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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I did not follow the Acting Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). He wants to discharge Mr. Lucock, who has become the Chairman of Committees, from this extraordinary committee and appoint Mr. Failes in his place, and then, somehow or other, he brings Mr. Anderson into the question. I do not know who is to be appointed. Is it to be Mr. Failes or Mr. Anderson who is to be appointed to the committee? I would not like to see Mr. Anderson, with all his splendid qualifications, on a committee of this sort, because he would give its deliberations a wrong slant. He is a man with a one-track mind, and I do not think he could discuss foreign affairs sufficiently dispassionately to be able to influence the hopeless material with which he will have to work in reaching a really sound judgment as to recommendations that this committee will make to the

Government in regard to Australia's foreign policy. Not that the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Menzies), now absent overseas, or his deputy, who knows nothing about what is happening anyhow, will be any more likely to take any more notice of this committee than Lord Casey took of it when he was Minister for External Affairs.

I should like to know what this committee does. Why do we need to fill a vacancy? Why not let all its members resign? What do they do? They never make a report to the Parliament. They meet here. This is a costly body. Its members are paid expenses for coming here. They listen to ambassadors, high commissioners, Ministers and everybody else who can be brought along in an effort to justify the committee's existence, but we have no evidence at all that over the eight, nine or ten years that this committee has been in existence it has been of any use to the government of the day or to the Commonwealth Parliament or to the people of Australia. In any case, it is only a study circle. It is not a foreign affairs committee. I am indebted to my Lord Casey for the term " study circle ". It is a misuse of language to call it a foreign affairs committee. It is nothing of the sort. I thought that the Government might, in these days of stress and difficulty, be anxious to save at least some government expenditure. A lot of people are being thrown out of work. Why should the Government want to fill a vacancy of this sort when it can easily save money by not filling it? If it is to be Mr. Failes who is to be appointed to the committee, Mr. Failes will not be here for the remainder of this year. He is engaged on important duties overseas.

Mr Failes - I am here.

Mr CALWELL - Mr. Failes was engaged on important duties abroad. These days I live a life of such absorption worrying about the mess that the Government is making of the Australian economy that I have overlooked the return of Mr. Failes. I am sorry for having done that. If Mr. Failes is going to be on the committee we OU 2nt to know something about what he will do. If Mr. Anderson is going to be on the committee we ought to know some thing about what his policy is. These gentlemen are members of the Australian Country Party. We want to know what is their attitude on the recognition of red China. How much wheat does red China have to buy from Australia to get recognition? How many more bales of wool does red China have to buy? Does red China come in on the disarmament conference?

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