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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1738


Mr KEATING (Blaxland) - The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) ,was right a couple of weeks ago. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) should be certified.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Blaxland will withdraw that remark.


Mr KEATING - I withdraw the remark. The Government of Australia recognised North Vietnam and made a public announcement a few weeks ago that people can travel between Australia and North Vietnam and that North Vietnamese people are welcome to come to this country, and it infuriates me to hear the resulting hue and cry that we so often hear in this House and the bleatings of the honourable member for Mackellar. But what a change there would be in the situation if instead of the United States Navy having ships in the Gulf of Tonkin the Soviet Navy had ships off the coast off New Zealand and naked aggression was being committed by the Soviet Navy against the New Zealanders instead of by the American Navy against the Vietnamese. What a changed situation it would be if as a result of that naked aggression, without any attack from New Zealand on the Soviet Navy, the Soviet Union plastered every New Zealand city almost to the stage where they were rubble for years to come, dropped the greatest bomb load in the history of the world and oppressed a small nation which is much less than it in size. What a hue and cry we would hear from members of the Opposition then. That analogy does not hit the deck because they would not want to recognise it.

If the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns) feels some concern and some sadness for the plight of these people I do not think it is to be scoffed at or to be talked about in the derogatory terms which the honourable member for Mackellar uses on regular occasions. I think his remarks tonight were an unwarranted attack on the Minister and deserve the contempt of this House. I am sure that the honourable member for Mao kellar has the contempt of this House.

In talking about the attitude of the Government to the French nuclear tests the honourable member criticised its approach to tests carried out by China. Most of the Chinese tests have been underground tests, and the only indications we have had of those tests have been seismic disturbances which have been picked up by surveillance stations around Asia. The Chinese tests have not been atmospheric tests, so there is no analogy to be drawn between the French tests and the Chinese tests. The Soviet Union and the United States came to fruitful conclusions after entering into the strategic arms limitation talks, and there has been a general movement throughout the world to lessen the impact of strategic arms. The Labor Party has always supported such a move. It supported a nuclearfree zone in our area, but the Government of which the honourable member for Mackellar was a member only 2 years ago was encouraging Professor Baxter to establish a dirty bomb unit on the south coast of New South Wales at Jervis Bay from which a nuclear weapon could be developed.

The honourable member talks about the French but he was a Minister in the Government which agreed to have Baxter go to Britain and attempt to rubber stamp and push through a purchase of a type of nuclear reactor which could have produced weaponsgrade plutonium in this country. It is only because of the pressure of the Australian Labor Party, which opposed the construction of a natural fueled uranium reactor on the south coast of New South Wales, that there is not available to people like the honourable member, if ever in office again, weapons-grade plutonium. They are the facts of the situation. He would explode his devices in the Pacific if it was left to him. The Labor Party has been consistently opposed to nuclear tests. We have been opposed to nuclear weapons. We are opposed to the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere anywhere, and we have been consistent in that approach. We will oppose the French tests as far as we can.

The honourable member talks all the time about the Labor Party's association with communists. It is because of the likes of him that there are people who think there is some value in communism. Does the honourable member realise that he is the outstanding example in this country to people who think there is some value in that ideology? It is because of the excesses of people like him that they exist. I put it to him that it is only because of the moderation of the Labor Party and the middle of the road social reform party that this element within the Australian community has in fact been curbed and absorbed in many ways within that structure. Rather than being poked at I think members of the Labor Party are to be applauded because they provide for people who have views which could correspond with some of the views-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It being 11 o'clock, the House stands adjourned until Tuesday next at 10 a.m. or such time thereafter as Mr Speaker may take the chair.

House adjourned at 11 p.m. until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8th May 1973, or until such time thereafter as Mr Speaker may take the chair.







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