PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2595


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/05/1972

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2595

Spee ch by the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon.
William M~ ctahon, M. P.
Mr President, J-! r Alain Jarman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for comning along tonight and for gi'ing me the
chance to talk to you for a few minut~ es, and to join forces with my
colleague, Alan Jarman, in getting the Liberal message across to the
people in this election year.
We depend Qfl you to heln us do that. You are closest to
the voting public and therefore in a good position to " sell" the
Government's policies, and also give us in Canberra a " feedback" on
what people are thinking.
I see the Labor Party has got a haberdiasher slogan called-
" It's Time" Well, true enough it is time time for the mask to
be ripped off Labor pretensions and policies. Time for Liberals to
be out in the market place telling the Australian pEiple what they
have been doing as the major party in Government in the last twelve
months or'so. If we all get down to this task and press on with it,
enthusiastically and energetically, then later in the year I have no
doubt it will be the Labor Party " for whom the bell tolls" 9
I am confident that the policies we are putting forward are
honest, open for all to see, and in the best interests of the people
of Australia. Now, Mr President, the-: re is one theme that I want to
give some time to tonight, because it is importanit to all Liberals,
important to the Government as the voice of the people, and imrnortant
to the people themselves as individuals in a free society. I refer
to " freedom within the law' in our community.
Most Australians are " fed up to the back teeth" with disorderly
demonstrations like those in Melbourne and other cities last
week. This isn't freedom of sneech and of assembly two ideals
Liberals hold dear. Those disorderly demonstrati. ons involve unbridled
licence by the few illegal in therrselves but dangerous to all. It
is anarchy by a militant, subversive few who inflame thoughtless
people and are encouraged too much by some sections of the L~ abor Party.
/ 2

Last week's events were more than just another demonstration
that got out of hand. They were a symntod of a sickness in some parts of
our society which left wing elements and Labor politicians are promoting.
Naturally, I was delighted to see Henry Boltetaking a firm stand about
these events. As Liberals we have a duty to take our stand in support
of the law. Demonstrations in Melbourne were once promoted only by the
hard-core communists and a few fellow= travellers, but in the last year
or two the left-wing unions and Labor noliticians have added their weight.
This, now, is exploding into a serious challenge to the authority of the law
keener-+* h ~ viice-and the authority of Covernments-Gommonwealth and State
The clearest demonstration of this occurred during the recent Springboks
Tour when the A. C. T. U. President and certain Labor Politicians openly
inspired mass disruption. There was no industrial motive for their actions.
Indeed there was no really genuine nolitical . motive. It was attemoted.
anarchy for anarchy's sake.
We in the Liberal Party stand for the freedom of the individual
and for free enterprise. We believe it is the duty of the Government to
exercise the authority within the law I repeat within the law vested
in it by the Australian people.
That is why, for example, we have taken action against draft
dodgers We believe Australian citizens have the right to go about
their business. In Melbourne, or Blackburn or anywhere else in Australia
without being interfered with by dangerous demonstrations. Ordinary
decent people, the great majority of Australians have every right to
expect their Government to act in their interests.
I want to put this matter in perspective. I am sure that the
majority of people like my Government, respect absolutely the right of
dissenters to dissent, and the right of demonstrators to demonstate.
But it must be within the Law We support South Vietnam. Our soldiers
fought there with great courage. We are still helping with training
even though our troops are home. We support the latest action by the
United States. Why? because it is honourable and right, and because
we are opposed to aggression. Yet what do we see on the other side of
the political fence?
Support for North Vietnam has been given by the Labor Party
here in this state. Support for an aggressor, ecposed for all to see.
No longer can the Labor Party talk nonsense about the war being an
internal rebellion or civil war and therefore nobody's business.
Let's look at another exaxple of the false and dangerous values
of our opponents. They have declared themselves against compulsory
National Service. We, the Liberals are for it because there is no other
way of keeping our armed forces up to the strength required to meet our
defence obligations to the Australian people. The Labor Party has always
said it would scrap National Service. That would be mark you a
political not a defence decision. But in the last day or two they have
started to talk with two voices and adopt two standards. Perhaps they
wouldn't scrap it right away. Or perhaps they would. Who knows? And
perhaps they wouldn't pull out of the five-power defence arrangements in
Singapore-Malaysia; Or perhaps they would. They have always said so
until recently! Well, who knows? / 3

I mention these matters because these are at the heart
of the demonstrations which have been bringing chaos to the streets
of our capital cities. The Australian people must judge for
themselves, the degree to whichi demonstration and violence would
grow worse with a Labor Government looking with a benevolent eye on
the law-breakers the draft resisters the violent demonstators
and the aggressors against friendly countries.
My Government wants to minimise the divisions within the
Australian community not to enlarge and inflame them. We want the
Australian people to know we stand for respect for the Law. In the
face of the challenge that is so clearly aimed at the Government by
militants and some Labor-inspired agitators.
We have had economic difficulties as a major preoccupation
in this past year. We have been quick to react to changing condition.
In the months ahead I am confident we will make steady, solid progress
which will prove to be the justification of everything we have done
in the past year. I ask you to join me now in nreparing apd working
for a handsome election win. You have your part to play in securing
that victory. Let us do it together.

Transcript 2595