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Thursday, 8 March 1973
Page: 429

Mr JARMAN (Deakin) - I am very pleased to join in this debate to make my first speech in the Parliament as an Opposition member. I have had the pleasure of serving with you, Mr Speaker, on the Public Accounts Committee and 1 have travelled overseas with you on a delegation to Asia. I feel that I have, been as closely associated with you as 1 have been with any other member of the former opposition. I have grown to respect and to like you, and 1 am sure that you will do a fine job as Speaker of this House.

You hold the office of Speaker of this House for the very reason that Australia has had a change of government for the first time in 23 years. In the election campaign of 1972 we were told by the Labor Party that it was time for a change and, for better or for worse, a change it is. The election of a Labor Government was a personal victory for the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and one must congratulate him and his Parry on the win that they have had. One cannot deny that if democracy is to work it is proper that there should be a change of government from time to time. Probably one of the reasons why the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry, Dr Cairns, led the mobs to demonstrate in the streets was a certain frustration at not being able to get his point of view accepted at the ballot box.

In December last the Labor Party presented the Australian people with a campaign of soft sell. We were given a campaign of gimmicks, T-shirts, slogans and singing commercials^ - and it worked. The Australian Labor Party knew it was selling itself on a slogan. Many voters now feel, however, that they may have been sold a pup. The climb to power by the Labor Party started in 1966, the year in which Harold Holt led the Liberal and Country Parties to the greatest victory of any Australian government since Federation. In the aftermath of that devastating defeat, the Labor Party chose as its leader the present Prime Minister, and a good choice he appeared to be at that time. He was a man of no mean talent; he was educated; he was presentable; and apparently be was quite moderate in his views. In short, he could be sold to the Australian people much more easily than some of his more traditional Labor Party contemporaries. From the outset he realised that the Labor Party had been kept from office, by the fears of the Australian people of the left wing elements of his Party and left wing unions, particularly in Victoria. So he set out to put his house in order.

To do this he gathered around htm an expert team of architects, comprising a federal secretary, top public relations and advertising men and, of course, a first class speech writer. Between them they set about redesigning and re-structuring the house so as to give it a more modern and contemporary look - one which would appeal. But there were hazards and problems associated with the reconstruction, especially in relation to the many demarcation disputes between his sub-contractors in general and those from Victoria in particular.

He found it particularly difficult to deal with the Hartley-Crawford partnership in the south. He and his Deputy, the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard), are still having the same problems today. Nonetheless, after many modifications the reconstruction was completed and the house was advertised for rent in December 1972. Indeed, it looked a fair proposition by comparison with the longestablished, somewhat older, Liberal PartyCountry Party home across the street.

So the tenants, feeling that they were exercising sound judgment, called in the removalists and installed a Labor Government. The present Prime Minister became what we might call the new landlord. That was only 3 months ago and already ominous signs are beginning to appear. In Victoria in particular, where most of the papering over was done, cracks are beginning to show through. The Left is no longer prepared to be silent as it was prior to the election. Television viewers only last week saw the attempt by Mr Hartley of the Victorian Executive of the Australian Labor Party to depict the Deputy Prime Minister and his Deputy Leader as weak because he would not bow to the left wing of the ALP Victorian Executive on the issue of United States bases in Australia. That battle is still to be fought out finally at the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party this year.

But back in December when the Australian Labor Party was seeking to become the Government it made a promise of 4 weeks annual leave for public servants. It failed, however, to emphasise what we are now told is Labor's policy, namely, that a Labor Government would show preference to unionists. In other words, if public servants want the extra week's leave they must join a union, whether they like it or not. This, of course, is only an extension of the policy of the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke, who some time ago blackmailed retailers into employing only union labour. So, to keep his job, the shop assistant was forced to join a union. Now it is the public servant's turn.

The unions consequently grow more powerful and more wealthy and at election time they have more money to donate to the ALP to keep a Labor Government in power. One can well understand the feelings of a conscripted unionist who belongs to and works for some other Party, knowing that part of his wages is going to support and to keep the ALP in office. It is a strange reversal for a Party which opposes conscription for the defence of Australia to seek to justify conscription of wage earners into unions. The latest announcement is that Federal Government contracts will be restricted to firms that are on good terms with the unions. What kind of blackmail is this?

The Government is in fact saying to the industry: 'If you upset the unions we will see to it that you will not continue to receive Government contracts'. In other words industry must bow to the unions or go bankrupt. No firm will dare to stand up to the unions, however unjust the demands made upon it. This means in effect that the unions will allocate all Federal Government contracts. What a sorry state of affairs we have reached. The Government contracts should be awarded to firms which can do the most satisfactory job at the cheapest price. The allocation of contracts should have absolutely nothing to do with a firm's attitude to unionism, compulsory or otherwise. For some time the Labor Party has promoted the idea that it has thrown off its blue collar image. The electorate was assured that the Party was no longer just a sectional party and that we had nothing to fear from militant unionism. The fact is that the Government intends to elevate the trade union movement to a unique position in the community. This is the result of the amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act foreshadowed by the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron).

This legislation will provide that unions will be free of sanctions, free from action for tort and free from prosecutions for breaches of contract or conspiracy which may arise in connection with an industrial dispute. The dry rot which is evident in the Labor house is the result of a long term sickness in 2 major areas - the trade union movement's influence on the political wing of the Party and the Party's attitude to defence and foreign policy. It is of interest that both issues have played a prominent part in the Government's performance since it took office. If ever it was suggested that the major parties were basically the same, certainly the Government's actions on defence and foreign policy must explode that myth.

In just 3 months we have witnessed a retreat towards isolationism, an attempt by a section of the Labor Party to destroy the American alliance, and the intensification of a campaign to terminate the Five Power Defence Arrangements. If there is one consistent thread running through the present Government's foreign and defence policies it has been its actions to embrace the communist countries of the world, whilst maintaining a distinct move away from our former friends and allies. It has been a policy of thumbs to the nose to Britain and the United States. As far as Britain is concerned, the oath of allegiance to the Queen is to be scrapped and a search is to be made for a national anthem to replace 'God Save The Queen'. I suppose the next step by this Government could well be the removal of the Union Jack from the Australian flag. But the attitude of this Government to Britain is nothing compared to the bitter and vindictive attacks made by some of its senior Ministers upon the United States. Ignoring the principle of Cabinet Government whereby only the Minister responsible for foreign affairs, in this case the Prime Minister, expresses the Government's view on that subject, 3 senior Ministers saw fit to have their say. Criticism of the United States policy is one thing but the hysterical nature of the outbursts deeply shocked not only the Australian people but friendly nations around the world.

Let us take a look at what these Ministers had to say. In the 'Sydney Morning Herald' the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) called on Australian unions to boycott the United States and referred to the United States Government as maniacs. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) called the United States President arrogant and a hypocrite and referred to the policy of the United States Government as thuggery. Of course, the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. P. Cairns) declared his distrust of the United States President and issued a statement in conjunction with Senator Brown of Victoria saying that President Nixon was insensible to world opinion and contemptuous of world leaders. At the same time as these outbursts were being made the left wing Australian maritime unions were busy banning the loading and unloading of United States ships in Australian ports but they were soon forced to back down when the United States unions used the same tactics on Australian ships, lt is also of some concern to read in the Sydney Morning Herald' an article by Roy McCartney, who is the newspaper's staff correspondent in Washington, in which he said that Australia's relations with the United States were disturbed and the Government's words and actions were blamed. The Washington correspondent of the Melbourne Sun', Peter Costigan, wrote an article which appeared under a big photograph of the Minister for Overseas Trade and the heading The President Is Not Amused'. I would like to read from this article because it is so true of what this Government has done to wreck Australia's relations with the United States and friendships which have existed for many years. Peter Costigan in his article said:

The lifting of the Australian maritime unions ban on American shipping ended the worst week ever in U.S.-Australian diplomatic relations.


That is, President Nixon - has already acted angrily against the Australian Government . . .

The maritime unions' ban did not bother the President personally. Whether he directed it or just sat by while it happened, he regarded the counter ban by American East coast watersiders as a satisfactory tit for tat.

Nor was he that much bothered by the strong criticism of him by men such as Dr Cairns, Mr Cameron and Mr Uren. What did bother him was that they were Australian Cabinet ministers.

Mr Nixontook swift and, symbolically, impressive revenge on his first critic - Trade Minister Dr Cairns.

At the time Dr Cairns attacked the U.S. bombing of Hanoi and declared that he did not trust this American President, Australian negotiators were trying to win a $6m trade deal from the U.S. They lost.

Costigan goes on to say:

In the Jong term, meaning the next four years, Australia - for good or bad - has lost its 'very favoured nation' treatment in trade as far as Richard Nixon is concerned.

He could not and still does not understand . . . how three senior Australian Cabinet ministers could have attacked American policy and the U.S. President's personal integrity without speaking for the Australian Government.

Such a thing has rarely happened in American history without the offending Cabinet Minister being sacked without ceremony.

I might add that it has not happened in Australia before either. Costigan goes on to say:

The White House has abandoned plans for Mr Whitlam to visit Washington early, this year. Also abandoned are tentative plans for Mr Nixon to visit Australia this year.

And it's goodbye to those powerful nudges from the White House that helped Australia in trade matters in recent years.

There is now no chance that we can persuade the U.S. to lower or eliminate its punitive tariffs on our wool. We needed White House support for that.

Our valuable share of the American sugar quota is in jeopardy, because the White House is not likely to argue on our behalf with the powerful men in the Congress who decide these things.

Costigan ends by saying:

.   . thanks to the comments - widely published here and read in the White House - of Ministers Cairns, Cameron and Uren, we have angered the most powerful man in the world.

And so this Government has brought AustralianUnited States relations to their lowest ebb ever. When one thinks of those days back in 1942 when young American servicemen crossed the Pacific in their hordes to become our comrades in arms to defend Australia from the Japanese, one feels very sad indeed. Since this Government took office we have experienced the most indecent rush to recognise the 3 communist countries of China, East Germany and North Vietnam, with communist North Korea soon to be added to the happy throng. There is no doubt that recognition of these countries had to come - no one will dispute that. I have always been one who has believed that it is better to talk out problems rather than try to ignore them. As Churchill once said: 'It is better to jaw jaw than war war', and this is, of course, true. But a more astute statesman would have found a more astute formula for the recognition of Communist China. Instead of capitulating completely to the Chinese demands, as our Prime Minister did even before he reached office, a wiser Prime Minister would have found an accommodation similar to that which President Nixon has negotiated, that is, the setting up of a trade mission in the initial stages to fulfil much the same functions as an embassy. The United States still enjoys excellent relations with Taiwan, but the way in which our Taiwanese friends were booted out of Australia at a moment's notice after years of friendship and trade will leave a dark blot on the moral integrity of the foreign policy of this country for many years to come.

And we should add to all this the immense step which this Government has taken towards centralisation in the spheres of housing, health, education and urban development, to name only a few, and we have a very unhappy picture indeed. But what sort of men make up the Government that is controlling Australia today? I suppose a man's religion or lack of it is his own affair, but it did not go unnoticed in the Press and elsewhere that 12 Labor members, approximately 20 per cent of their number in this Chamber, refused to swear on the Bible when being sworn into Parliament. There was not one Liberal or Country Party member who adopted that attitude. Perhaps it was also indicative of the newer breed of Labor men that a number of its members were reported by the Press to have refused to shake the hand of the Governor-General, a former colleague and the Queen's representative in this country-

Mr Grassby - I rise to a point of order. Is it proper for an honourable member to reflect on the religion and personality of individual members? There was a reference made by the honourable member in the course of his address to religion and the use of the Bible, which, of course, is a particular Christian custom. If the honourable member is making an anti-semitic reference, for example-

Mr Fox - Jewish people swear on the Bible.

Mr Grassby - I would suggest that it is a reflection upon honourable members and that the honourable member for Deakin should apologise.

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