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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1597

Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - There used to be quite a favourite debating topic 'It is better to travel than to arrive'. Nobody has demonstrated this more clearly than the Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam. So obsessed has he been to travel in his great expensive luxury and to drop his pearls of wisdom en route that once again, when he comes home, he treats this Parliament and his country with abject contempt by delivering a 4-page statement on Japan and China- a statement which says nothing. It says: 'I travelled. I travelled briskly. By golly, wasn't I good? I say so, anyhow'. It says nothing else.

Senator Devitt - I say so, too.

Senator CARRICK - It is understandable that the Prime Minister would need cheer squads. I wish to make it clear that the subjects of Japan and China are of pre-eminent importance to the people of Australia. Therefore we are basically deserving of something more than what is not even a cheap travelogue. What indeed does this statement say? The Opposition is second to none in wanting good relations with both these countries. Japan is the third largest industrial power on earth and a country which, by way of balance industrially and indeed by its attitude to defence, its attitude to Asia and to the world, can play one of the great peace-keeping roles of the world. In terms of Japan, therefore, there are enormous things to discuss, and not only a trade shopping list, important as this may be.

I for one welcome everything that will bring Mainland China into the comity of nations, everything that will bring China around the board to discuss with the people of the world the common problems of the world in honesty and in frankness. We can read of the most expensive hiring of a Boeing 707 and the most expensive retinues of 50-odd people flying around the world, while we cannot afford $50,000 for this and that and while our pensions are in fact lower than the cost of living. With all this going on, the result is a piece of paper which says nothing. Let me examine it. What does it say? Did we find in this paper any mention of the talks with China that one would have expected from a nation living in Asia and facing the great problems of Asia? Where indeed is mention of the discussions about whether China will continue to play a role in feeding arms and equipment to the people of North Vietnam? Where indeed are the discussions on the role that China may play in the future in terms of the national liberation fronts? Where is the expression by our Prime Minister, as any Prime Minister who comes from Australia must do, of the atmosphere of fear and anxiety, rightly or wrongly, that runs throughout the whole of South East Asia? If he is an honest broker, not for China, as he is reported to have said, but for Australia he should have gone to China and said: 'It is pre-eminently in the interests of the people of this region and the world that South East Asia should be stable; that countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma should have the right to separate sovereignty and separate existence and not have the fear that by subversion, by the inducing of liberation fronts, that they can be destroyed; that we as their good neighbours respect their right to co-exist. ' Government senators smile; they have never respected the right at all. They have always sympathised with the insurgent communist liberation fronts which have created the basic insecurity of South East Asia.

If we are to be the people who are looked on by Indonesia with respect as friends and neighours, we must look to the fact that Indonesia herself has been very worried, and rightly so, in the past about the problem of the PKI- Peking inspired communist insurgency which threatened the very stability of the country. Singapore must have taken the statement of our Prime Minister that he would be a broker for China in Asia as being one of the most remarkable white-anting statements that anybody could utter in Asia today. What of the people of Malaysia who are narrowly perched between a slight majority of Malays and an almost equality of Chinese and some Indians? What of them with their worries? There could be troubles of white-anting and insurgency there.

Where did we speak for our friends? Where did we say: 'This is our worry; this is our anxiety. Yes, we welcome you to come to the United Nations. We hope indeed '-Senator Murphy should have echoed this hope- 'that you will accept the International Court of Justice, if you are to be heard in public with your views. But what we ask you is this: If there is to be peace in Asia what guarantees will you give of your bona fides that there will be peace?' There was none of this. We have in fact absolute silence. Was there a discussion anywhere on any of the great problems of the world, was there a discussion on the Middle East in which China has, behind the scene, taken a very important part and in which China has lent towards one partisan cause and in which an honest broker from Australia would have tried to talk and tried to get some balance of peace? What have we got except that we wined and dined and looked at the Great Wall and we had a very large aircraft with a very large crew? It is not good enough to come out with superlatives. A government which ridiculed a previous government when its then Prime Minister said 'AH the way with LBJ' finds nothing ridiculous in the superlatives with which today it expresses its aspirations at best symbolised with China. The highest aspirations which the Prime Minister expressed were not with the principles of democracy, not with the principles of a country espousing the British law, the rule of law, not finding it there at all, but its highest aspirations were symbolised with China.

I do not denigrate China at all. I have lived for many a year amongst the Chinese people and man for man and woman for woman I know no better individual people on God's earth. I acknowledge the Chinese people for their great industry and for their great human understanding, person by person. I reject military regimes wherever they may occur, whether right wing, totalitarian or left wing. Indeed, I reject any kind of totalitarian militaryism.

Senator O'Byrne - Indonesia?

Senator CARRICK -I am hoping that Indonesia, which has been mentioned, will move more and more towards democracy. I must put in perspective the country with which Mr Whitlam has seen our highest aspirations symbolised. It is a country of 800 million people that cannot be ignored, should not be ignored and should be understood. It is a country under the tightest military regime and rule in the world; a country which uses bloody murder and terror to control its people; a country in which its Deputy Premier Lin Piao, the favoured son of Mao Tse-tung and chosen to succeed him, could disappear and the leaders, the Politbureau of China, did not find it necessary to explain to the people of China or to the world what had happened to the second most important man in China.

Senator Byrne - They never even wrote his obituary.

Senator CARRICK - As Senator Byrne said, they never even wrote his obituary. Indeed the terms and conditions of his death may even be too dusty to be published. Where indeed is Lin Piao? It is a country which has unhappily had the most violent militaryism. I have said in this Senate before and I repeat that I know of no more ghastly document- it is in the Library of this Parliament- than the report of the International Commission of Jurists on genocide in Tibet. That is a story of murder and brutality as bad in nature and in magnitude as the German genocide of the Jews. This unhappily enough, and not too many decades away, was caused by this regime- not the people, I do not blame the people- with which Mr Whitlam and his Labor Party now find their highest aspirations symbolised and for which Mr Whitlam is to be the common broker around Asia. Are we to be the common broker for military regimes, for totalitarianism, for the disappearance of leaders without trace or a kind of genocide that has left the world shocked? The Government has said 'We recognise a country and do not necessarily approve its regime'. Yes, that is true. The previous Liberal-Country Party Government had taken steps towards recognition on that basis. But it is one thing to recognise; it is another thing to slaver and to slobber over people in terms of finding our highest aspirations symbolised with them. This is virtually all that has come out of China. The Australian people are entitled to know what kind of discussions ensued.

Why did Mr Whitlam talk to Prince Sihanouk, no doubt against the advice of his Department? Why did he talk to a deposed leader while this Government recognises the existing regime of his former country? Why did he do this? He should tell us what happened. What did he say? If he will not tell us, is this the kind of secrecy that disguises the nonsense of open government of which this Government has talked? What were the subjects of the talks? Like a little excited schoolboy the Prime Minister said: 'Do you know what? I had a whole 1 1 hours of talks with the Chinese leaders. Was it not good of those great men to talk to me?' It matters not one bit in terms of quantity how many hours were talked. What matters is the quality of the talks. What was the gutsy nature- if I may be pardoned a good Australianism- if any, of the Australian contribution? What did we say to show what we believed? It is true the statement says that Mr Whitlam expressed opposition to the continued explosions of atmospheric weapons by the Chinese in Lop Nor in Sinkiang Province. He waved his little finger again. But did he, in fact, talk about any kind of sanctions? Did he seek to do anything that might persuade the Chinese people to stop? Or must we have again the double standards that allow the kind of attacks we saw on France for whose tests weapons were smaller, had virtually no fallout and threatened almost nobody? Yet we see this waving of a little finger at the naughty Chinese. This is the kind of double standard that has become evident.

Let me illustrate this by reference to a country such as Japan. The Prime Minister was almost like a little schoolboy going along with a schoolbag full of tricks that he trots out. Let me explain this. The journey to Japan was launched with the great statement: 'We are going to make a pact with Japan on the enrichment of uranium. We are going to see with Japan a negotiation whereby we can have in Australia a uranium enrichment plant. Sorry we did not mention it to you Australians that it will cost $ 1 ,000m '. Or is it $2,300m? Nobody knows. 'Sorry we did not mention to you Australians where we are going to put it because it poses a lot of difficulties. Nobody knows, not even the Government. But we are going to have it'. What did we find when we got there? We found that the Japanese had no such thoughts at all. They were in no way prepared to talk. The Japanese are going to build their own uranium enrichment plant in the years ahead. The Japanese have just started testing one of the centrifuges, one of perhaps the half million that are necessary for a centrifuge system of diffusion enrichment of uranium, and in the next few years they will have about 180 of them running, not half a million. Does this Government know that Europe is to build a uranium enrichment plant? Does this Government know that America can supply the world until 1981 and is busy at this moment preparing to build other plants? The wicked multi-nationals are bending their minds to doing this. Has this Government thought that by the time we may have got around to this- not having done any homework at all and not having, I suspect, even consulted the Australian Atomic Energy Commission in Australia and certainly having no blueprint- and that by the time we had got another of these expensive situations like the natural gas pipeline but which will be twelve times as dear, the world supply probably will be in glut? In any case the need for producing atomic energy by fission will have passed and the fusion method will have been introduced. 'But, never mind: It was a good headline and it made the news, did it not? We got there. Everybody knows we were going to talk about a uranium enrichment plant but of course nothing was done'.

The same thing occurs with great round phrases: 'We talked about nature of the Government's policies on minerals and energy'. This is the most heartening thing I know because if that happened then 2 people- Mr Tanaka and Mr Whitlam- now know. One thing is certain: 13,500,000 in Australia including the members of this Parliament have no idea what are the minerals and energy policies of this Government. But the Prime Minister said: 'We had talks and we will tell people overseas but we will not tell the people in Australia'. The Prime Minister went on: 'We are going to have a treaty of trade and friendship. We are not terribly sure about this'. Now the statement waters it down a bit and we are not sure that we are going to have a treaty of NARA. What is it to be? May I ask this: Why should we make a treaty of trade and friendship with one country and not another? Why a treaty with Japan and not with America? If we do this against the advice of many people and, I suspect, the departments, why do we not do it with the United States of America and others? 1 say this in no denigration of Japan. Japan is our greatest trading partner; she takes 28 per cent of our materials. These hollow phrases sound goodMy gosh, I had a good trip. Do you know we are going to put on paper a treaty of friendship to prove that we love each other?'

All I can say it that over 23 years of government by the Liberal-Country Party Coalition we never needed any pieces of paper to forumalise the fine working arrangements between Australia and Japan, arrangements which made the 2 countries inter-dependant and by which Australia's trade was diversified throughout the world. This meant that we were in no way reliant heavily on Japan. We needed none of these things. The report of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Japan, tabled in this Parliament many months ago, has set out all those things as background, but one must have something to say in a public relations journey and there it is. What is this historic treaty, this treaty of NARA that is to be produced? Nobody knows. Of course it is a good idea and I do not denigrate it; certainly not. We can expand trade with Japan and China. The job of Government is to expand trade. The previous Government made tremendous expansions of trade with both those countries and had very significant trade with China. Irrespective of the ideological outlook of a country we of course trade with that country. It is wrong to use sanctions of trade in terms of your own diplomacy, your own ideologies.

I want to put this situation into perspective. Many months ago I said that this country would suffer if the Prime Minister of Australia was also the Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as clutching to himself such interesting tasks as authorising the purchase of the painting 'Blue Poles' for $1.3m because he wants to keep the arts to himself. I said that the job of a Foreign Minister was a full time job and not a job just of jaunting and junketing around the world, not a job of uttering round phrases. The test of diplomacy, of foreign policy, is not round phrases. The test is whether we have achieved in this world an atmosphere or an environment in which by our actions our own country is more secure and more free and we are living in an atmosphere in our region in which there is stability and freedom and we are respected for the views we hold and because we are willing to stand up for the other fellow and his right to be different. Australia has one great role in international affairs. Australia is a middle size power and we should not be measured in terms of population, in terms of industrial output, or in terms of rural output. We should be measured in terms of our capacity to be civilised, our capacity to develop ideals and to communicate and our capacity to be an Australian honest broker with our neighbours in particular and with the world in general.

Australia was respected throughout the length and breadth of South East Asia because as a middle size power and without any imperialist sense at all it did not seek greatness or domination. It sought to come to understand what other countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam were thinking. It sought to have as its philosophy a communication to the great powers on this earth that they should not merely be so pre-occupied with their own great power- or thuggery in many ways- but that they should respect the right of the little people to live. But we have now decided that we are not going to hunt with that pack any more. We have decided that we are going to direct ourselves towards Mainland China. I repeat that our highest aspirations are symbolised with China. One would have thought that that expression, however extravagant, might in itself have caused the United States of America to wonder whether the ANZUS treaty, which is vital to this country and to which the Government pays lip service, is now tenable and viable. If our aspirations most lie with China, what do we expect the 200 million people of America, who have done more than any other people in the past 30 years to keep the peace in the world, to do and think about Australia and our treaties if we are looking elsewhere?

It is absolutely right for us to get to know these great countries and to talk to them. But talking is not enough. The only worth of a visit is if, despite our size, instead of kowtowing, instead of slavering, instead of uttering superlatives, we put up the honest issues and seek honest solutions. Nothing in this paper at all suggests that Australia's approach to China was even directed on a foreign affairs level. Today there could be some immediacy of world conflict on 2 levels. I refer firstly to the Middle East which is accepted by the Government and by Senator Wriedt, who is at the table, as being a theatre that could accelerate into world conflict and, secondly, to the fact that on the Russian-Chinese border there are some 44 divisions of Russians and this is recognised or felt to be a major possibility of conflict between those powers. The fact that Russia and China are in conflict and that this could flare up into world conflict can be of no consolation to us.

If we are to have peace then there must be peace right throughout the world. Australia cannot escape and cannot be isolated. The greatest defect of thinking of this Government of ours is that not only are men an island but Australia is an island unto itself and that Australia somehow can be isolated against the world- a world in which an oil crisis in the Middle East is being engendered and which could create world war; a world in which some 2 years ago at the time of the Bangladesh outbreak it was feared with some justification that Russia might seek to knock out the nuclear establishments of China. It is in this sort of world that the Prime Minister went and came and has not mentioned anything except that the food was good and they played 'Advance Australia Fair' when he arrived. This to me is quite unbelievable. As I said in my opening remarks, it is a direct contempt, in my judgment, upon the Parliament and upon the people of Australia because the people of Australia are entitled to a thoroughly detailed knowledge and understanding of what is happening in the world. I recognise that as time goes on those measures of trade which materialised or not will be the measure of statements. I have no doubt that Senator Wriedt will have something to say on this. I hope he will tell us something about the sojourn in which he sought to sell apples and perhaps pears. I would like him to tell us at his convenience what he has done, if anything, about the quarantine laws in regard to Japan.

Senator McLaren - You could not sell McMahon.

Senator CARRICK - I am referring to the Minister at the table and I am asking that in due course he tell us- I am sure he will if he is able to- what has happened and whether we can help the people of Tasmania who have been hit by the removal of the exemption from sales tax applicable to carbonated fruit juices, as have the orchardists in my own State. I hope that he can tell us what the Government has done to get into Japan as an expanding market for fruit. After all, the Japanese quarantine rules are among the most rigid of any in the world. I respect their right to have these rules. No doubt we will hear about these things step by step. We will no doubt here about whether the wheat agreement- I do not denigrate what has been done in this respect -is at least something on which we can plan in terms of stable and real prices, not for one year but for 3 years. We will no doubt hear, as it matures, whether the sugar agreement is in terms of world parity or below world parity.

The Prime Minister, who was also at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited 2 countries which are of profound importance in the world. As I have said, one of those countries was Japan which is the third largest industrial country and a country which in terms of its balance of trade and prosperity can have enormous good will. The other country was China which, rising out of the depressions and pressures and militarisms of the past, has come into a new world. I believe that we are entitled to have from the Prime Minister statements in regard to foreign policy. As I said, it is obvious that Mr Whitlam holds the view that it is better to travel than arrive, because he has arrived with 4 pages of extreme platitudes.

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