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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr SPEAKER -Order! 1 would suggest to both the Minister and the Leader of the Opposition that the cross-fire across the table cease and that the Chair be addressed in the correct manner.

Mr McMAHON - I assure you, Mr Speaker, that in deference to your wishes 1 will not retaliate. If I may continue uninterrupted I will deal with the consequences of the situation mentioned by the honourable gentleman. If we look at the tactics being displayed by the Leader of the Opposition we will see there is a deliberate effort to confuse the issues and by political deceit to try to prevent the Australian people from being well informed as to what is happening. As to the substance of the question, if there had been a withdrawal of allied forces on a completely unconditional basis, as recommended by the Leader of the Opposition in 1967, there is no doubt at all that by now the South Vietnamese would have been conquered by the North Vietnamese, that Laos and Cambodia would have fallen and, I believe, that the Thais and Malaysians would have been threatened.

Mr Bryant - None of us would have been safe in bed.

Mr McMAHON - You did not say that when you came back from Cambodia.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wills has been continually interjecting during Question Time. I warn the honourable member.

Mr McMAHON - For those who have memories and a conscience, I remind the House-

Mr Gorton - There is only one bloke with a conscience and that is the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr McMAHON - He says he has a conscience, but he has not. For those with consciences I remind the House and the Australian people of the massacres which took place of those who disagreed with the North Vietnamese when the Communist regime took control. I remind the House of the massacre of 5,800 people which took place at the northern university capital of Hue. The people of South East Asia believe that if the Indo-Chinese states were defeated and occupied and their futures determined by the Communists, the same kind of massacres would occur in their countries. This is the kind of problem I am sure the honourable member for Bennelong has been thinking about but the kind of problem which is completely ignored by the Labor Party. The so-called voice of conscience of the Labor Party is completely still when this kind of problem is being considered. Let me turn to the realities of life. Australia is there to maintain the independence and neutrality of those countries and, for that matter, the independence and neutrality of all the countries of South East Asia. We are not prepared to see them conquered by the Communists.' What are we doing? The President of the United States has recently stated a new initiative and that is that there should be a negotiated settlement based upon a standstill cease fire and that there should be a political settlement based on the present political realities in those states. Just listen to the feminine hysterical laughter coming from the honourable member for Lalor. This offer of a negotiated settlement has been made. So far we have had no-

Mr Uren - Why did the Burmese dislike you so much?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! 1 said at the beginning of Question Time that I will not have it continually interrupted by interjections which, as all honourable members know, are out of order. If the continual chatter from the front bench continues I will name the next offender.

Mr Whitlam - I rise to order. You would assist the conduct which quite rightly you advise if you were to deter Ministers from intruding gratuitous references to other honourable members. The Minister for External Affairs has made a reference to a member of my front bench and you point out quite correctly that it would be disorderly for the member so named to respond. It would be much easier if such gratuitous references were not allowed.

Mr SPEAKER -If I correctly recall the interjection I heard - it may not have been audible to the Leader of the Opposition - perhaps I should have taken stronger action than I did.

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - I rise to order. With due respect, Mr Speaker, is it not a fact, that members are required not be to provocative? The Minister for External Affairs is exquisitely provocative and I think that this ought to be taken into account.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order in this regard. The honourable member himself has been continually carrying on an undercurrent of interjections.

Mr McMAHON - I was saying that the President of the United States has taken this initiative to have a negotiated settlement on the basis that the states of Indo-China should be free and neutral and that we should give them the opportunity to determine their own future. I have not heard one member of the Opposition support the initiative taken by the President and supported by our own Prime Minister and by the Liberal-Country Party Government. What this clearly indicates is that they want the Communist Party of North Vietnam and, for that matter, the Peking Communists, to dominate the whole of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula and subsequently to be able to exercise at the minimum political hegemony throughout the whole of South East Asia and, I think, ultimately to go well beyond that.

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