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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972

Poor Alternatives

Poor Alternatives

Despite the conservatism expounded at the School, the speakers produced some quite important criticisms of their critics. Hedley Bull pointed out there was a convergence of views between the right and the left in the Australian defence 'debate'. Santa-maria (on the right) and Cairns and Teichmann (on the left) were, he said, saying much the same thing. What is the radical position, asked Bull. The ideas of non-alignment or armed neutrality were completely disregarded, more because these ideas are meaningless and too expensive than because of ideological bias. I even found one military man who agreed that the idea of complete disarmament was more feasible and logical than non-alignment or armed-neutrality This latter policy of armed neutralityimplies a damn sight more expenditure on defence than at present - who wants that? Non-alignment means, in effect, just another alternative means of defending the status quo and it is more meaningless than most others. Many of Hedley Bull's suggestions for an Australian defence policy of 'national self-reliance' sounded to me very much like the arguments trotted out by supporters of non-alignment, and Bull is certainly no advocate of non-alignment of left-wing politics. It is also worth noting that the advocates of a policy of non-alignment at present range from the Labour Party Youth Conference to John O'Brien of the New Democrat party.