r Man: 1917 - 1945

Full text Prime Minister


“The references which the Lord Mayor has made to Australia as having done something in the defence of Britain and the British Empire are references which no doubt he feels warranted in making. But we would indeed feel very negligent if there had not been on our part that readiness to act which has been referred to in such appreciative terms. You see, Australia is a British people. Australia is a British land, and the 7,000,000 Australians are 7,000,000 Britishers. They are located in the Antipodes, but they are not a bit different from those who are located in any part of this country. They work, they live, they are industrious. There are times when the country is not generous and hard work has to make good Nature's deficiency.

“But it is the stock from which Australia has come which gives to it its fibre, its physical stamina, the endurance of its people in adversity, and that unconquerable spirit which refuses to acknowledge defeat. You have had some evidence of that at Lord's now and again. Lord's is to Australia what it is to this country. We would refuse to contemplate a world in which there would be a jurisdiction over Lord's which would prohibit the playing of test matches. While we may argue about whether or not the game is played according to the rules, we most certainly decline to permit some intruder to decide what the rules should be. We are helping to defend this historic city of London and those 22 yards of turf which we hope will be used time and time again, so that the Motherland and Australia can decide whether the six-ball over is better than the eight-ball over.

“It was Captain Cook who opened the way for Australia. There has been a mighty growth since then. We have been greatly enlarging our national debt, but we are looking forward to halving the incidence of that debt by doubling the population. There is an old saying in Australia that if you want a farm you have also got to have the mortgage. Generally in Australia it is found that the farm is worth the mortgage. While our sons and daughters may say: ‘We have a bigger debt than you had’, we shall reply: ‘Yes, but you have also a much better country.’

“We entered upon this struggle for the same reasons and the same high purpose as animated you. That purpose has yet to be vindicated. We shall be inflexible in our resolve to achieve that end. It is true that we do not like wars. They take too much from the inadequate resources which we have for the promotion of the welfare of the people. But there obviously were to be no limits to this conflagration, and once the King of England was at war the King of Australia was at war. Paying homage to the one King, regarding themselves as part of a union, Australians knew quite well that, as the whole was greater than the parts, you could not defend the whole by allowing any of its parts to be ravaged by an aggressor.

“There is no difference of opinion as to how our communities should be governed. They should be governed by the people themselves. That belief we have inherited from your own struggle. We have modelled our political system on the system which your forebears fought for and evolved, and now in the British Commonwealth we have a fraternization of equals."