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Wednesday, 7 September 1960

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! 1 suggest to the honorable member that he address the Chair.

Mr CAIRNS - The Government of Australia, whose foreign policy I am now discussing, wan is to keep the iron curtain down. It exhibits a lack of confidence in Australia and a lack of appreciation of Australia. The people of this country are sound in all respects. The Government's policy assumes that they are not sound, that they have to be watched by the security service, that they must be reported upon here and there and that these reports must be taken into account in making appointments and in issuing permits, although the reports are never brought out into the open and never examined. That is fundamentally un-Australian and we do not want it to become a part of the Australian way of life.

The Government's foreign policy is based also upon a wrong evaluation of new nations and of new forces in older nations. I shall give one or two examples. It is based upon a wrong evaluation of Egypt. It is not long since the Prime Minister was bitterly opposed to Egypt and called for full-blooded economic sanctions, and for more, in dealing with the problem that had arisen as the result of the nationalization of the Suez Canal. The right honorable gentleman was on the side of those who believed that Nasser, with all his faults and weaknesses, could be easily pushed over with a few brigades of paratroopers. He did not understand that Nasser was the symbol of the national development of Egypt.


Order! The honorable member for Yarra will please resume his seat. There is too much noise in the chamber. I ask the committee to come to order. The honorable member may now resume.

Mr CAIRNS - I know that honorable members opposite find it very difficult to take the truth--


Order! The honorable member for Yarra will resume his speech.

Mr CAIRNS - They must listen to it, nevertheless. I am suggesting thatour foreign policy is based upon a wrong evaluation of what people like Nasser represent. They have a good deal of support in their own countries and they represent efforts to achieve national independence, which involves gaining control of the fundamental economic assets that are necessary for such independence. Without control of the Suez Canal, there could be no self-dependent and self-reliant Egyptian Government. Then we look at Cuba. It is not more than a few weeks since the Prime Minister referred to Castro as a worthless fellow. Well, that worthless fellow, like Nasser, has a great deal of support in his own country. He has the support of all of those who are involved in the nationalist movement in the country, of all those people who know that to have independence in Cuba they have to have a greater share in the operation of the economy of the country - of the sugar industry and of the petroleum industry, which are Cuba's main industries. Instead of being prepared to co-operate to some extent with Nasser and Castro, theWestern leaders, whose policies have played so much--


Order! The honorable gentleman's time has expired.

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