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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1294

Mr JESS (La Trobe) - To a certain extent I agree with what the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) has said in respect of the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster). I can accept his description of the honourable member for Sturt as innocent, lacking experience and only wanting to know certain things. I think the honourable member for Sturt is a simple minded lad.


Mr JESS - Simple in the nicest manner, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable member to withdraw that remark.

Mr JESS - I withdraw it but what I was implying was simple in plain, ordinary, everyday, good terms. If I have to withdraw that I will say that he is not. I do not say the same thing of the honourable member for Reid. Over the years in this House we have listened to the honourable member for Reid speak on just about every defence installation within Australia and every defence commitment beyond Australia, and the views that he has propounded are, I think, clearly known to the Australian people We know also the repu tation of the honourable member for Reid in respect of the Moratorium marches and the various protests. They seem to have been all in the one direction. But I like this low posture of the honourable member for Reid now. The honourable member is saying: 'We simply want to know what the facts are'. In fact what he is saying is: 'We simply want to know what is beyond the walls. We simply want to know the secret information'.

Mr Bryant - Well, why shouldn't we?

Mr JESS - Not only do the honourable member for Reid and the honourable member for Wills want to know but also Australia's enemies and the enemies of the United States of America want to know.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wills is interjecting again. When he was out of his seat I requested him to refrain from interjecting. I warn the honourable member for Wills.

Mr JESS - lt may be just coincidence that many of these countries overseas with whom, in certain circumstances, we may be in conflict are spending thousands and thousands of pounds in trying to find out this very information. How considerate and how wonderful if, just on the bland assurance of a member, of Parliament on the other side of the House that he must be given this information because it is his right, the information is made available. 1 know that the majority of the members of the Opposition do not want to know. They realise that they are not entitled to know. If the honourable member for Reid was prepared to say: 'Although we do not give away our defence secrets and although the United States does not give away its defence secrets, my friends in the Soviet have told me everything, every location of their Polaris missiles, every site of their weapon bases and everything about their satellites that are flying over the earth at this time', that would be a different matter. Do not let anyone be naive enough to think that satellites do not have a defence capability and a defence effectiveness.

Now that we have his Leader's joy with China - the honourable member himself spoke about the hysteria of the Western world in watching the Chinese - should we no longer watch the Chinese? Is that what he says? Are we to hand the information to the Chinese on a plate? Is that what he is asking us to do? As I said last week - I am s:;re the honourable member for Sturt accepted it - if we want friends and if we have defence agreements with friends, we surely must accept some responsibility and a quid pro quo because we, as a small nation, are not yet able to stand by ourselves without friends. If the quid pro quo is that we have on our land weapon research establishments, satellite observation facilities and so on, that is something that we have to accept and something which I am sure the people of Australia are prepared to accept.

I challenge the honourable member for Reid and the honourable member for Wills to argue that aspect and to have it included in Labor policy. Reference wars made to resolutions passed at the Labor Parry's Federal Conference. I remind honourable members that it was the Labor Party's Federal Conference which, during or just after the last war, placed embargoes on its own members visiting the Woomera Rocket Range because Labor was not prepared to allow them to create unrest and to do the other things they may wish to do at this particular time. It is too easy. I find it incredible that the honourable member for Reid, the honourable member for Wills and other honourable members opposite should say: 'Tell us everything about every defence establishment and every secret that we have with our allies'. For how long would we have allies if we did that?

The honourable member for Reid talked about a learned gentleman in the United States who has written a book. One could quote statements made in the Australian Press, half of them woolly minded and half of them so wide of the mark that it does not matter, but the honourable member proclaims that anyone who agrees with his viewpoint must necessarily be right and must be a man of distinction. I do not know whether the honourable gentleman saw the 'Four Corners' programme at the weekend. I did not appreciate particularly the fact that the subject should have been put on the 'Four Corners' programme because I did not think it was a particularly good theme, but it must have been most disappointing to the honourable member for Reid and the honourable member for Wills to hear scientists in the

United Kingdom, the United States and in other countries endorse the fact that there is a necessity for tracking stations to track the satellites of the Soviet and of other countries which are operating in our air space. They played down the fact that Australia would be a prime target, that we would go into oblivion and that we must tell the people. In my opinion, half of the art of some members of the Opposition is to endeavour to terrify the people and to take away from the people the urge to resist. They have asked that all information be made available to them. If that were done, 1 have no doubt that that information would be passed on to their friends.

Before we all pass on 1 should like to hear the honourable member for Reid ask one day that the Soviet Union make available all information about its defences. I do not think he would deny that he goes to the Soviet Embassy. I am quite sure that the honourable member is persona grata there. He was rather upset that he did not go to China on the great mission. I say: Let him go; let him ask the Chinese exactly what their defence secrets are and what their provision for the defence of their homeland is; and let him bring that information back to the Australian people. Then we will give him greater credit for genuine concern for what is happening in this country at this time. Members of the Opposition are saying: 'We are playing this in a low posture. Do not let us have any hysteria. Just give us all the secrets. Give us the plan and we will be able to tell you whether it is right or wrong.' I would not give to some members of the Opposition a plan of the public toilet at Frankston because I do not think they would be able to restrain themselves from handing it over to somebody whom they felt they could impress.

Mr UREN(Reid)- 1 wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr UREN - Yes. I have been misrepresented in many ways in the speech by the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). I will deal only briefly with one. In fact, most of the allegations made against me by the honourable member were false.

I want to deal specifically with one allegation. It concerns what the honourable member said in 2 phrases. In one phrase he said that my criticism was directed only one way, meaning that I never criticise the Soviet Union. He also said: 'Let me one day see him oppose the Soviet policy*. Both statements are false. If the honourable member wants an examination of that, it is in the records of Hansard. When the former Minister for External Affairs and former honourable member for Forrest, Mr Gordon Freeth - the present Ambassador to Japan - introduced his infamous new Government line on the proposed Soviet security treaty in the Indian Ocean, etc., in 1969, I was the first in this Parliament to place on record strong criticism of our linking ourselves in any way in a security treaty with the Soviet Union, just as I criticised our involvement with the United States of America in Vietnam and our involvement with the United Kingdom in the Malaysian-Indonesian crisis.

Mr Jess - I rise to a point of order.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Reid has pointed out where he was falsely misrepresented.

Mr Jess - No, I do not think he has, with all respect.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! That is not a matter for the Chair to judge. The honourable gentleman is quoting an instance to prove that he was falsely misrepresented. I suggest to the honourable member for Reid that he contain his remarks and not debate the matter.

Mr UREN - I am not trying to debate the matter.

Mr SPEAKER -I am just suggesting to the honourable member that he do not do so.

Mr UREN -I thank you, Mr Speaker. The other aspect is in regard to my opposition to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. You, Mr Speaker, were away with me with the Inter-Parliamentary Union when I had a close association with one of the senior officials of the Czechoslovakian liberal government. I was one of the first to protest - and I protested probably more strongly than most other honourable members in this Parliament - against the Soviet invasion. Let me say that I have never accepted an invitation to any Soviet function since the day of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In fact, I informed the Russian Ambassador by letter that I would not accept any invitation to the Soviet Embassy until I thought the Soviet Union had changed its policy.

Mr JESS(La Trobe) - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr JESS - 1 do, indeed. I do not consider that I said at any time that the honourable member for Reid supported the Soviet Union. I said that 1 would be impressed if-

Mr Uren - I rise to a point of order.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat.

Mr Uren - I wish to take a point of order.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat.

Mr JESS - I did say that if the honourable member was prepared to obtain from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China details of their instruments and weapons installations he would be more impressive.

Mr Bryant - Mr Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented.

Mr Bryant - No. I wish to speak in this debate.

Mr SPEAKER -I call the honourable member.

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