PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1410


Photo of Holt, Harold

Holt, Harold

Period of Service: 26/01/1966 to 19/12/1967

More information about Holt, Harold on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/10/1966

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1410

Held at the Hotel Canberra, Canberra, ACT 1CFPH OCTOB3ER., 1966
Mr. President and Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It's a matter of very great pride, I assure -you, Mr. President,
to have this privilege of addressing Council for the first time as Prime
Minister. My association with the Liberal Party, of course, goes back to
its formation. It has been a matter of continuing regret for me that I can't
claim to have been one of the founding fathers who met at Albury on that
historic occasion, but I think I can justly claim to have been the first Member
of Parliament to have risen to his feet at a public gathering and declared
himself a supporter of the new party. And so my association goes back to the
formation of the Liberal Party, and it is not inappropriate that having had, I
think, seven years as de facto Chairman of the Policy Committee, entrusted
to that task by m y former distinguished predecessor, I should have had this
closest of associations with liberalism from the outset.
Indeed, I really begin to think about my advancing years when I
recall that I am the only -member of the Liberal section of the Cabinet to have
been in the Cabinet at the time of its formation in 1949, and to have been in
the Parliament, of course, for many years before that. Perhaps it makes one
a better Liberal to have been active in the Parliament in the days when
there were no Liberals with a capital and very few with a small
certainly on our side of politics, at any rate.
I see it as a matter of pride, Mr. President, because one could
hardly conceive an organisatlon which more effectively allowed a government
and a party to express itself in terms of its political policies and aspirations.
If you were to be looking around the world for a model of the relationship
which should exist between a parliamentary party and an organisation which
had developed to support the principles of that party and to assist with its
policy, thenl know of no better model that I could recommend than the Liberal
Party of Australia. Here we have been able to build on experience which the founders
of the party possessed. We have the greatest asset of all, perhaps, in a
philosophy of liberty, of freedom, of personal initiative, of free enterprise
and I say this is a priceless asset because if one is faced with a difficult
problem in the political sphere, if you ca n turn to the principles and
philosophy of liberalism, then that particular problem becomes so much the
easier to resolve. It's a great advantage we possess over our political
opponents. They have no policy, no philosophy for the modern, growing,
expanding, exciting enterprising Australia of these times. They have a
musty, doctrinaire, obsolete policy of which they seem to be thoroughly
ashamed at election time.
I recall that in recent elections, Mr. Calwell has undertaken
that the policy won't be resorted to for at least three years. How can one
subscribe wholeheartedly to a political policy and programme if you are not
prepared to go out and fight wholeheartedly for the philosophy and policies
of your own party. But that is where the AustralianLabor Party stands today,
as I hope to exemplify to you in one or two instances as I go along. It seems
to be suffering from a sort of schizophrenia. It starts off with an attitude / 2

and refuses to follow through the logical consequences of the attitude it has
adopted. I have just put that in the broad at this stage. I shall hope to
illustrate it for you as I go along, but it would be well if outside this
particular room and far beyond, the delegates and branches from which they
come, and the State Divisions from which they come, if there were a
realisation throughout Australia that here you have in the Liberal Party, a
parliamentary party working in the closest and warmest, friendliest
of co-operation with its political organisation. It is a live and vital political
organisatiori, able to assist us in our policy determinations by the very
effective work of our joint policy committee of whom half the members are
drawn from the Parliamentary party, and others from the State Divisions and
assisted by the policy discussion of our annual council meetings.
What a contrast:. Here, no attempt to dictate to those who
have been elected by the people to serve them in the Parliament, but a
partnership in which there is discussion, there is persuasion, there is
co-operation, but never at any point in the history of the party has there been
attempt at dictation to those whom the people have elected. We have always
recognised inside this Liberal Party that the final responsibility must rest
with the parliamentary party and in those States where we have the
opportunity to govern at this time, the responsibility with that government,
assisted but not compelled by the organisation of which we form a part. There
is nothing faceless about you, Sir ( turuing to the President) nor those around
us. I was just going to make the comment that there are some rather
distinguished, certainly handsome faces to be found around the room, and I
would want for no better manifesto than to have a series of photographs of
those wvho comprise the advisers to the Liberal Party through its organisation
and those who for themselves claim the right to tell the parliamentarians In
the Labor Party just what their policy should be and how they should vote.
One of the encouraging things about the Liberal Party of these
days is the forward-looking character of its policies and of its membership.
It is not surprising, although certainly this hasn't been the historical
experience of the past, that a younger generation of Australians is turning to
the Liberal Party rather than the traditional turning to the left of a younger
generation. I had an interesting confirmation of this, rather indirectly, in
a document which reached me from the Students' Representative Council of
Victoria following a referendum conducted on the issue of National Service.
Now, not surprisingly, there wasn't a large university percentage vote for
National Service. I am a former university student myself, with a fair idea
of how I would have noted In f act, the particular scheme of National Service
which operated in my time was no more popular than that which operates at
the present time. I will have something to say on National Service before I
conclude. But the point which intrigued me in this document was that
they analysed the voting attitudes and then related them to the political
outlook of the students concerned. They gave the precise figures. Those
who supported the Liberal or Liberal and Country Party totalled 1, 179.
Those who supported the Australian Labor Party 671. Those who supported
the Democratic Labor Party 221; the Communist Party 20 I was glad to see;
undecided 501. But it was rather revealing that, despite the unpopularity
with them of National Service, there were still 1, 179 of them prepared to
vote for the Liberal Party as against 671 for the Australian Labor Party.
When you throw in the Democratic Labor Party, which on these issues of
Viet Nam and National Service strongly support the Government policies, you
will see that the combined vote just about doubles the vote for the ALP and
this from the younger, intelligent area of the Australian community as
reflected in these particular educational institutions. I thought it was
certainly informative and encouraging. / 3

I want now to say a word or two about National Service.
In the address I give you tonight it would not be practicable to cover the
many issues we will be discussing in the course of the election campaign.
So I have selected a few which are highly controversial and on which we have
a clear view and attitude ourselves, and I hope we can rely upon your staunch
support on. these as we move into the campaign.
But let me say a word or two about National Service.
Perhaps I should preface it by saying that one of the features of our political
experience at this time is that we have to learn to live with our geography.
In my early days in Parliament, our attention was concentrated on the
British Isles and the countries of Western Europe. To a much lesser degree
the United States of America came into the picture. But for most of us in
those earlier years the countries to the north of Australia represented some
rather picturesque stamps in an album without very much else beigg known
about them. They just didn't enter into the scheme of things. Our trade with
them was small, our contacts with them quite minor. Those who could
afford the price of a journey overseas spoke of going " home", by which they
meant the British Isles, and two or three weeks on the " Gontinong" that was
about all their ambitions ran to. If you could come back with a suitcase
absolutely covered with labels of all the fancy hotels you had stayed at that
was a memorable phase in a lifetime.
But we have become increasingly conscious over recent
years and made very conscious of it at the time of Pearl Harbour that
destiny had placed Australia in a world very different and alien to the kind
of world we formerly lived in. We were a European projection into the
Southern Hemisphere, but it became obvious that we had to begin pretty
smartly to think of ourselves as geographically, at any rate, part of the
Asian scene. This now presents to us some of the most exciting and
promising potentialities for the future of this country. One has only to study
what has happened in the way of trade over recent years. The nominal
trade we had with Japan in the years following the war, even in the early
1950' s, was not great. Today it is more than four and a half times what
it was in the early 1950' s yet both we and the JApanese believ e that we are
really still living on the threshold of the trade experience that will develop
between our countries. Australia is a great supplier of foodstuffs, raw
materials, and yet with a manufacturing capacity which, on some items, will
enable us to compete in the markets of the world.
In the motoring industry, the products of General Motors and
other companies have been successfully sold around the world in competition
with those produced by countries with a longer experience in this field than
ourselves. If we can hang on to our price levels and our costs, then although
as far ahead as any of us can see we will be relying upon our primary industries
for the major part of our export income, we can still conduct ourselves in a
manner to be competitive on some of our manufactured items.
But speaking of our place in the geography of Asia, part of
the background may be seen In respect of what we have done in Viet Nam and
about the National Service Scheme which has become associated with it.
Why are we in Viet Nam? We are not there because we are trailing along
at the coat-tails of the United States of America. Three Presidents of the
United States, one after the other, have decided that it is of importance' that
their country should be giving assistance in the struggle in Viet Nam. I have
said before and I say it again, that when President Johnson succeeded the late
President Kennedy, the greatest concern I felt as an Australian Minister in
the national Government was that under this new Administration, the
Americans might decide that they were going to pull out of the struggle in
Viet Nam because, in my thinking, Australia's security is far more
directly involved than that of the United States itself. The United States .* 9/ 4

wants to see the kind of world in which aggression does not pay off; but for
Australia, looking at the long-term consequences of successful communist
penetration into South Viet Nam, there could be no security for as far ahead
as we can see. It would have been a disaster of the first magnitude if it had
occurred. So I hope that when we have the privilege of welcoming the present
leader of the American people it will not be out of our minds that his own firm
resolution and determination and clear -sightedness have kept the Americans in
Viet Nam and now looks like carrying the allied forces and the South Vietnamese
people either to a victory or a position of strength in which negotiations can
be carried out for the benefit of the people of South Viet Nam and for the
greater security of Asia as a whole.
I stress this because first of all there is a disposition to think
that this was all President Johnson's idea. But he is the third President in
a row to have felt this way about South Viet Nam. In the same way, some
people think it is my bright idea to have troops in South Viet Nam. Well, my
distinguished predecessor had no doubts in his mind as to the course Australia
should follow; nor did his Cabinet; nor do my supporters. I don't know any
item of policy on which I could claim that the two Government parties are more
firmly united than they are on the issues both of our presence in South Viet
Nam and the National Service component which we -have found it necessary to
Introduce into the regular military forces of this country.
We take up unflinchingly the challenge which Mr. Galwell
repeatedly throws down to us that the main issues of this forthcoming election
are to be the Government's policy in South Viet Nam, our presence there, and
the introduction of National Service with some of our national servicemen
forming part of regular units taking their place in Viet Nam. This particular
policy of National Service was adopted after the Government had taken the
decision to build up the strength of the Regular Army. The current goal is
000 or thereabouts. It was taken after repeated efforts had been made to
recruit volunteers up to the number desired. But with well-paid jobs plentiful
in Australia, the response was quite inadequate when the Army's high
rejection rate was taken into account. I don't complain myself about the high
rejection rate the Army maintains. There is a very good reason for insisting
on a high standard. Australia, which can ill-afford any extravagance in the
use of its manpower, needs a highly efficient, mobile, well-equipped regular
force capable of being placed to the best national advantage. And it must be
stressed because the implications of this . never seem to enter the skulls
of our political opponie nts that National Servicemen are integrated into
units of the Regular Army.
Now just view this against the Labor Party policy, which Mr.
Cal~ vell and his supporters proclaim, of withdrawing National Servicemen
immediately from Viet Nam and then bringing back the remainder later,
after we have had discussions with our allies. I would like to be a fly on
the wall while the discussions with our allies take place, We might need an
interpreter there to sort out what some of them are saying. But I think the
Americans could express themselves in pretty blunt terms.
There is a sort of schizophrenia about the Labor Party and its
policy attitudes, because I don't think they can be oblivious to the importance
to Australia's security of resisting communist aggression, yet they seem to
be quite unmindful of the consequences to Australia's treaty arrangements if
this sort of policy was pursued. The truncated units would be incapable of
performing effectively. Those that remained behind would be, for most
practical purposes, out of action until units could be reformed, presumably with
reinforcements of regular volunteers to be sent from Australia. Australia
would play a quite inglorious role as this adjustment went on. While our
allies were doing the j ob of resisting aggression and helping to clear the
* 0 111/ 5

Viet Cong and the Ncrth Vietniamese-out of-areas-of South Viet Nam as
their military successes developed, there presumably would be Australian
units, truncated to a substantial degree, just sitting there and waiting for
some rebuild in their strength. But why rebuild them in strength if you
are going to hold discussions with your allies about taking them out at the
first available opportunity.
This seems almost incredible in a country whose shield is the
strength of ANZUS and when the strength of ANZUS is the strength of the
United States of America. No-one has any doubt in their minds about that.
But it is almost incredible that this one sure source of our strength should
be so recklessly destroyed by a Labor Party incapable of seeing Australia's
interest in straightforward and direct terms. Can we ever imagine an
alliance with the United States would be the same again if Australia, a party
to ANZUS and SEATO, behaved in this fashion? Yet this is the Labor Party
of today. It is c o chance event that they should adopt this kind of attitude
to National Service. They were only able by the narrowest of margins to
muster minimal approval for the North-West Cape station, and even then on
terms which, had they been in government, I am sure the United States
would have found unacceptable.
There is another interesting matter to which I would direct
your attention. It arose out of the action of Mr. Sam Benson, the Member
for Batman, in accepting his expulsion from the Labor Party because of
his membership of the Defence Action Committee. He made a most
interesting revelation which resolved what had been something of a mystery
in my own thinking. That was the occasion of the invitation to a delegation
of six Labor men to visit Singapore, an invitation issued by the Premier of
Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.
He had been down here as a guest of the government a short
time before, and frankly, it had seemed a little odd at the time that he should
issue an invitation to half a dozen members of the Labor Party to go and
visit Singapore. But Mr. Benson has now given us the reason, and he says
that they were invited because Mr. Lee wanted to tell them how disturbed
he was by the attitude of the Labor Party to Viet Nam, because, ladies and
gentlemen, don't imagine we are the only people who are concerned about
the treatyin Viet Nam.
If you read the statements of the spokesmen of such countries
as Thailand, the Philippines, or the countries on the periphery of Asia and
Malaysia also you will find there a general concern and acceptance of the
threat which is posed to them. What for some people may be a rather
academic " domino" theory of one country going after the other is regarded
as very far from academic in the eyes of the leaders of the countries I
have just mentioned. And Mr. Lee and I am quoting Mr. Benson's version now, not
my own got them there to tell them how concerned Singapore was that if
Viet Nam fell, Singapore would feel gravely threatened. They were expected
to pass this information on to their colleagues in order that there might be
a more realistic appreciation of the threat to this area of the world.
Accordi ng to Mr. Benson, he did discuss this matter with his own branches,
but, again according to him, as far as he was aware, no other member of
that delegation did so, nor have they uttered anything publicly since then
which would have conveyed any inkling that this was the story put to them in
Singapore. / 6

I think they had a responsibility, if that story was put to them
in Singapore, to make it known, whether they approved of it or not. At
least it was a contribution to the discussion the store of knowledge we had
in relation to this area.
Now some people find National Service according to their
description of it as immoral or undemocratic. But have they studied
anything of history? If they have, they would appreciate that it is of the
essence of democracy that people should give service to their own country'
when the need arises. Several of the most solidly-established democracies in
the world have maintained their own systems of National Service, including
the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Greece, France, the Netherlands,
just a few of the countries that one could mention.
I want to say a word or two about our decision to include aliens
in the National Service scheme. This was only taken after a good deal of
thought and considerable diplomatic discussion with their representatives
here and in their own countries. But what must be remembered and I
think this distinguishes the Australian position from that of most other
countries is that the immigration programme has brought hundreds of
thousands of settlers from foreign countries to Australia. There are, for
example, in Australia approximately 270, 000 people of Italian origin,
130, 000 of Greek origin and more than 11,30, 000 from the Netherlands.
Surely it is not unreasonable that the quite limited number of nationals from
these countries who would be called up for National Service should make a
contribution to the security of a nation which has provided new opportunities
and a prospering existence for so many tens of thousands of their fellow
nationals. Or is it expected that the & fence of this half million people I
have just referred to should be solely the responsibility of native-born
Australians? It must not be overlooked that for those who feel so strongly
about National Service and wish to avoid it, there is the option of joining
the Citizen Military Forces, provided that they enlist in the CMF before
the ballot inducting them into National Service is held. Aliens have the same
option to join the GMF. They have even longer to make up their minds
because they have to be two years in the country or aged 21 before they
become subject to the call-up. In the last extremity, any alien who feels
so strongly about this that he would prefer to leave the country before being
called up is permitted to do so.
Now let me just say something about the economy. This is always
a matter of interest to governments and to the individual citizen. The
Australian economy, throughout our period of office, has been pointed
firmly in the direction of development and rapid. national growth. Indeed,
we point to the greatest era in Australian development which has occurred
since the Liberal Country Party coalition came Into office at the end of
1949, and it is our determina tion that this national expansion shall continue.
It has been affected in its pace in recent times, first by the factor of defence
and secondly by the incidence of drought on a severe scale in New South
Wales and Queensland. Defence has been a major preoccupation of the
GJvernment for the past three years. We have had to cope with the challenge
presented by Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia and communis t aggression
in Viet Nam. We have certain responsibilities, not only in relation to our
home defence but for the security of Papua and New Guinea. Confrontation
has receded, but the struggle in Viet Nam still goes on. We have never
allowed this preoccupation with defence to diminish our interest in the
condition and progress of the economy, or to weaken our determination to
push on with expansion in its manifold aspects. / 7

I would like to remind you that Australia's attempts at
national growth have met with serious obstructions, particularly in the
course of this century. It is worth reflecting on this because the United
States of America declared its independence in 1776, just twelve years
before the founding of the first settlement in Australia. At that time, the
population of the United States was less than 4 million people. Today it
is over 190 million people. We are still hoping to reach the 12 million
mark. The major factors which held back Australian progress were the
two world wars and the depression of the 1930' s. This little country,
as it then was of less than 7 million people, sustained half a million
casualties in two world wars. We lost more people killed in the first world
war than the United States. This must never happen again while we can do
anything to avoid such a national catastrophe.
The policy which the Government has been pursuing, the
programme of National Service and the build-up of regular armed forces,
are the things which can do more to save a needless loss of Australian
lives than simply relying on a response In times of emergency of volunteers
to meet a critical situation.
' Th is is not a Government of warmongers. It is not a Government
which is unmindful or regardless of young Australian lives or young
Australian opportunities. We are here to conserve these things, but to
conserve them by policies which ensure that Australia will be able to play
an honourable and effective part in the security of the general area in which
we live, but which will not be looked to to pour In hundreds of thousands of
relatively untrained young Australian manhood should some critical
situation develop there. Have this in your minds as the critics turn on the
scheme which we have developed. Ask them what is their alternative.
What is the Labor Party's alternative to the schemes that we have for the
defence of this country? I have heard Mr. Calwell talk about the fresh-faced
boys that are brought in under the National Service Scheme. Does he
realise how many of the volunteers were younger and are younger than the
men we are bringing in under the National Service Scheme? What is
their policy on these matters? I invite you to say, " I have listened to them
closely and I have no clear mind as to where the Labor Party stands" Nor
do they, because each member seems to have a different interpretation and
a different view of what Labor is proposing to do.
Now we have had a quite acute economic problem of diverting
resources on a considerable scale for defence purposes without interrupting
the strong even flow of economic growth. I believe that we can claim that
we have made this adjustment with skill. I pay a tribute, as I am sure
my colleague the Treasurer would, to the splendid advisers we have in
the Treasury of this country, men who are honoured throughout the
financial world all around the world. We have been able, therefore, to
conrbine development and national growth with a stability which has provided
us with some of the soundest foundations of any economy to be found around
the world. The economy has taken on board a really big defence effort.
Expenditure this year estimated at 000 million is more than double that
of 1.962/ 63. This has been done without seriously retarding essential
growth and without producing a selous inflation. Our current stability
reflects the strength, the resilience and adaptability of an economic
structure which rests on firmer foundations than have e ver before existed.
Our external position remains strong and with the favourable
seasonal trend, we should have a big export income. In the years ahead,
the development efforts which have been put into mineral, beef and other
primary production should be coming in in support of an enlar ged export
s / 8

income.. Discoveries of oil and gas should also relieve to some degree
our dependence on imports. While we appreciate the capabilities of our
economy, we should never underrate the difficulties of bringing great
developments to pass and keeping growth going steadily and strongly up
to the full physical limits of our usable resources. This is a task which
calls for intelligent foresight, careful forecasting and intensive day to day
studies of the immediate trend of things. We know very well how quickly,
and at times dramatically, a promising situation can take a turn for the
worse. As the year proceeds, the economy should feel the effect of the
higher average weekly earnings now being received and the stimulus of
demand from higher farm incomes.
The employment situation has held well. We watch this closely,
of course, at all times since we have the responsibility not merely of keeping
an existing work force fully employed but adding to their number year by
year as the new army of school-leavers becomes available and the Immigration
programme adds its massive contribution. This year, the potential
increase has been reckoned at 120, 000 which will require a rise of about
3 -per cent. in our civil employment for the year. To cover an increase
of that magnitude there -has to be, among other things, a substantial
increase in manufacturing employment, and for that reason In particular,
we have been keeping a close watch on the trend of consumer spending
which is the largest determinant of activity in the manufacturing sector.
Recent figures of building approvals suggest that dwelling
construction is going along extremely well. It is worth noting that approvals
for other forms of building showed a sharp dip earlier this year, ran at
quite high level for some months thereafter; they showed some fall in
August and the latest figures are again promising.
Our holdings of gold and exchange are over 200 million and
we have behind them untouched drawing rights with the International
Monetary Fund to the order of $ 600 million. In such basic respects as
these, there are good grounds for confidence in the general trend of the
economy. Difficulties can, of course, arise. Such as, for example, the
sugar industry which has been affected at the present time by the disastrously
low price for sugar on world markets.
The motor car industry is passing through a difficult phase, and
these situations have to be closely watched and where necessary, met as
they occur, just as we met the drought situation through last year. If at
any time we judge the general position of the economy to be slower than
is desirable, we will not hesitate to take expansive measures adequate to
meet the needs of that situation.
Now the final thing I want to mention, and I wil I do so much more
briefly than the subject deserves, is the contrast in attitude between our own
Government, with its view of an expanding Australia, and that of our
Opposition on the subject of overseas investment. Again this schizophrenia
shows up because the Labor Party is wholeheartedly behind the immigration
programme they are all for importing people but they refuse, apparently,
to accept the consequences. If you import people, if you are to give them
employment as well as to sustain the pace of your own economy, then you
must also import capital, and I for one am not afraid of the consequences
of importing capital. On the contrary, I am quite convinced that apart
from its economic benefits, it adds to the security of this country. If tiere
is 000 million of investment from the United Kingdom or from the United
States, as the figures roughly suggest at this time, then there are thousands
of dollars of good reasons why they liave a pretty strong interest in the / 9

welfare and security of Australia. This country can't hope to defend itself
in the area in which we find ourselves with 100 million restless, turbulent
people just above us in Indonesia and all the ferment and yeasting that is
going on in Asia at this time, simply of our own resources. If me attempted
to do so, you could put up the shutters on a deveic pment programme for
this country. And here we are building great industries, new skills, new
techniques, opening up avenues of employment for our people, opening up
sources of revenue for the Commonwealth Government which it in turn can
devote either to the assistance of the States or the welfare of the Australian
people in defence, social services, or any one of a multitude of avenues to
which our f inances can be usefully directed. We are told there must be an
Australian equity and I like to see Australians putting their savings into
these ventures where they can. We are not a thriftless people. There is
only one country in the world which applies a higher percentage of its gross
national income to capital investment than Australia and that is Japan. We
invest 27 per cent. of ours, against 17 per cent. in the United States and
per cent. in the United Kingdom. Ninety per cent, of our investment is from
an Australian source. That extra 10 per cent, is what helps to make us grow
at a more rapid pace than we could contrive for ourselves. And If these
industries prosper, then we take a large Australian equity from them in the
form of 42-2 per cent, of their profits, and if they want to remit dividends
overseas, 15 per cent. of tax on those remitted dividends.
All around Australia you can see the evidence of the growth this
hhaavs eb rao duigrhetc tu sA, utshter anlieawn oepqpuoitryt unini tiGese nietr ahla sM bortoourgs h-Ht ousld. enT'sr, u eb, utw we ed ognet't 42-2
per cent of their profits, and they have, over recent years, exported overseas
to a greater value than the remittances they send overseas, so there has been
no suffering to our external balances.
Look at the transformation David Brand will tell you about it
occurring in his State with the great investment there in mineral development
which will help to build an Australian export Income in the years ahead.
We are lucky that most of this investment is coming to us from big countries
with which our people readily assimilate, and the executives from those
countries who come out here readily assimilate in Australia. If any of my
State colleagues have had an experience of being pushed around by any of
these people, I would like to hear of it from them. I never have, and I don't
believe that they have. The capital, once it comes here, almost wli-hout
exception, beds down and adjusts itself to Australian policy, Australian
philosophy and helps to serve the Australian people.
Well, I have mentioned these things, ladies and gentlemen,
becaus~ e they are in the realm of public discussion at this time. I have only
sketched some of the answers to them. But my final word to you Is that this
great Liberal Party has a tremendous and continuing national responsibility.
Nobody in his senses, looking at Labor In disarray, with a team I ncapable
of giving Australia the government it needs in these times, could imagine
Labor in office for years to come. We havc. had the responsibility ofleading
Australia through these new, enterprising, adventurous years of the
post-war period when a new chapter has openecd in the history of this country
and that chapter is by no means concluded. There is a new era of change
which we have to recognise, the explosive, difficult, delicate issue of raceto
which we have to adjust ourselves, live with -n this area of the world, both
as members of an Asian region and as members of a Commonwealth of nations
in which these days there are only four of the old members left, out of a
total of 23 to be expanded to 26 in a few months' time. We have to tread

way carefully, delicately, but at the same time when occasion demands it,
firmly, in this kind of company. Now, can anybody conceive that the Labor
Party, as at present constituted, can do that task for Australia? Of course
not, and so the responsibility rests with us and rests in particular with the
Liberal Party to give the leadership that the nation requires. Each and every
one of us, whether we are members of the Parliamentary party, whether in
the organisation itself, whether we come from a State Division on its executive
or from one of its branches, has a contribution to make, not only to the
Liberal Party but through the Liberal Party to the welfare and security of
Australia. A n d it is because I believe that most fervently I am proud to
have the honour of your Parliamentary leadership, and I hope in that leadership
that you and I and my own team together will write new chapters of
Australian history of which succeeding generations of Australians will be
fully proud.

Transcript 1410