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Thursday, 4 April 1957

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- On an important subject such as foreign affairs, one would have expected from the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt), who is the Leader of the House and the deputy leader of the Liberal party, a speech that would have done credit to him and to his office. But all we have listened to for the last twenty minutes has been a farrago of nonsense. It is completely untrue for him to say, as he did, that the Labour party relies on the United Nations alone for the safety and security of Australia. He knows better than that. His colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), who, I am glad to see, is in the House at the moment, and all the rest of the Government supporters burn with what they think is a politically profitable zeal whenever the word " communism " is mentioned. They drag it in at every opportunity. The speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service was notable for that. If it were not for the Communists presumably they would not exist politically at all. Certainly they would not have a policy. The Labour party, in its Hobart declaration, in its Brisbane declaration, and, of course, in its platform, which is available for all to see, states very specifically -

Australia is and must always remain an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations as well as of the United Nations Organization.

From that it will be seen that the Labour "party puts its association with the United Nations after its membership as an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and then it asserts quite properly, too, that co-operation with the United States in the Pacific is of crucial importance and must be maintained and extended. Yet the Minister for Labour and National Service has implied that a pamphlet written by a gentleman living in Canberra who was once the permanent head of the Department of External Affairs and who was sent by this Government as its High Commissioner to Ceylon is to be accepted as the gospel of the Labour party. As far as I am concerned, Dr. John Burton is entitled to express his views on anything, as is everybody else in the community; but what Dr. Burton says is not what I believe, nor is it what other honorable members of the Labour party believe. Mr. Chamberlain, the president of the Australian Labour party, made it quite clear in a statement, only a few days ago, that Dr. Burton is not the spokesman for the Australian Labour party.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - Is your leader's speech your idea of co-operation with the United States of America?

Mr CALWELL - The Minister's misinterpretation of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition would not be accepted, here or in the United States of America, as a fair interpretation of what he said. If the matter of co-operation with the United States is to be raised, I point out that it was the Curtin Government which .included the present Leader of the Opposition, that invoked the aid of the United States, and most Ministers sitting in this chamber at the present time, who were then members of the Opposition, protested because Mr. Curtin invited United States aid. One minute they talk about associating themselves with the United States but in reading the comments of their press supporters and even of their supporters in this House, one would think that the greatest enemy to world peace was the cabinet of the United States, and that President Eisenhower was an enemy of all progress. They come here in their unctious way and make their pretence of friendship with the United States.

I do not imagine that I need to read any more from the declaration of the Brisbane conference to show where we stand in regard to membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - The honorable member does not dare read the rest.

Mr CALWELL - I shall accept the challenge. I never run away from anything. The next declaration reads as follows: -

Australia must give greater practical support to the United Nations for the purpose of carrying out the principles of the United Nations Charter, and in particular for their wholehearted application in the Pacific and South-East Asia areas. These principles cover both collective action to repel military aggression, and also - a factor which is usually forgotten - continuous action by way of conciliation and peaceful intervention for the purpose of preventing war and of bringing all armed conflict to an end.

Is there anything wrong with that as a statement of principle? The whole of the document is permeated with sentiments of that sort. The Minister for Labour and National Service sneers at the Labour party because, he says, it is a democratic socialist party. So it is! So is the Labour party of Great Britain a democratic socialist party, and it is quite on the cards that the Labour party in Great Britain will win the next election in Great Britain. Will this Government co-operate with the democratic socialist Government of Great Britain or will it refuse to have anything to do with such a government because, presumably, it will not stand for free enterprise?

How free is free enterprise? How free has free enterprise ever been since the growth of monopoly capitalism? The control of all the forces of production and distribution by monopolies, cartels, combines and trusts makes mockery of the very word " free enterprise ". New Zealand will have an election soon, and there may be a democratic socialist government in that country. Germany will have an election at the end of this year, and it may be that the social democrats will win in Germany. Will all those countries be put outside the pale by this Government because they have not the same obscurantist ideas in regard to progress as the members of the Menzies Administration?

Mr Peters - They prefer socialites to socialism.

Mr CALWELL - I do not know whether the distinction is between socialists and socialites. We shall leave that to the future to decide.

The Minister for External Affairs occupied the time of the House for 45 minutes and spoke about 6,000 words to say nothing that was new and nothing that had not already appeared in the overseas and Australian press. This was particularly true of that part of his speech that referred to the Suez Canal and the Middle East crisis. His speech was another failure. It consisted of ponderous platitudes, clumsy distortions, and very little else. He, too, spoke about communism. He said that at the conference at Brisbane, apart from a defence of Communist China, there was no reference by the Australian Labour party to any specific country in Asia. The first reference was to Thailand. The Labour conference at Brisbane made no defence of Communist China, or Communist Russia, or Communist Czechoslovakia. Its declaration on Hungary and on Poland, its aversion to and condemnation of communism was just the same as it always is in matters of this sort.

We know the evil of communism. We have always protested against communism. If it were not for social democrats and democratic socialists throughout the world, communism would have triumphed long ago. There is nothing in this Government or their supporters or any of the interests that maintain and sustain them that could defeat communism. We offer an alternative, on the one hand to monopoly capitalism and, on the other hand, to communism which enables us to hold the affections and support of the great mass of peoples throughout the world. We will triumph when the Government parties die, as they always dic as a party and then resurrect themselves under a new name with a new set of principles and a new declaration of intentions.

The Minister for External Affairs could not say anything worthwhile because Cabinet would have prevented him from relating the course of events properly. Cabinet did not want him to tell the truth and discredit the Government. The Minister used words, not to express his views and give the facts, but to cloud the issues and hide their real meanings. Sir Anthony Eden at least had the decency to resign when he and the French Prime Minister, Mr. Mollet, outraged world opinion by attacking Egypt. The United States Government did not support them, nor did Canada nor South Africa. In the British House of Commons, Mr. Gaitskell, the putative and the likely Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the very near future, said that the only country that came out of the Suez crisis with clean hands was the United States. The Menzies Government not only supported the Eden-Mollet act of aggression against Egypt but actually encouraged it. The Prime Minister of this country went to England and urged full-blooded economic sanctions. What did that mean? It meant trouble in the world. If he had been as wise as the Prime Minister of Canada, he would not have associated us with the Egyptian affair when the United Kingdom and France attacked Egypt. We did not attack Egypt. We should have followed the Canadian example. It would have been better for this country.

The Prime Minister's action was an incredible aberration - almost as incredible as the election of the Minister for Labour and National Service as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal party. At least, when Sir

Anthony Eden had to walk the plank, no Australian Minister showed equal decency in resigning his office, lt is a notorious fact that the Minister for External Affairs was snubbed publicly by his Prime Minister in Europe and Australia. It is equally wellknown that in an attempt to be helpful - that can be said with justice of the Minister for External Affairs - he tried to meet President Eisenhower in order to see what could be done to help out in the situation. But the President would not see him. I believe that he presented himself at the front door, and they would not let him in. He could not even get in through the tradesmen's entrance. It is a notorious fact that the Minister disagreed violently with his Prime Minister and with his Prime Minister's clumsy interference in the Middle East. Either the Minister for External Affairs should have resigned in disgust or the Prime Minister should have resigned in disgrace. That is the alternative. But they both rub along together, and that is why we get this jargon of words, this series of meaningless phrases that convey nothing to the Austraiian people, and are not meant to convey anything, either. We of the Labour party have always known where we stood in regard to these matters. We did not want to bc associated with the Malayan campaign, and we do not want to be associated with it now. It is not because we love communism or that we want to see the success of communism in Malaya, any more than we want to see the success of Nasser in Egypt. Wc are not a colonial people. We have never been exploiters, and the association of our troops with Malaya can be, and has been, interpreted as an attempt to assist the maintenance of colonialism in that area, in order to defend the interests of the rubber planters and oil kings and the rest. It would be far better for the British Commonwealth of Nations, and far bet:er for Great Britain, that we should stand out of Malaya rather than engage in what has been euphemistically called police action. The invasion of Egypt was called police action. When British warships were actually shelling Egyptian soil, and British bombs were being rained down on the Egyptian people from the skies, our Prime Minister told us that it was only a police action. It was the same kind of action that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics took against Hungary and Poland. But it was war to the victims. It spelt war to all who were hit by a bomb or a bullet, and that is not the way to get peace in the world to-day.

Our Prime Minister, and those associated with him, particularly the British Government, from which Sir Anthony Eden has resigned, and Old Bobbity, the Marquis of Salisbury, has gone, brought the world to the brink of a third world war, and the prospects, the awful prospects, that are conjured up by even the thought of hydrogen or atom nuclear warfare are so terrible that everything should be done to bring about a settlement of the problems by peaceful means. This is what the Asian Socialist Conference that was held in October last - attended by Mohammedans for the most part - said about the situation in the Middle East -

The Arab States and Israel, all of them members of U.N.O., should refrain from the use of force and explore all available methods for the peaceful settlement of their outstanding disputes, as indeed they pledged themselves to renounce force when they subscribed to the United Nations Charter.

The Arab States, faced with the fact of Israel's existence, should give due recognition and work with her in harmony for the peace and prosperity of the region.

The Big Powers - the United Slates of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Great Britain and France - should use their good offices to restore peace in the region rather than increase tension by abetting the arms race in any direct or indirect way.

The Colombo Powers - India, Burma, Indonesia. Ceylon and Pakistan - should use their friendship with the Asian and African nations to offer their good offices to restore peace in the region.

Everything that is being done by those who are associated with the Labour party's philosophy throughout the world is being done in the direction of maintaining world peace. As for the Suez dispute, the desire of the Australian Labour party, and of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party, which is under fire in this House, is to preserve peace, and that can only be done through the United Nations. It cannot be done by any one power, or any group of powers. If we cannot work through the United Nations, and the United Nations cannot be made effective, there is no hope for humanity. This is the last chance. As President Eisenhower said in his first election telecast, taking peace as his theme -

Peace is linked to all persons, all problems, in all lands.

That is our faith, too. I commend this other sentiment uttered by him in more recent times -

We cannot face the future simply by walking into the past - backwards.

We have to face the future looking at it, studying the problems and realizing just what we have to do to ensure peace for our posterity. It does not. matter much to most of us in- this Parliament what happens in the next few years, but what happens to our children and grand-children is of paramount importance, and that is true of the feeling of every human being throughout the world.

The Prime Minister is leaving us in a few days time. I do not know in which role he journeys forth next week to make his deferred visit to the Emperor of Japan. We do not know whether he will depart in the role of the great mediator, or just that of the happy wanderer. He is going off, and I hope that when he comes back things will be better than they are now. We know that statements such as have been presented to us do not lead us anywhere. The Minister for External Affairs has uttered many banalities. He said -

However, the whole situation is tense and dangerous.

Then he went on to assume the grounds on which Egypt is acting. He said -

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Israel has evacuated the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gaza strip, on the clear assumption that these two areas would be taken over by the United Nations force ... If this assumption is violated then the situation between Egypt and Israel again becomes critical and dangerous. Good faith, 1 believe we would all agree, is essential.

You do not settle world events on assumptions; you settle them on facts and goodwill. Good faith is essential. We of the Labour party are prepared to trust the good faith of humanity.

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