Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Statements by Members
Bombing of Darwin: 77th Anniversary, National Security
On 7 December 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Japan entered the Second World War. On 15 February 1942, Singapore fell, with the capture of 80,000 troops. And on 19 February 1942, 77 years ago today, Darwin was bombed, with the loss of about 325 people and the wounding of 400. In 1942, in the House of Representatives in the Old Parliament House, they actually closed the Hansard and the parliament prayed for wisdom. Such was the peril that Australia was under. They discussed drawing a line between Brisbane and Adelaide as the fallback position from which Australia would be defended. It was 10 weeks from when Japan entered the war in 1941 until when Australia was under attack.
We must have a strong standing defence system, and we must not fall in the trap of also being underprepared. It concerns me that we still have not addressed our fuel reserves. There is no point in having a standing military if we run out of fuel. We have relied on imported fuel. The loss of refining does leave us exposed. Let us learn the history from 77 years ago and be well prepared so that we can defend our nation if ever we have to again. This is a history we must learn from.