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Tuesday, 15 October 1985
Page: 1238


Senator MacGIBBON(5.03) —The most important issue that faces a national government is the matter of national security. There is no more important duty that a government meets in its term of office. I wish to deal this afternoon briefly with one aspect of national security. I refer to the way our ability to maintain our security, our ability to live as free people in a society of our choosing, is being undermined by the active propaganda campaign run by the peace movement. It is a movement composed of diverse groups, which have slightly different declared goals but all with the same end point for Australia: The loss of freedom in our society as we know it. It is a peace movement that is actively aided by the Government in power-a Labor socialist government with its schizophrenic foreign policies, its impotent defence policies, and, above all, its absolute refusal to enter the public forum against the nuclear disarmers, the pacifists and all the fellow travellers in the peace movement caravan.

The peace movements in Australia are dishonest both in name and in methods. There is no peace for mankind under the totalitarian regimes policies that would ensue if their policies were followed. Their methods are dishonest. They trade on the fears and ignorance of decent people. Most of the people in peace groups-90 per cent of them-are honest, decent, well-meaning people, but they are being used shamelessly by political manipulators at the heart of this movement.

The peace movement has five failings. It has a false view of mankind; a false view of history; it is irresponsible in a literal sense; it promotes unilateral disarmament policies; and it is irrelevant to the security of Australia. All Australians want peace; the Liberal Party wants peace; the Australian Labor Party wants peace; I want peace. There is no argument at all about the goal that we seek, but there is a profound difference about the way we pursue that goal, the path we follow to attain it. It is a very difficult goal.

The peace movement is presenting a false view of humanity. It is saying that it is easy to attain peace-that all one has to do is disarm and one can reach that goal through naivety. International relations are tough and hard; the law of the jungle is never far from the surface. Nations, like people, are subject to greed, insecurity, jealously and instability. Peace comes from being able to negotiate from a position of intellectual and physical strength. The intellectual bankruptcy of those in the peace movement and their arguments contrast greatly with the highly intelligent way they go about propagating their perverse ideology.

The second point about the peace movement is that it takes a false view of history. In this century we have seen the two greatest wars, World War I and World War II, that mankind has been through. Tragically, there have been over 65 million deaths from those two conflicts. In the 40 years since World War II we have seen 65 regional wars. There are lessons to be learned from those wars, but they have not been learned by the peace movement. The striking example was the pacifist movement in Europe in the 1930s which led to Germany, Italy and Japan being emboldened to embark on the Second World War.

The third point I charge the peace movement with is that it is irresponsible. It is targeted against the children of this country and gives those children no hope at all. Members of the peace movement tell Australian children that they face certain death within a few short years in a nuclear holocaust.

There is not going to be a nuclear holocaust. There is a real possibility though that many of those children may die in other wars, and it is up to us to prevent those wars erupting.

Nihilism and the consequent effect on the psychology of the youth of this country is the most irresponsible act that the peace movement gets up to. This can be seen in the lack of success of scholastic attainment in the schools, with children who will not work; lack of career ambition, unemployment, drug taking, and ultimately suicides in a number of cases. The peace movement must take part of the blame for this failure on the part of our youth. The young of this country should have an exuberant and idealistic hope in their own future and in the future of this country. I cannot stress strongly enough the irresponsible nature of the movement.

Who are the agents for this attack on youth by the peace movement? First of all, the teachers unions and, secondly, the church groups. All the teachers unions in this country support peace studies through the States. Those peace studies are unbalanced. They do not put a balanced view on history, particularly on modern history or on the need to protect and defend one's own essential interests. Above all, they attack the sociology of this country and of the Western democracies. They portray the injustices of the world as being a consequence of the system we live under, whereas we live under a system that has provided the highest level of human rights in history, of individual freedom under a rule of law. They fail to contrast the achievements of our society and our culture with the totalitarian regimes and their psychiatric hospitals in Russia in which political prisoners are put, or with the re-education camps in Vietnam which again are filled with political opponents of the regime. They fail to say anything about man's inhumanity to man under the yoke of totalitarian regimes and they blame all the ills of mankind on our present system.

In this they are joined by the churches, and none of the churches is immune from criticism in this respect. All the churches in Australia have political activists manipulating their functions within their parishes. They put their policies forward in their parishes with the apparent imprimatur of the church and they claim that they speak on behalf of the church and that they have a morally correct position. They claim that anyone who disagrees with them is not a Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth. The theologically correct position, the intellectually correct position and the morally correct position is that a society has the right to defend itself. But more than that society has the right and the obligation to protect the innocent and the weak. It cannot do otherwise in a civilised circumstance. That is why we have police forces for internal protection and national defence forces for protection in international relations.

The fourth failing of the peace movement is that it is a unilateral movement. It is directed solely against the liberal Western democracies. The people in the peace movement know very well that they have no effect on the Soviets and their military policies. They come forward with this humbug of arguing that making unilateral gestures will lead to multilateral gestures, that somehow the Russians will follow suit if we unilaterally disarm. The Russians are neither pacifists nor philantropists. Those are their own words and can be quoted back to them. We will learn nothing, we will gain nothing by going down the path of unilaterally disarming.

The fifth point about the peace movement is that it is irrelevant. It is utterly irrelevant to the peace and security of Australia. The members of the peace movement know that they are utterly irrelevant to the peace and security of Australia. They know that they have nothing at all to contribute in a constructive way to the peace of Australia.

We cannot opt out of a nuclear age. We cannot unlearn nuclear physics. We cannot follow the actions or the thoughts of the emotionally and intellectually immature people who inhabit the peace movements. We cannot run away from the realities of the world. The great problems that face mankind cannot be met with the tactics and the propositions members of the peace movement are advancing. The world is a dangerous place, but it always has been. Our obligation and responsibility is to work constructively to reduce that danger, for it can be made safer.

We have far too many weapons in this world and they are not only nuclear weapons. We have far too many conventional weapons. We need to reduce dramatically the number of those weapons. We must do that by a mutual, balanced and verifiable reduction. There must be a mutual reduction because unilateralism has no place at all. That reduction must be balanced because we must not give an advantage to one side and create instability. It must be verifiable because both sides need the security that comes from the knowledge of the other's position. That is not easy to bring about. It needs strength and patience. We must bring the East and the West to the negotiating table and we must have the patience to endure the years and years of careful negotiation which are involved in bringing some release of the tension.

Above all we must be working to reduce the political tensions because the political tensions between East and West are the root of the problem. The arms we have, irrespective of the great superfluous numbers, are not the cause of the tension. The tension comes from two opposing and competing political ideologies. It is the resolution of this political insecurity and tension which will lead most effectively to arms reductions. As we know from our experience in this chamber, the reduction of political tension is not an impossible goal to pursue. It is very much an attainable goal over time if people are adult and reasoned in their approach. The difficulties and dangers of the world cannot be overcome by simplistic or naive gestures. They cannot be resolved by glib cliches or by moral cowardice. Yet the only proposals the peace movement advances for Australia are proposals that fall into those categories.