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Tuesday, 27 September 1966

Mr FAIRHALL - I find myself in some difficulty in dealing with a question of this kind-

Mr Bryant - The Minister usually does.

Mr FAIRHALL - Not for the reasons the honorable member thinks. I only want to pay due deference to the statement of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that he has been malevolently misreported on this matter. Therefore, I am unable to comment on whether, as has been reported in the newspaper, a timetable has been laid down, but if that is true it would indicate plainly that provisional on the people of this country electing a Labour Government on 26th November the new Government would find itself committed to some quite unpalatable decisions. The first would be to withdraw Australian troops, apparently without any prior consultation with our ally, the United States of America. Secondly, if this were done - and the honorable gentleman has only varied Labour's policy, if the statement was correct-

Mr Whitlam - It was not correct. The report was incorrect.

Mr FAIRHALL - I accept that, but the honorable gentleman can hardly deny that quite a number of people on his side of the

House, up to and including the Leader of the Opposition, his leader pro tem, has said that Labour would .withdraw all Australian forces if it won the election.

Mr Whitlam - I was answering questions. That question was not asked.

Mr FAIRHALL - I ask the honorable gentleman to clarify the matter on which I wish to comment - that the Leader of the Opposition, his pro tem leader-

Mr Whitlam - There are other newspapers that correctly reported the telecasts - for instance, the Brisbane " Courier-Mail ".

Mr FAIRHALL - For the moment, I am not dealing with the subject of the telecast. J am concerned only with the stated policy of the Opposition that, if elected to govern in November, Labour would withdraw the Australian troops. I can only say that this would repudiate treaties honorably entered into with our allies, the United States-

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - What treaties?

Mr FAIRHALL - The honorable member knows very well what treaties. Generally, it would leave our friends and neighbours in South East Asia completely on their ov/n to win a battle in which they have sought our support. Labour would certainly walk out on our allies. I remember that when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was in Vietnam quite recently he offered the opinion that the country could be militarily stabilised in the course of a couple of years and that we should be matching our military commitment with a civic affairs programme. Now the honorable gentleman appears to want to withdraw the military commitment. The fact is that the South Vietnamese, unable to deal with Communist infiltration and subversion, sought our help. What the Labour Party in this country says to the South Vietnamese and what it would say if it were elected to office is: " Well, get on with the war and see if you can win. If you do, we will do some minor repairs ". As everybody in this House knows, over a long period now any civic aid that has gone to Vietnam has been deliberately destroyed by the Communists. I recall that when we put a whole dairy farm in Bien Cat the Communists destroyed the cattle and wrecked the dairy.

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is false.


Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Americans bombed the dairy farm.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Eden-Monaro will keep quiet.

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Americans bombed the dairy farm.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - Order! I warn the honorable member for EdenMonaro.

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am merely stating the facts.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - Order! I name the honorable member for EdenMonaro.

Motion (by Mr. McEwen) put -

That the honorable member for Eden-Monaro be suspended from the service of the House.

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