Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 15 May 1931

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I am sure that every member of this Parliament believes in his heart that Australia should do all that it can to assist in the practically world-wide movement which exists to-day to bring about international peace.

I support most heartily the motion before the Senate this morning. To a very great extent, I am impelled to do that because of what I know is being done in the world to-day by organizations which, by close application and study, are endeavouring to bring about such a desirable state of affairs.

We have heard a good deal of the work of the League of Nations. I do not intend to speak of that to-day, because it is generally recognized that the League of Nations is engaged in a work that ultimately must advance the welfare of every community in the world. But a remark of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce) just before he sat down impels me to say that the objects of the League of Nations, in connexion with international peace, can be achieved only by the cultivation of a spirit of goodwill, not only by one nation towards another, but also within the ranks of their own people. The people of each nation must realize that they comprise only a portion. of the world's population, and that they must give consideration to all other people. There must be a gradual abandonment of the selfish motives that for years past have actuated many countries, and that have been the cause of a good deal of the trouble which has arisen. Those motives have been provocative, not of peace, but of war, of hatred instead of goodwill. A little while ago, I had the privilege of participating in what I consider to be one of the most intellectual treats that it has been the privilege of any Australian to enjoy. It was an address delivered in Melbourne by a visitor from China, Dr. Koo, on the subject of the international mind. One could not but be impressed with the soundness of his arguments, and the earnestness of his endeavour to convey to the Australian people the fact that what was needed more than anything else in the world to-day was the creation and the cultivation of an international mind by the people of every country. He pointed out that, unfortunately, the opinions formed by the people of one country with respect to those of another were based upon their experience of a certain type with which they had been brought into contact, but which was not truly representative of the nation. He urged that the Australian people, as well as the people of other countries, should endeavour to learn as much as possible of the problems that assail every country.

Three years ago, I had the privilege of meeting about 500 public men, representative of 38 different countries, at what I consider one of the most important conferences that could he held. It was a conference of the . Inter-Parliamentary Union, held in Berlin. It was a movable conference, the object of which was to bring about peace and goodwill among the various nations of the world. This organization, which has in it quite a strong representation of the members of the British Parliament, has been hard at work for twenty odd years in an endeavour ,to bring together parliamentary representatives of the different nations, for the discussion of problems that affect every nation, and through them to cultivate a state of mind that must assist materially towards the attainment of the objects for which the League of Nations stand. I quote the following extract from a booklet entitled InterParliamentary Union; Its Work and its Organization.

Before 1914 the members of the Union met eighteen times in conference. They were received in all the large capitals of Europe; in 1 S92, at Berne and onwards. The conferences took place in Houses of Parliament, and were shortly after greeted by the heads of the States and their Ministers. In 1904 the members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union crossed the Atlantic to meet on American soil at St. Louis. In 1906, at the opening of the London conference, which was actively concerned with the preparations for the second Hague conference the Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, said in his inaugural speech: With the purpose of your mission, let me say at once, His Majesty's Government desire unreservedly to associate themselves. It is their hope that your delibrations will do much to promote a closer understanding between the nations. You have indeed done much since the new century began to give shape and substance to the growing, the insistent desire that war may be banished from the earth."

As the motion under discussion relates to the pacific settlement of international disputes, I am directing the attention of the Senate to the important work being done by an organization which has that objective in view. I express the hope that anything I may say in this connexion will stimulate, if only to some small degree, a desire on the part of the people of Australia to take a greater interest in these matters which, until the termination of the Great War did not concern the Australian people to any extent. After the termination of the Great War, Australia attained the status of a nation, and since then we have realized that while enjoying the benefits of nationhood we have also to accept greater responsibilities with respect to international matters.

A further interesting quotation from the booklet to which I have referred reads -

The aim of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is to unite in common action' the members of all Parliament's constituted in national groups, in order to secure the co-operation of their - respective States in the firm establishment, and the democratic development of the work of international peace and co-operation between nations by means' of a universal organization of nations. Its object is also to study all questions of an international character suitable for settlement by Parliamentary action.

The object of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is similar to that of the League of Nations, which has repeatedly recognized its magnificant work I have taken this opportunity to bring under the notice of the Senate, the work being done by this union in the direction of securing international peace, which can be achieved only by a close and persistent study of the vital problems involved. I support the motion.

Suggest corrections