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Wednesday, 18 September 1974
Page: 1214

Senator MAUNSELL (Queensland) - I do not propose at this stage to assist Senator Steele Hall in deciding on which side of the fence he should get off. He stated that he opposes one of our propositions but supports others. I will not go into the Ermolenko affair. I think we have had it fully debated in this House over the last half dozen days of sitting. If by this stage certain people are not convinced one way or the other I am quite sure that nothing I will say will alter their situation. I will go to the third part of the amendment because I believe that in it we have the very crux of the foreign policy of this Government. We say that the foreign policy alignments that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee) is promoting will not serve Australia's national interest. It is all very well for Government supporters to say, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) said, that it is a collective decision. It is obviously not a collective decision in Cabinet because Caucus seems to run the Government these days. So we might say that it is a collective decision of Caucus. But there are people outside who control Caucus, so God knows how far we go before we find where the collective decision is made.

The foreign policy of this Government has been a disaster not only for this nation but for the free world. If the Minister is prepared to accept the responsibilities of the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs and is prepared to accept all the decisions from either his Cabinet colleagues, Caucus or the outside body which controls them, he has to take the responsibility for those decisions. As I said earlier, I believe that our foreign policy has been a disaster. Whenever these matters crop up in this Parliament the communist countries can do no wrong and the Western world can do no right. We have seen this time after time. Because of our geographical situation we need to have strong allies. We need to make sure that we have friends and we must be sure that we have agreements with our friends. Of course, we must have a defence force to back up those agreements. But what have we done in the life of this Government? We have isolated ourselves from our traditional friends, those who have the same parliamentary system of government as we have, who have the same way of life as we have, and who believe in peaceful coexistence.

Senator Keeffe - Who are they?

Senator MAUNSELL -Senator Keeffe knows who they are because they helped him and me when we were up in the islands in the 1940s. I know he was there. These are the people who do not believe in interfering in other people's and other nations' affairs We have rubbished them. This Government and the nation- of course, we are all part of it now- have lost respect throughout the free world, the anti-communist world. We have lost its respect, but whenever a communist nation or one of the -

Senator Wheeldon - Like Brazil?

Senator MAUNSELL -That is all right. We saw Senator Wheeldon gyrating always to the

Left when he made his contribution to this debate.

Senator Keeffe -Left of what?

Senator MAUNSELL - I do not know what he was left of but he was going to the Left further and further. I do not know whether he could go any further, he went around so many times. I disagree with the attitude of this Government.

Senator Georges - That is the wrong word.

Senator MAUNSELL - The words should be that I disagree with the unqualified support that this Government gives to everything that the communist countries do. We have had examples of it here. We had a few questions yesterday and today about fishing boats off Western Australia Men were put in gaol and we complained because Senator Wriedt said that we did something about it. Those men happened to be Taiwanese. But what happened to the Indonesian fishing boats? They got different treatment altogether. Whenever there is someone from the Western world the Government has to give him different treatment.

Senator Wheeldon - Like Taiwan.

Senator MAUNSELL - Yes, like Taiwan.

Senator Wheeldon - And that is the Western world.

Senator MAUNSELL -They have just as much right to exist in this world as the Chinese or anyone else but they get different treatment from this Government. We saw a great example of this the other day. The only aspect of the Ermolenko affair I want to refer to is the use of the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft. The Government could use a RAAF aircraft to take Ermolenko out of the country to beat union bans but I have not seen any move to date to use the armed services to avert the fuel crisis in Australia and particularly in areas of Queensland.

Senator Bishop - You are out of date.

Senator MAUNSELL - I know that Dr Patterson came down and obtained fuel for the Navy up in Cairns but there is none there now. It has all been used. What is the Government doing now about the problems that we have in Queensland today? Honourable senators opposite know what the supply situation is there. They also know that Queensland produces 95 per cent of Australia 's sugar.

Senator Wheeldon - What has this to do with Latvia?

Senator MAUNSELL - It has a lot to do with Latvia. It has a lot to do with the situation I am talking about because the Government, by giving its support to the communist nations and their fellow travellers in this country, has given them an air of respectability.

Senator Keeffe - Who are they?

Senator MAUNSELL - Are they not running riot in the country today?

Senator Keeffe - Give us a list.

Senator MAUNSELL -Mr Mundey is quite happy to get up, under the protection of this Government, and say: 'Yes, I am a communist. I am the President of the Communist Party in Australia. Just wait. We are going to have an autumn offensive and we will bring this country to its knees'. We do not have to wait for an autumn offensive; we have a spring offensive. Any one who has any knowledge of what is happening in the fuel situation with the Transport Workers Union and the associated unions will know that the position today is very critical. That is why I am saying that this Government's attitude towards the communist nations is not only bad for us overseas but also, by giving an air of respectability to the communists in this country, it has allowed them to use honourable workers, under the guise of obtaining better conditions and higher wages for them, to gain control of key industries, to bring this nation almost to its knees.

Let us face it. We have a situation where we have a fuel supply of only about 2 days. This is happening. The Government knows that it is happening. The sugar industry which is worth $375m to Queensland, is in jeopardy because it is necessary to have fuel to run the harvesters and mills. The crop cannot be harvested next year or in 6 months time. The same situation applies to wheat. In Queensland the wheat crop is harvested a lot earlier that it is in the other States. It is about to be harvested now in the north.

Senator Keeffe - Mr Deputy President,I draw your attention to the Standing Orders. The speaker has completely deviated from the subject matter under debate. I fail to see that sugar has anything to do with the Ermolenko affair.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Webster)- I suggest to Senator Maunsell that he connect up his arguments.

Senator MAUNSELL - I thought I had done that twice. I repeat that because of its alliances and because of its grovelling to the communist countries of the world, the Government has given an air of respectability to the communists in this country. It has put a cover over them and has said: 'You can go and do what you like.' They are now disrupting the industries of this country. Senator Keeffe is not interested in what happens to the sugar industry in Queensland. He does not care if the sugar is not harvested.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Maunsell, if you want to be heard in silence you should not argue with Senator Keeffe.

Senator MAUNSELL - I will accept your ruling, Mr Deputy President. These are the facts of the matter. I am concerned that the wheat harvest in Queensland will be coming up very shortly and there will be a shortage of fuel for harvesting that wheat. After all, one cannot harvest wheat by hand. Consequently I would like to know exactly what the Government intends in its policy towards the communist nations. What is it going to do with the communists in this country? The whole nation will go to the wall shortly if this policy continues, and all for what purpose? Maybe it is to sell a bit of wool to China. We still do not know the price. Is that the idea? Is the Government making friends with that nation so that we can trade with it? That is what Dr Cairns informs us. He says that we have to be friendly with these countries. Of course we all agree that we have to recognise the fact that they exist. But that does not mean that we have to grovel to them. To this date we do not know what was paid for that wool or what was its quality. Nobody has been prepared to tell us but we know that wool was sold to Communist China.

We also know that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and others will shortly be visiting Soviet Russia. I presume that that has something to do with the recognition of the Baltic states. Only a few months ago the Prime Minister said that he would not have a bar of it.

Senator Cavanagh - Did you go to Russia last year?

Senator MAUNSELL - Yes. I will go to any country to find out for myself because I believe that one should not stand in this place, make a decision or give one's views about any nation until one has been there. That is the reason I went there.

Senator McLaren - Give us your views.

Senator MAUNSELL - I have given them from time to time. I am quite satisfied that this is a much better country than Russia and much better governed, even if it is under a Labor Government. These are the reasons.

Senator Cavanagh - What would Russia be like if it had our Government?

Senator MAUNSELL - If Russia had your Government I reckon the Russians would probably rush off to the United States of America and make an alliance with that country straight away. But if you carry on much longer they might change their minds.

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