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Thursday, 11 May 1972
Page: 2400

Mr JARMAN (DEAKIN, VICTORIA) - Has the Minister for Foreign Affairs seen the call by certain unions for a stop work meeting tomorrow to demonstrate in Melbourne and Sydney against the United States? Will the Minister reaffirm the Australian Government's belief in the value of the ANZUS Treaty to the defence of Australia and will he reassure the Australian people that the Government will give all moral support to President Nixon in his efforts to bring a peace to Vietnam which will ensure the freedom of the South Vietnamese people to choose their own form of government?

Mr N H BOWEN (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Dealing with the last part of the honourable gentlemen's question first, the Australian Government and, 1 believe, the Australian people understand and support the action which the United States has had to take. Certainly, the Government has announced its support and I believe that the vast majority of the Australian people understand and support this action. One might compare the situation in Vietnam to a thug attacking a victim in the street with some fairly powerful accomplices helping him and the victim attempting to defend himself and one or two friends coming to his assistance. We have the extraordinary spectacle of the victim who is defending himself and those who are helping him being described as the aggressors. This is double talk; an example of double thinking. The fact is that to this point no-one has ever tried to invade North Vietnam or take its territory. In fact, the invasion clearly is with armed forces from the north. Such an invasion must provoke an attempt to defend. The reaction here reveals 2 stands in the thinking of the Opposition and the left wing of the Labor Party. (Opposition members interjecting) -

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - Order! The House will come to order.

Mr N H BOWEN (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - At question time we have become accustomed to the fact that the Opposition can be compared only to the Belles of St Trinians. To continue, the 2 strands which are revealed in the actions and the words of the Opposition are, firstly, that there is a sense of satisfaction - this was revealed by the words of the Leader of the Opposition when speaking the other night in response to my statement on foreign affairs - that before the imposition of this blockade there existed in North Vietnam sufficient equipment and arms to enable the North to achieve its objectives and succeed. The Leader of the Opposition talked about success for the North. This policy is consistent with the call for a demonstration in the streets in support of the North Vietnamese. The other strand in the thinking of the Opposition is its fundamental and deep anti-American feeling. We have been aware of this feeling in the left of the Labour Party, but I leave honourable members and the Australian people to judge for themselves the extent of antiAmerican feeling contained in the statement that the Leader of the Opposition made in response to my statement on foreign affairs and in his attack on President Nixon and on the American people. This is revealed-

Mr Uren - Mr Acting Speaker, 1 take a point of order. May I draw your attention to the length of Minister's replies this morning? Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke at great length in replying to questions and I ask you, Mr Acting Speaker, to rule that they should shorten their replies so that members can ask questions.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - In reply to the honourable member for Reid I suggest to Ministers that they shorten their answers.

I suggest also that interjections from both sides of the House do not help to shorten answers from Ministers. Yesterday at question time I was endeavouring to call some honourable members who had asked only 2 questions since this sessional period commenced.I suggest that all honourable members and Ministers might assist in enabling individual members to ask more questions.

Mr N H BOWEN (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I will deal withthe remaining part of the honourable member's question relating to ANZUS. One had the view that the alteration which was made at the Launceston Conference to the policy on ANZUS which eliminated the military content may just have been the view of the left wing of the Labor Party, although that amendment was in fact moved by the Leader of the Opposition. If one looks at what the Leader of the Opposition said in his speech on the foreign affairs statement, it is quite clear that it is his view-

Mr Scholes - I take a point of order. Mr Acting Speaker-

Mr N H BOWEN (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And it is the view of the-

Mr Scholes - Mr Acting Speaker, is it in order for the Minister to keep talking while another member is on his feet? It is a complete abandonment of the standards of the House. You should call the Minister to order. It is a disgrace to the House-

Mr ACTING SPEAKER -The honourable member for Corio will state his point of order.

Mr Scholes - My point of order is that the Minister is abusing the forms of the House by debating a matter which was not included in the question. He has been speaking for 10 minutes now. If he made a statement on the matter after question time the House could deal with it. He has adopted the coward's castle approach of answering a question instead of making a speech.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER -I point out to the honourable member for Corio that a Minister may answer a question in his own way. I ask the honourable member for Bowman, who is interjecting, to restrain himself. I have suggested previously that interjections do not help in any way during question time. I would point out to the Minister that 2 factors are involved. One is the length of answers and the second is the revival of matters that have been debated previously in the House.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mr Acting Speaker,I conclude by saying that in the view of the Government the ANZUS Treaty is as vital today in the difficult circumstances in which we, in the 1970s, live as it was at any time since it was brought into operation.

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