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Thursday, 21 May 1936

Senator ARKINS - We have the service of wireless, and the other must necessarily follow.

Senator ABBOTT - Exactly. Why should there be any hesitancy on the part of the authorities? This is a matter which should be considered seriously by this Parliament. Recently, I had the privilege of visiting New Zealand, where I discussed the proposal with members of both political parties in the NewZealand Parliament, from whom I received gratifying assurance of sympathetic interest and support. I received such assurances, not only from the Prime Minister and his supporters, but also from Mr. Forbes, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Coates, and others. I was offered, and availed myself of the opportunity, of a national broadcast from 2YA, Wellington. Since my return to Australia, I have received letters assuring me of sympathetic interest from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Oppose tion. Before leaving New Zealand I was assured that a motion similar to the one I moved in the Senate would be introduced by Mr. W. J. Lyon, a supporter of the Government, who was entrusted with moving the adoption of the addressinreply. Last week I received from the Prime Minister of New Zealand a letter stating that he would discuss the matter with Mr. Lyon. A portion of that letter read -

As I have already indicated, you may depend upon it receiving our sympathetic consideration.

Later in the day I received a cablegram from Mr. Lyon, which read, "Will introduce motion next week." I have since learned that the New Zealand Government feels that there may be some difficulties associated with the discussion of a motion in which the League of Nations is involved; but, quite apart from the action which the New Zealand Parliament may take. I trust that the Senate will support the motion which I intend to move in the next session. How can we hope to eliminate the barriers of which Mr. Fisk speaks if we do not make a start ? Surely we are not bound by that maxim of the conservative. " Nothing shall ever be done for a first time." I believe that honorable senators will not agree with the suggestion that we should not take the lead in matters affecting humanity, but must wait until we are driven to do so 'by public opinion. There is no reason why we should emulate Gilbert's "Duke of Plazatoro," who led his army from behind. It is an established parliamentary rule, supported by May and other leading authorities, that within its constitutional rights Parliament is master of its own business. In this instance I suggest that the Senate has the right, and it is its duty, to request that action be commenced in the centre of the Empire. Since moving the motion some time ago, I have been agreeably surprised at the support I have received from persons in Australia, the United States of America, Canada, and Great Britain. In one newspaper, with a very wide circulation, in the United States, over a column was devoted to the subject, and wholehearted approval given. Included in the letters which I have received is one from Dr. Ross, K.C., D.C.L., of Montreal, Canada, who, as some honorable senators will know, is a well-known lecturer on economics and social questions. I acknowledge the courtesy extended to me by the Leader of the Senate in affording me this opportunity to deal further with this subject, and to withdraw the motion appearing on the notice-paper, in order to have thi? opportunity to deal with it. I am not insensible of the help I have received in this respect. The wife of Major-General Sir W. H. Beech, CB., C.M.G., D.S.O., apparently the honorary secretary of an influential social movement in England, said -

I am certain that England would meet your suggestion wholeheartedly, and so would our new King. Do not hesitate to go ahead, and God he with you. as we all are.

Koki Hiroto. the new Prime Minister of Japan, whom I have, already quoted in the Senate, emphatically expressed his belief that want of understanding through wide divergence of language was one of the underlying causes of war. Sir James

Barrett wrote -

Your plea for a common language falls on many sympathetic ears.

The Bishop of Armadale 3aid -

I am deeply interested in your article on thought exchange . . . and to attain this harmony among the nations, understanding, appreciation and exchange of ideas arc essential.

At the invitation of numerous bodies and societies, such as the New South Wales Constitutional Association, the Legacy Clubs, the Modern Languages Association, the London Peace Society, Rotary Clubs, large churches, and at luncheon gatherings, I have submitted my proposals, and in every case enthusiastic approval has been expressed. I do not ask support merely on the grounds of friendship, but I appeal to the heads and to the hearts of honorable senators. I believe that, if action were taken in the direction I suggest, it would not be long before the trouble and turmoil through which nations of the world are- now passing would commence to diminish, and there would be a better understanding between the nations. At a luncheon given to the Minister for Commerce (Dr. Earle Page), prior to his departure for England, he delivered a speech from the view-point of the party I represent in this chamber, in which he said that nothing is more vital to the primary ' producers or to the secondary producers than the relationship which exists between the peoples of the world. The depression through which we passed recently was not really local in its origin. We may devise marketing schemes for the disposal of pur dried fruits, wheat, butter, and other primary products, but such methods of dealing with trade depression are like giving a patient phenacetin - the drug allays the pain, but does not attack the root of the malady. The root cause of our economic troubles to-day oan be traced to the dislocation of world trade following the Great War, which forced every country to look selfishly to its own particular interests. We must deal with the underlying cause of our present trouble, and, as Mr. Hiroto hinted, a certain way to do this is to enable the nations of the world to understand each other better. But to-day, \vp. cannot do this, because we do not speak a common language. Let us reason out this matter and attempt to lay down a common basis of intercourse by establishing a common means of thought exchange.

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