Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 11 November 1971
Page: 3339

Dr EVERINGHAM (Capricornia) - The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) sees things in black and white terms. He said that because members of the Australian Labor Party repudiate the idea that Australia must follow slavishly behind another nation which has been friendly to us in a world war, we are crawling into bed with Communist China. The disease from which he suffers is a very common one in international relations.

Questions were put to a series of adult people in the United States regarding certain kinds of international behaviour in certain abstract situations which are concrete enough when one looks around the world. They were asked to comment on what the significance of this behaviour would be - whether it would indicate a propaganda exercise, whether it would indicate genuine concern for another nation and so on. The score came out 4 to 1 in favour of the United States as compared with Russia in performing exactly the same kinds of acts in the same hypothetical situations. In other words, given certain situations between nations and asked to interpret the acts of those nations, the people condemned Russia 4 times as often as their own country, the United States.

Some children in a United States school were shown a picture of a peaceful lane with rows of trees along the edges and they were asked why those trees were planted. When it was explained to them that the trees were in Russia they produced such reasons as 'So that people can hide behind them', 'So that they cannot be seen', 'So that people can escape readily' and so on. When they were told that the trees were in the United States, the children said that they were there for windbreaks and to keep down the dust. This is the sort of disease we see in the honourable member for La Trobe who has just retreated in a hurry from the chamber.

The image that enemy nations form of each other does, more or less, correspond to reality. If they fail to recognise this, their enemies might be treacherous and warlike and they would not long survive. Nevertheless, the fact remains tha/ this enemy image impedes the resolution of all sorts of conflicts and this is not good enough. The Labor Party says: 'Yes, we will have defence but we will not have a complete sellout to our great and powerful allies. We do not want them walking into Pine Gap on our territory telling us how to run it, telling us what it is for when it suits them, allowing their members of Parliament to walk in when it suits them, allowing our people to go and take some part only when it suits them and telling us that it is not necessary for defence purposes for us to know what is going on.'

There is no coherence or logic in the attitude which implies that because one puts a sensible and reasonable case for the legal claims of China to the island of Taiwan, Quemoy or Matsu, therefore, one is crawling into bed with somebody. This has nothing to do with the case. It is a sign of a diseased mind which can link 2 actions together, and when this type of disease in the mind is transferred into foreign policy, we get the sort of thing which has led Australia into a disastrous exercise in Vietnam - a hopeless and unwinnable situation where we have taken part in the killing of more than one million people on the grounds that if we had got out and let the Communists have their way a million people would have been killed. We are in Vietnam in support of a regime which has been guilty of all the atrocities and all the police state crimes from which we claim to be saving the people. We have saved the people from such a regime and handed them over to another such regime with the expenditure of their lives and ours and of our treasure and goodwill.

This year is the International Year against Racial Discrimination. It is the second year of the United Nations second development decade in which we are pledged to do such things as constructively to build up the standard of living and the quality of life in those nations less able to do it without our help. Our total expenditure on wars and war preparations is approximately 6 times the amount we spend on that kind of aid, including all our aid to New Guinea, which represents more than one-half of our civil aid. I might say that New Guinea adds substantially to the Australian economy and contributes far more to Australian companies than it takes from us in civil aid. In other words, from a moral and just point of view, our aid to New Guinea is the least we can do for the boost that our economy receives from Australian investment in New Guinea. So if we are going to be honest about the level of our foreign aid we should reduce it by more than 50 per cent, and we should say that we are prepared to spend on wars and on preparations for wars 10 times as much as we spend on foreign aid at a time when there is no immediate military threat to Australia. That is the proper measure of the disease shown by the honourable member for La Trobe and by the policies of this Government.

We are also in the second year of the first disarmament decade. Our moves in this direction have again been halting, hesitant and guided by great and powerful friends. We follow in their footsteps as though they were our infallible fathers. We take no initiatives towards the disarming of the world. With reluctance we sign various conventions against the spread of weapons. There is none of the statesmanship that was shown by the last Foreign Minister of a Labor government, Dr Evatt, when he fought at the United Nations for the interests of small nations and against the veto which most people now agree is one of the things that is hamstringing any possibility of the rule of law in the world. He fought for an ideal upon which this Government turns its back.

Small countries, such as the Scandinavian countries, are moving in favour of the reform of the United Nations Charter next year, to move that body towards what it must become if the world is ever to be ruled by law instead of war. What does this Government do? It does not support moves for the review of the United Nations Charter. After repeated questions and letters that I have sent to succeeding Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers in this Parliament, they have not made any moves towards notifying the Australian people that such a review is on the United Nations agenda for next year. They have not made any moves towards making public what will be an essential change in the United Nations Charter, to make the United Nations a legislative body capable of enforcing laws in those matters which cause disputes between nations and give it democratic elective representation instead of being a diplomats club, as it is at the present time, with no elective power. There have been no moves towards giving the International Court of Justice compulsory jurisdiction in those matters which otherwise lead to war as the only solution left. No moves have been made towards expanding the police force of the United Nations.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Suggest corrections