Skip to main content

Historical documents

56 Extract From Broadcast By Menzies

17th March, 1954

Education does not simply mean the compulsory getting of a stock
of knowledge. Knowledge is good; but wisdom is better. It is the
way a man's mind works that matters. To be educated is to have
learned how to think; to have acquired self-discipline; to have
understood duty and the rights of others.

These tasks are not merely scientific or mechanical. A man may be
a great scientist, and be uncivilised. He may have mastered the
technique of the law, but have no real understanding of its
spirit. Education must produce a sense of values, high ethical
standards, and a spirit of tolerance, or it fails.

Now, please don't tell me that all this is obvious. Because it
isn't. You know as well as I do that the easiest and quickest way
to score in a political argument is to appeal to intolerance,
hatred and prejudice. Such appeals are, perhaps, good politics;

but they are detestable statesmanship. And in the long run we need
statesmanship, don't we?

Let me take a current example. We have had a bitter war with the
Japanese. They were a treacherous enemy, as our American friends
discovered at Pearl Harbour. They were a cruel enemy, as many
thousands of prisoners of war learnt in death or misery. We have
no reason to love them and Christ's great injunction 'love your
enemies' is, as yet, beyond our reach. Indeed, even some
professing Christians go so far as to say that it is bad politics.

But the war is over. We are at peace with Japan. The United States
of America, which lost so many thousands of young lives in the
bloody wars of the South-West Pacific, has just made a defensive
agreement with Japan under which Japan is, up to a point, to re-
arm. The American reasoning is clear enough. They say-'If Japan is
not to fall, with all her industrial strength, into the hands of
Communist Russia and China, she must be able to be defended. Who
is to defend her? Are we, and the Australians to defend Japan, or
is she to defend herself?'.

This is the conduct of a grown-up nation, which knows that the
greatest stumbling-block to peace is the perpetuation of enmities.

The conduct of foreign affairs is not a job for children.

Come back home on this matter-are we to trade with Japan? Well, in
fact, we are. Last year we sold Japan 80m. in worth of goods,
notably wool; and we bought no more than 5m. in worth from Japan.

This, of course, cannot go on forever. No trader can buy unless he
can sell. If Japan stopped buying Australian products tomorrow,
our income and our standard of living would fall. Yet to talk
sensibly of Japanese trade is to expose yourself to the offensive
and silly charge of being pro-Japanese.

Would you like a short answer to that poisonous allegation? Here
it is. I have the honour to be supported in the Commonwealth
Parliament by about 100 members. Of these, 69 are ex-members of
the armed services. Their love of Australia is proved in action.

Of these, no fewer than 32 served against the Japanese in the
recent war. Of these, five were prisoners of war in Japanese
hands. Are these members pro-Japanese? Or have they realised that
the happiness of the future depends upon the future, and not
nursing the bitterness of the past for cheap political gain?


[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/2, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top