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44 Extract From Broadcast By Menzies

16th September, 1953

...There is much organisation of special interests for political
pressure. This is inevitable. But some men, because of such
organisation, tend to think exclusively of the problem of their
own industry. If the Government does what they want, they are
happy; if not, they will be hostile and bittter. Yet, no
Government can please everybody, because many pressure groups are
in conflict one with another. And a Government should not try to
please everybody, for it ought to have principles and a mind of
its own. The ultimate responsibility of a Government is to do what
it thinks is best for the nation as a whole. Political leadership
therefore requires considerable strength of character and patience
and hard work, and much study and tenacity. If these were not so,
we would not need or expect men of talent and industry and
character to go into Parliament.

All political judgements must be made on balance. Somebody will
think he is hurt by the decision, but a balanced judgement founded
upon the interest of the nation must prevail. This is undoubtedly
the hardest thing for most of us to understand. I will just give
you one illustration. How should we deal with trade with Japan?
Japan is a country with which we were recently at war, and whose
conduct of the war was such as to produce immeasurable bitterness
among our own people. But we are now at peace. Are we to say that
we will not trade with Japan? Trade involves selling and buying.

Last year our trade with Japan was so lopsided that whereas Japan
bought from us no less than 84,000,000 worth of goods-the largest
item being wool-we bought from Japan under 5,000,000 worth of
goods. Now that kind of thing simply cannot go on. Japan cannot
buy our wool without paying for it. She cannot have money abroad
with which to pay for wool unless she earns that money by
exporting and selling goods herself. Her presence in the wool
market has been of value, for it increases competition, builds up
our national export income, and therefore increases our capacity
to sustain our local industries.

You would at once agree that if we want to continue to be a great
trading nation and maintain those exports which are our life-
blood, we must be prepared to buy more things from Japan. Yet the
moment it is proposed to increase the quota of Japan's exports to
Australia, somebody will very naturally say that the goods coming
in will compete with his products, and he will be very vocal about
it. Now I don't want you to think that I fail to understand his
case or to sympathize with him, but what is the duty of the
Government in such a case? Is it to please the affected local
manufacturer and sacrifice a substantial share of our wool market,
or is it to preserve our export markets in the interest of the
entire nation, including the great mass of manufacturers whose
success is affected by every increase in the national income.

I give you this illustration to show that the problem of
determining where the true Commonwealth advantage lies is one of
great difficulty and that no Government could hope to solve it
merely by giving way to special pressures within its own
boundaries. The longer I live in public affairs the more satisfied
I am that political leadership does not require the kind of mind
which is blown about by every wind, but requires in full measure
those very qualities of work and thought and determination and
enterprise which we like to believe are the characteristic of the
best elements in our nation and our people.

[AA : A571/158, 46/1931, xix]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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