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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2351

Mr BRYANT (WILLS, VICTORIA) - I address my question to the Minister for the Navy. In what way is the presence of Russian ships in the Indian Ocean a threat to Australia? On what occasions has the Soviet Union evinced hostility to Australia of such a nature as to threaten us with aggression? Is it not a fact that in both World War I and World War II the Russians were on our side in a very powerful form at a time when their friendship was needed, and ought not we set out to generate friendship with the Russians rather than provoke their hostility?

Mr Whitlam - Have you forgotten the Crimean War?

Mr BRYANT -- Perhaps it is the fact that they are refloating the 'Cerberus' that has aroused his feelings on the matter.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member is now giving information!

Dr MACKAY - In the interests of accuracy, the blanket statement that in the last 2 World Wars Russia was on our side is not the complete picture. Honourable members will recall that in the early stages of the Second World War this was not quite so. With regard to the question of a Russian presence and its potential threat, I would remind the House that the Indian Ocean is a very important trade route not only for ourselves but also for other neighbour nations in whose economic affairs we have considerable interest. 1 should have thought that the equipment of warships and especially the modern sophisticated warships capabilities are a fair enough demonstration that money and time are not spent in building them for anything other than the purpose of intruding into world politics and using the sanctions of force as an inducement for achieving the national aims of the country concerned. When we have around our shores and in our immediate vicinity a build-up of armed might, I believe that it is of concern and should be studied closely by every thinking Australian.

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