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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - It is always a meritorious exercise to pour oil on troubled waters; it is not so meritorious to pour oil on troubled waters with the intention of striking matches and setting that oil aflame. I support what the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has said and done in this matter. I think that his attitude, in a situation that all of us regret, has been impeccable and not only in the interests of Australia but also in the wider interests which we should be serving.

The action of the Smith regime - it is not right to call it a Government - is to be regretted from two angles. The first is what 1 might call the angle of expediency. We do not want revolution against constituted authority in a matter of this kind. We have to maintain the integrity of our government institutions. The legally constituted authority in Rhodesia is now the United Kingdom Government. This should be recognised. To have impeached and impaired the integrity of the order and authority that existed in Rhodesia has been to do no service at all to the British people or to the people of Africa. In the second place, we regret very much the kind of thing which is happening in Rhodesia. We know .that in a situation such as exists there the majority must be brought to rule. It may be, and I think it is, that the majority is not yet sufficiently educated and advanced to accept its full responsibilities. It is perhaps our fault - I use the pronoun collectively because we in Australia really have nothing to do with this - that they are not sufficiently educated and advanced. We should be helping them as far as possible and as quickly as possible to take their rightful places. I do not believe that we can do other than what we have done.

I contrast that attitude of the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) in this matter with the attitude he has adopted on other issues. He said a moment ago that it would have been better for the United Kingdom Government to keep up its sleeve the card renouncing the use of force. I think there may be something in his argument. The disclosure of this card may have given aid and comfort to the side it was not intended to support. I wonder whether perhaps the honorable member's attitude on Rhodesia is consonant with the attitude that he takes on Vietnam. Let him search his conscience and see whether what he is doing and saying now may be giving aid and comfort also to our enemies and helping them to perpetuate the present condition of war. He may be the enemy of the Vietnamese people if he is judged on principles the same as those that he adduced in regard to the Rhodesian people. I do not propose to detain the House longer, Sir. It is late. I simply record my support of what the Prime Minister has said and done in this matter.

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