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Wednesday, 1 March 1950


Senator GORTON (Victoria) .- Some remarks made earlier this afternoon by Senator Ryan were no doubt made in all sincerity, but I should not like them to pass without comment. He suggested that because during the last war we were able to mobilize our defence potential before real . danger threatened this country, and were able to recruit our forces in time to make them effective, we would be safe to follow the same course should a future war break upon this country. That is an extremely dangerous attitude to adopt. Having served in the last war, I say that we cannot be sure that the conditions which obtained then would be repeated in the event of another war. It may well be that the ominous shadow which is now -creeping down through China, threatening Malaya and Indonesia and coming closer to the near north of this country, will reach us without warning and that we shall not have those months of preparation which last time were bought for us by the suffering and sacrifice of our kinsfolk in Britain.

It has been said to-night that our defence potential and our defence forces were built up under a Labour government. As that statement went over the air, I feel it is only right that I should point out that the Australian Imperial Force was completely enlisted by a nonLabour government with the violent antagonism of the then Labour Opposition. The British Empire air training scheme, in which I had the honour to serve, was also formulated by a nonLabour government despite the bitter opposition of the Labour party, For what happened after the Labour Government came into office let us give it credit; but let us not withhold the credit that is due to the non-Labour government that was' in power when the war broke out for recruiting the forces of this country and for preparing the blueprints and setting up the plans under which the war effort of this country was eventually carried out. I ask leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.







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