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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2659


Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - Earlier today the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) drew attention to the fact that today is United Nations Day. I think we should give some consideration to what that implies. I am one who believes that we need a strong international organisation. I am not one who believes that we should denigrate the concept of international order in this world - very much the opposite. But I note with regret, as indeed the honourable member for Boothby noted with regret, that the United Nations does not, as at present, perform that function. To some extent that is due to the structural weaknesses in the United Nations setup. When its charter was formulated, provision was incorporated in it for a revision in the light of experience. That revision has never taken place. Indeed, I do not think it likely that it can take place because no resolution for a revision can be put forward without the approval of the Security Council, and in the Security Council the veto of one permanent member is sufficient to abort any such resolution. Three of the permanent members of the Security

Council are China, Russia and the United States. Is it likely that they will find themselves in agreement on any vital matter? I think not. Therefore the ramshackle United Nations proceeds on.

I believe that the existence of the United Nations is, in a sense, doing a disservice to world order, not because I believe that there is no need for a strong international organisation - very much the contrary - but because the United Nations in its present sham form occupies the ground and prevents the coming into existence of any effective guardian and guarantor of world order. This can be seen today, I fear, in respect of the conflict which is occurring in the Middle East. The United Nations was able, because the two super powers of Russia and the United States did come together on this matter, to persuade the belligerents to accept a ceasefire. But, unhappily, it was not able to police that ceasefire. None of us can say from this distance whether the violations came from the Arab side or the Israeli side. But we know that both sides have accused the other of violating the truce. So far as I know - one never knows quite how accurate international reporting is - the conflict is still raging at the present moment.

The same was true and is true, unhappily, with respect to South East Asia. We have had a settlement and ceasefire in Vietnam. But that ceasefire - in this case we do know from first hand information - has been violated consistently by the communists. Aggression is occuring in South East Asia on a massive scale against South Vietnam and Cambodia, and we still stand powerless. We have the ceasefire, yes; but a ceasefire is meaningless when communists are capable of consistently violating it. One of the saddest things is that although this open aggression is occurring - and it is occurring - the Australian Govern ment and the United Nations have shut their eyes to it. Earlier this evening the honourable member for Boothby cited several - not several, many - instances in which the United Nations has shut its eyes to uncomfortable reality.

I have been a delegate to the United Nations on more than one occasion and I have seen the apparatus in action. I have seen the way in which the communists inside the United Nations manipulate its decisions and abort its actions. That is regrettable in every way. What I have to say is, I think, even more regrettable. I believe that the communist manipulations in the United Nations have been possible only because of reprehensible weakness from the side of the democracies. The United States - I say this with regret and with some first hand experience - has not discharged its responsibility of giving a firm lead to the democracies in the United Nations. Other democracies also, I fear, have failed in their duty. Because they have been unable to stand up to communist abuse and because they have been consumed as perhaps we are here to our shame, with petty maneouvering, the communists, who are implacably going forward, have been able to take position after position. That is our weakness. It is a very regrettable and terrible thing. I say from some first hand experience that our side will not back up those who take a stand against the communist infiltration forward, which is happening now. It is happening on an international scale. It is happening on a national and internal scale here in Australia. Those who have the responsibility of taking a firm stand, unfortunately, are unable or unwilling to do so.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It being 11 o'clock, the House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.







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