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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1296

Mr BRYANT (Wills) - I will be very brief. There are several points that the honourable member for La Trobe (Mi Jess) half made. I take one point. He certainly would not give anybody the plans for a toilet at Frankston. He would try to sell them at a profit. The facts in regard to our bases are these: I personally believe that the establishment of foreign bases on Australian soil is a piece of national treachery. Australians must retain absolute control of their own sou, their own rights and their own future. It seems to me the issue on foreign bases in this country is this: First of all we are placed under ransom by the foreign policy of a foreign country. The decision as to whether a base in this country will come under attack will be made by somebody else and it will be a decision over which we can have no control. The second point relates to this question of secrecy. While it might be all right to keep secret whether the Government intends to raise pensions it will not really matter to the community in the long run whether it knows. Of course people like to know. But on all these issues of foreign policy this Government is dealing in matters of life and death for perhaps the whole nation and therefore the whole nation must be taken into its confidence.

Nobody is suggesting that we want to know some final details of scientific achievement which put us in front of everybody else. We want to know what we are committed to with Pine Gap and every other base. We want to know the final terms upon which these bases are permitted. We as members of this Parliament want to know every possible detail about them. 1 have sat in this Parliament while 3 Ministers have held the portfolio of Minister for Defence. They are the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) who is temporarily and currently the Minister for Defence. Each one of those honourable gentlemen in the portfolio as Minister for Defence has apparently had some mystic capacity to know these things and not betray the country. The right honourable member for Higgins a few months ago was entitled to know all these things. It was quite safe for him to know everything then, but now that he has been placed on the back bench that capacity has been lost and he is no longer to be trusted. It is all nonsense.

The honourable member for La Trobe pays the people of Australia little compliment. He pays the members of this House little compliment. On this question of the United States alliance he brought out the old furphy that we cannot look after ourselves. I believe we have a greater capacity now to look after ourselves than has ever been developed or is ever likely to be needed. I have no faith whatsoever - and I say this as emphatically as anyone may like - in the constitutional processes of the American system. The United States alliance would not necessarily be of use to us when the chips are down. I believe this Government has placed us in a position where we are completely helpless as the creatures of someone else's foreign policy. This Government is not prepared to take the community into its confidence and it is denying its duty to the community. I said from the word go, before the North West Cape base was established, that I believe the establishment of foreign bases in this country and the alienation of our territory to another country is a piece of national treachery. And the honourable member for La Trobe is one of the guilty parties.

Motion (by Mr Scholes) negatived:

That the question be now put.

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