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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1502


Mr MacKELLAR (Warringah) - I raise this matter of public importance because yesterday newspapers throughout Australia carried a report of a call to Australians to occupy the streets of Melbourne in a protest about the Vietnam war. The newspaper reports also stated that amongst the aims of the organisation calling the demonstration was the ending of the United States-Australia alliance. I want to make it quite clear to the House that the aim of the street demonstration is to support North Vietnam. Spelling out these aims and making the 'call for a mass return to the streets' - I use his words - was the shadow Minister for Trade and Industry, the honourable member for Lalor (Or J. F. Cairns).

It is true to say that in the past fair and reasonable men and women have expressed doubts as to the nature and conduct of the war in Vietnam. There have been many arguments as to the causes and the conduct of it. But I submit with respect to the present situation that there is absolutely no doubt at all as to which army crossed the demilitarised zone in the last 2 weeks. There is no doubt at all that at least 3 divisions of the North Vietnamese regular troops crossed the demilitarised zone in flagrant breach of the first, fifth and sixth Articles of the 1954 Geneva Agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Vietnam. I remind honourable members of those Articles. Article 1 states that 'A provisional military demarcation line shall be fixed'. It also goes on to state that 'a demilitarised zone shall be established' in order to avoid the resumption of hostilities. Article 5 refers to the avoidance of any incidents which might result in the resumption of hostilities and it goes on to state that 'all military forces, supplies and equipment shall be withdrawn from the demilitarised zone'. Article 6 states:

No person, military or civilian, shall be permitted to cross the provisional demarcation line unless specifically authorised to do so by the Joint Commission.

Yet in the last 2 weeks Divisions Nos 304, 308 and 324b of the North Vietnamese Regular Army have crossed that demilitarised zone. There can be absolutely no argument about this. Yet the honourable member for Lalor and his supporters are calling on Australians to support this invasion.

This latest aggression is not the only example of North Vietnam's military expansion. I would remind the House that North Vietnamese forces are at present operating in, fighting in and killing in Laos and Cambodia, as well as South Vietnam. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), who is not in the chamber at the present but who is a man not noted for his opposition to leftist causes, was himself forced to admit after a visit to Cambodia that that country was suffering invasion from North Vietnam. This armed invasion has not ceased, yet Australians are, being asked to support the invaders. There can be no argument that North Vietnam is a communist state. It supports, encourages and carries out subversion, murder, kidnapping, bomb and rocket attacks on innocent civilians, as well as carrying on the more conventional types of warfare. No less an authority than the great god Mao has said, when he has talked about war, that there should be no concern for stupid scruples about benevolence, righteousness and morality in war. Yet these are the people whom Australians are being called upon to support in the streets of Melbourne.

Let us have a look at how North Vietnam conducts the war. North Vietnam has consistently refused to allow International Red Cross inspection of prisoner of war camps. It has consistently refused to release full details of the prisoners of war held. It refuses to allow regular mail supplies to prisoners of war. It refuses to allow repatriation of sick and wounded prisoners of war. All these refusals are in direct contravention of the provisions of the Geneva convention on the treatment of prisoners of war. Yet Australians are being asked to support these people.

For 7 years Australians have fought and died and Americans and their allies have fought and died in Vietnam. For much longer South Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians have fought and died to protect their own country from being militarily over-run and subjugated by the communists of North Vietnam. Yet Australians are being asked to support the North Vietnamese. In the very simplest terms, the honourable member for Lalor and those supporting his aims are asking Australians to support a totalitarian regime and to reject and humiliate Australia's strongest ally. They are asking Australians to cast aside that nation which has supported Australia in 2 world wars; which, in the darkest hours of World War II, received an almost hysterical call for help from an Australian Labor Prime Minister, which responded to that call and has continued to respond and provide Australia with its greatest security against any external threat. The honourable member for Lalor would have us destroy that trust and security.

Perhaps this report and its implications would not be so alarming if it were just another obscure Labor Party backbencher making the call, but it is not, and this is what gives the. situation added danger. The honourable member for Lalor is a senior ALP shadow Minister. There can be no question of that. There can be no question also that if the Labor Party came to power tomorrow or at the next elections he would be a senior Cabinet Minister responsible for defence operations in this country and with access to all the secret negotiations which this country must continue with its allies. It is not as though he lacks support within his Party. Indeed,' the very opposite is true.. For he is widely acclaimed as being the leader of the Left within the ALP. It is only a couple of weeks ago that 2 Labor members within this House - the honourable members for Kingston (Dr Gun) and Hunter (Mr James) - rose and praised and lauded him for his knowledge, his humanity and his strivings for peace. Actually I think it was his contributions to the peace movement in Australia- yet another Communist front.

It is worth while to examine again the newspaper report to see what are really the aims of the honourable member for Lalor and his supporters. I think it cannot be denied that the newspaper report makes it clear that they support a Communist power - an enemy of Australia - and reject our strongest ally. The newspaper report makes it quite clear that the honourable member and his supporters do not seek but demand* - I use the word advisedly because it appears in the report - the end of the United States-Australian alliance. This brings the question of the alliance and the future of such agreements to ANZUS right out into the open. It has been known for many years that the forces of the Left within the ALP have sought to downgrade and destroy an alliance with the United States. We all remember the occasion when the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), then Leader of the Opposition, and the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) were ordered by the ALP organisation to oppose the establishment of the North West Cape installation.

The attitude of the ALP Left Wing has been clearly shown by the reactions of such notables as the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) to the establishment of the defence installations at Pine Gap. It was reflected in the attitude of the honourable member for Lalor when, in response to questions in May of last year, he stated that the ALP Left Wing had a very good chance of winning Federal Conference and Executive leadership of the Party. When questioned as to what changes this would bring if it occurred, the honourable member replied that the ALP policy would be changed to bring an end to the principle that the United States alli ance is crucial and that there would be a beginning of support for the human rights revolution around the world, more often expressed in the national liberation movements. We all know what happened at the Launceston conference just a couple of months after the honourable member for Lalor made his predictions. According to newspaper reports of the time it was only after the Leader of the Opposition had said that it would put an intolerable ' burden on the Party's electoral prospects to Completely discard the United States alliance that a compromise was reached. As we know, the Conference deleted reference to the crucial importance of the United States alliance and substituted a form of words which were to emasculate the ANZUS Treaty and make it a vague convention on human rights. Now, despite this compromise, the eventual result is obviously a win for the forces of the Left within the ALP. It is also very clear that this Left Wing victory was not an isolated thing but that, in fact, in any Labor government the Left would have the decisive votes. Yesterday's statement in the paper brought the issues into clear focus. It is absolutely no use for the Leader of the Opposition to cloud and dissemble on this issue. We have had frequent protestations both within and outside this House by the Leader of the Opposition endeavouring to support the view that the ALP has not changed its attitude towards the United States alliance but, in fact, has ' strengthened it.

These statements have now been given the lie once and for all by one of his senior colleagues - a man who came within a few votes of defeating the Leader of the Opposition in a contest for the leadership of his Party. They have been given the lie by the report of the call by the honourable member for Lalor for Australian action in support of a Communist state. They have been given the lie by an unequivocal demand for the end of the US-Australian alliance. It must not be imagined by anybody within or outside this House that the forces of the Left within the ALP are insignificant, because they are not. In this House all too frequently we get examples of their thinking. Only a few weeks ago we heard the honourable member for St

George (Mr Morrison) not only making wild, unsubstantiated charges but also expressing the opinion that international agreements were not worth the paper on which they were written. We have seen and heard at first hand the ALP's approach to Australia's responsibilities under the Five Power arrangements. We know that the Labor Party would not hesitate to take action to destroy that agreement despite continued statements from our near northern allies about the significance and worth of such arrangements. (Quorum formed)

It must be enormously comforting for our enemies to know that within the Labor Party in Australia, occupying positions of seniority and influence, are people who espouse the causes of our enemies. It must be disturbing, to say the least, to our allies to know that a significant power group within the ALP is antagonistic to our alliances and would seek to avoid our responsibilities. It should be of crucial importance to every Australian to know and appreciate that the very security of this country could be threatened should the Australian Labor Party, as presently composed, ever come to power.







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