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Wednesday, 1 November 1967

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (1:30 AM) - I am enthused to make some observations in reply to the comments from the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron). It is quite obvious that facts will not bc sacred in his hands, and at no time will he allow his progress in this Parliament to be impeded by any want of accuracy. \ do not want to waste any time on the way in which he has propagandised certain statements. All that I do want to observe is that the honourable member for Griffith, who is so keenly concerned about the war in Vietnam and who heartily and enthusiastically endorses the use of conscript Australian lads in this war, is himself of military age. He is a young, vigorous man. We have seen him moving about the precincts of this Parliament and obviously he is vigorous.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - He is married. One does not expect a married man to go away.

Mr HAYDEN - No, he is not married.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I thought he was.

Mr HAYDEN - No, the honourable member has misunderstood the position. Now he will agree with me that the honourable member for Griffith ought to be a volunteer to establish a sort of standard, to give encouragement to other young people in the community. Indeed, it is this sort of encouragement that other young people would need, such as those young people in the Young Liberal movement. I never cease to be amazed that there are so many people in the Young Liberals, so many of these active, healthy young Australians who hold mass rallies which are indoctrinated by the extreme, somewhat deficient factually, statements by people like the honourable member for Griffith. Surely the honourable member for Griffith ought to use his persuasive powers as an orator to encourage these people in the Young Liberal movement to join the Army and go to Vietnam so that young Australian lads will not have to be conscripted to be sent there. If he did this sort of thing we would be much more impressed with his sincerity and the complete integrity with which he puts forward his concern about this horrible war in Vietnam and about the urgently pressing need for it to be brought to an end speedily.

There does seem to be something ironic about the honourable member standing up in this House after he has been well fed and enjoyed the convenience and the benefits of the comfortable precincts of this House, and talking about the war in Vietnam, the need to get on with the job, and the need for sacrifice from young Australians. Although he may not have said these things directly, they were implicit in what he was saying. He will go home and sleep between a couple of clean sheets in a comfortable bed and snore heartily throughout the night while young Australian conscript lads are sleeping in dirty, probably water-filled, foxholes in the jungles of Vietnam. They are suffering discomfort; he is enjoying comfort. They want to get out of the war in Vietnam. They want to bring it to an end. He wants it to continue. He endorses the policy - if one can discover what that policy is - of the Government, and he endorses the sending of conscripts to Vietnam just as long as he is not one of them.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What does the honourable member think is keeping tura here?

Mr HAYDEN - 1 think he is reluctant at heart.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Does the honourable member think he is scared?

Mr HAYDEN - Scared?

Mr Lee - How old are you?

Mr HAYDEN - I am old enough to have enough sense to realise the stupidity of the policy of the Government and to know that the honourable member who interjected is suitably fit to join an infantry unit and go to Vietnam. There, too, is another member of this brigade of the valiant from the back benches of the Liberal Party, the young vigorous ones who make sure that they will not have to go to the front line in Vietnam.

Mr Curtin - The man from Adelaide - what is his name?

Mr HAYDEN - There is another man who could very well be seen in Vietnam, not as a visiting entertainer but as a front line trooper. He has discovered that more money is to be made in this country by staying at home and talking about the glories of a war which other people are fighting. The Australian public and the honourable members on the Government back bench ought to reflect for a while on the hypocrisy, on this lack of sincerity. If they really believe all of these things that they say there is nothing in the Constitution and the laws of this country to prevent them from volunteering while they are members of this Parliament to serve in the Army and go to Vietnam. If they did this sort of thing we would be much more impressed. There are so many of them in the back benches of the Liberal Party who could fulfil this function without any trouble at all.

At the present time the young conscripts represent about 40% of the Australian troops in Vietnam. This is a significant climb above the 30% which we were told would be the composition of conscripts. There would not be any need for the number of conscripts to be as high if honourable members in the back benches opposite - the young, vigorous ones who make a fortune by talking about the glory of fighting and dying in this war and about the need for further troops in Vietnam - went to Vietnam and took with them the enthusiastic members of the Young Liberal organisation throughout Australia, the young members of the Democratic Labor Party and the young members of the Australian. Country Party. If that happened we would be impressed with their sincerity when they stand in this House and talk in the way that they do.

Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 1.36 a.m. (Thursday)

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