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Wednesday, 10 September 1958
Page: 1109

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) (1:52 AM) . - One is sorely tempted at this hour of the morning to ask for leave of the committee to have one's remarks incorporated in " Hansard " so that we could all go home, but I do not know whether that would meet with your approval, Mr. Chairman.

The debate on the Defence Estimates has intrigued me for a number of reasons. One of the more notable of these reasons is the fact that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) led the debate for the Opposition. The honorable member has played some extraordinary roles in his time, but the role, which he now assumes, of Edward the Defence Maker, is rather an engaging and bewildering one, because there are few people in this Parliament who are more ill-qualified to deal with defence matters than is the honorable member for East Sydney. I have only one regret about his attitude and background in relation to defence matters. That is, that he did not pass through the hands of some kind, tolerant sergeant-major. Had he done so, I think he would certainly be a little more civil in his outlook than he is.

I think that the committee is indebted to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) for his constructive and penetrating analysis of the defences of this country and their relationship to world defence. He pointed out quite clearly that it would be physically impossible for this country to defend itself. It is the mere fact that we have powerful and effective defence arrangements with other countries that secures our defence. It is astonishing to find residing in the minds of many people, and voiced by many journalists in Australia, the idea that Australia can defend itself entirely, no matter what enemy may engage our defence forces. That idea is quite quaint. It is an idea that is completely inconsistent with reality. I think that the analysis made by the honorable member for Barker this evening was not only presented in a spirited fashion, but in an eminently realistic fashion.

Mr Ward - The honorable member looks like a leader of a boy scout group.

Mr KILLEN - Well, that would be quite right. I want to devote all my remaining time to an aspect of the defence services that I believe has been sadly neglected. When I say that, I should like it to be clearly understood that the same aspect of defence has also been neglected by most of the democratic countries. The phrase " cold war " is now well established; but if I may say so without wishing to appear presumptuous, it seems that the phrase " cold war" is not thoroughly understood. May I give a few indications of why I hold that belief? As a Messianic movement, communism rests substantially, although by no means exclusively, on propaganda.

If one reads the report, for example, of the Central Checking Commission of the 20th Congress of the Russian Communist party one gets some indication of the ramifications of the Communist propaganda organization and its relationship to the Soviet defence forces. For instance, the report points out that last year 50,000 propaganda workers attended seminars or short lectures on Marxism-Leninism. In the same year 149,000 people attended 288 evening universities to study MarxismLeninism. The report also makes it clear that there are some 375,000 full-time propagandists in the Soviet Union and some 2,100,000 part-time propagandists. The report leads one to the conclusion that the Soviet Union is now spending approximately £600,000,000 a year on propaganda. With that sort of background, I am tempted to suggest that the time is well overdue for the establishment in this country of a directorate of psychological warfare. I will explain what I have in mind in a few moments.

The central organization for the control of propaganda in the Soviet Union is known as " Agitprop ". It enables the Soviet Union to maintain uniformity of propaganda throughout the world on any given line, no matter how violently the party policy may vary at times. We find that through " Agitprop ", the nerve centre of the Communist propaganda machine and an organ of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist party, the Soviet Union has gained an advantage over the Western world, the full nature of which does not seem to be clearly understood. Honorable members may ask what exactly a directorate of psychological warfare in this country would involve.

Mr Pollard - Put a bit of pep into it!

Tha CHAIRMAN.- Order!

Mr KILLEN - This is a very serious matter, as any one with some semblance of common sense would realize. A directorate of psychological warfare should take the form that I am about to outline. It should include a civil division, which should include, first, a select group of people thoroughly conversant with the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, to reduce it to a level understandable by the ordinary layman. Facilities for the imparting of this information would have to be provided. I should hope that the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) would consider this matter, because on odd occasions I have heard him make suggestions on approximately the same lines.

Secondly, I believe that there should be established an advisory body of qualified representatives of the Australian press and broadcasting and television stations to prepare information on Australia suitable for placing in South-East Asian countries. Although our present contribution in this field is useful in many respects, it is utterly inadequate. Thirdly, there should be formed a committee of people thoroughly versed in the languages and cultures of Asian peoples, whose role it would be to stimulate greater interest by Australians in peoples and problems of Asian countries. Fourthly, the civil division should include a consultative body, representative of employers and employees, to examine the most effective methods of eliminating all Communist influence from industry and of preserving stability in industry. In which ever way we look at this matter, we find that the Communist propaganda machine is out-manoeuvring that of the democratic countries. Finally, I believe that there should be established a committee to review the methods of economic warfare that are used by Communist countries.

Referring to the second major head - the military division - I think it is a great pity that senior service commanders do not seem to recognize the full military significance of Marxism-Leninism. I do not say that in criticism of the commanders themselves. Some people simply take the viewpoint that Marxism-Leninism is a political philosophy. Of course, it is not! To overcome that great drawback and that great weakness, I believe that service commanders should be instructed in the rudiments of the MarxistLeninist theory. To continue to regard the struggle against Communism exclusively in terms of military conflict is absurd. The pre-eminent weapon used by the Communist party is propaganda.

I come now to my third suggestion in regard to the establishment of a directorate of psychological warfare. Many thousands of people have come to Australia from iron curtain countries. In fact, I believe that more people from behind the iron curtain have come to Australia than have gone to any other country. Those people should be provided with an opportunity to tell of their experiences. Accordingly, I suggest that an information bureau, representative of people from Soviet-controlled countries, should be set up to collate the evidence of new Australians on Soviet methods. I know of one man who was trained at the Lenin institute at Moscow, who subsequently repudiated Marxism-Leninism and who is now living in Australia. Apart from the very limited facilities that I and a few of my friends have been able to provide for him, his information remains untapped. There is a man who has been trained at the very highest level in the propaganda field and in the wielding of that political weapon of MarxismLeninism, but no one seems to be particularly interested in him.

I apologize, Sir, for having taken up the time of the committee. May I conclude simply, but nevertheless sincerely, by joining with those honorable gentlemen who have extended goodwill and good wishes to the retiring Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride)? Since I entered the Parliament, I have found him to be a very kindly and very approachable man. I am sure that the political history of this country will identify him as having been a very sound and solid servant, not only of the Australian people but of the defences of Australia.

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