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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 2311

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) - 1 would like to . take ¬ęthe opportunity during this debate, in the short time of 10:-minutes allowed, to' say 'a few words about the problems being presented by what I see as- the' inadequacies of foreign aid, particularly when I consider the activities and the good work being done at the moment by the Action for World Development movement. The Action for World Development movement came into existence as' the brainchild of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic "Church. It has existed primarily as a lobby group concerned with "petitioning governments, making its views known and putting itself forward as the conscience of the developed countries of the world as far as the problem of poverty in the under-developed countries is concerned.

Let me start by quoting from an introduction to the book 'The Challenge of World Poverty' by Gunnar Myrdal. The introduction was written by . Francis O. Wilcox -who is probably well known as the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies at Washington in the United States of America. The introduction was written at the end of 1969, so it is a little dated. He said:

As we move into the 1970s, 2 great problems stand out above all others: (1) how the world community can avoid the kind of conflicts that might lead to all-out nuclear war; and (2) how we can utilise world resources so that mankind may be able to meet the urgent challenge of poverty and then move on to better things.

Professor Wilcox went on to add:

The sad truth is that we have not made very much progress on either of these fronts. On the economic side, there has been a great deal of talk but not nearly enough capital for development purposes. . . . Ten years ago the United Nations declared the 1960s the Decade of Development.

The problem that was posed by the learned gentleman seems to be still with us. If we analyse the history of aid from developed countries to under-developed countries we do not have a very pretty picture in terms of proper motives or altruism.

It is not very difficult to cast one's mind back to the end of the Second World War and recall Marshall Aid. Marshall Aid was poured into Europe in particular and was primarily intended as a political weapon to contain communism. .It is true that it helped to put Europe on Its feet, and it was -successful in achieving both ends. But if would be a mistake to confuse the altruism" that is sometimes identified with Marshall Aid with the prime political purpose it was intended to serve. The history of foreign aid can' be traced since that time. It. does, not have an earlier history. The movement of men, materials and wealth to and from the developed and the undeveloped countries before the Second World War was mainly a matter of what could be called the imperialistic and neoimperialistic systems. When foreign aid came into existence after the Second World War it was primarily intended to achieve a political aim. The Russians gave steel mills to the Indians. We poured money in here and there wherever we thought it would serve our own selfish interests. If the recipients benefited, no harm was done.

But let us not fool ourselves: We were thinking of ourselves. That can be seen in the preference given to bi-lateral types of aid as opposed to multi-lateral types of aid. France - it is one of the countries that exceeds the Australian contributions - poured its aid into Tunisia and the exFrench colonies. The Netherlands -in a different way did the same sort of thing. That is another country that exceeds Australia's contributions. We did exactly the same thing in Papua New Guinea. I am not really suggesting that this should not be done, because we are all human beings, but I think we do ourselves a disservice when we put forward the idea that we are doing it because we really want to help that country for its own sake. We do not, except insofar as its improvement benefits us.

When we examine the failings of the foreign aid schemes of the world we observe the waste, the inefficiency and, in particular, the wealth that has been given to corrupt regimes and governments in under-developed countries irrespective of how they used that aid. One sees the same situation developed to the stage of being a caricature, because then it really is wasted and it only perpetuates a regime that foists itself on the people of that particular area. We must learn to realise, as Wendell Willkie once said, that we need one world or a global village and to rely more on the multi-lateral agencies even if, when contrasted with our own narrow national interests, we say: They may not spend the money. They may not give the aid Li the interests of Australia in particular.' The United Nations agencies might well say that it is better to put the Australian contribution into area X irrespective of whether area X impinges on Australia's national interest. Surely that is the sophisticated and the civilised way of doing things. Yet we still cling to the old way.

What I am trying to say can be put another way. If I am correct in suggesting that we give our aid to benefit ourselves we fail to give aid to those areas of greatest need where it does not help us. I think there will be general agreement from the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Labor Party that excessive population is one of the world's great problems. The United Nations has a development programme and has formed a body called the United Nations Fund for Population Activities which is designed to finance and subsidise family planning groups in underdeveloped countries. This in itself reflects the great need there is to somehow stop the population explosion, put a blanket over it or slow down the level of population in underdeveloped countries so that the ever widening gap between the developed countries and the undeveloped countries can be bridged.

The United Nations Fund for Population Activities became fully operational in 1970. The Australian Government has been lamentable in its complete neglect and rejection of this body. We have given nothing to it. We stand out virtually like a sore thumb among the developed countries of the world in this respect. A target figure of $15m was first set out for this body. The figure was revised in 1971 and became $25m. The Government of the United States has made a contribution of $12.5m. Countries which have contributed to this body include Denmark, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, India, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom and so on. I could give an ever increasing list of developed and underdeveloped countries that have made a contribution to this all-important fund which operates in a field where many people think the real solution to the problem lies. Yet Australia does nothing. I am suggesting that the reason Australia does nothing is because no immediate return to Australia is seen.

Mr Giles - What nonsense.

Mr ENDERBY - That must be right.

Mr Giles - That is the silliest remark I have heard you make for a long while,

Mr ENDERBY - Well, the honourable member is wrong. This shortsighted Liberal-Country Party coalition Government can see no mileage in it for itself, so it gives nothing at all.

Let me finish on this note: The honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) quoted with approval the suggestion that some body like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation be set up to co-ordinate this sort of thing and speak with the other nations that have statutory bodies such as the British, the Canadians and the Americans and to work through the United Nations. We have nothing like that. Our Government refuses to have anything to do with such a proposition. The only party which has anything to say on this subject is the Australian Labor Party. It is a firm plank in its policy to do just that very thing - to reorganise the administration and to establish a mutual co-operation agency. I would like to finish my speech with a quote from Mr Robert McNamara, who is well known as an ex-Defense Secretary of the United States and who is now a Chairman of the World Bank. He said:

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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