over it ", the only thing that can save it is the courage of men in high places; men who represent constituents in this House; men who, whatever their political brand, will show their courage and their desire to do something for the people who sent them here, by getting up and saying, " I, too, join the procession of witness against this murder of the children of the future, this crippling of the bones of children yet unborn, and this potential destruc- tion of all that is great and valuable in the world ". Most honorable members are past middle life. Those things may not be extremely valuable to us any more, but the preservation of all that man has cherished since the dawn of time is threatened by man's own stupidity. We should discuss that matter and nothing else in this debate.

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