19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to inform the House that Lord Macdonald of Gwaenyagor, Paymaster-General in the Government of the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Lords, is within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honorable members.- I shall invite him to take a seat on the noor of the House beside the Speaker’s chair.
Honorable Members.- Hear, hear !
Lord Macdonald thereupon entered the chamber, and was seated accordingly.
– My question to the Minister for Health is based on his statement, or on an alleged, statement attributed to him in the press, to the effect that the friendly societies were to be the medium whereby benefits would be distributed under his health scheme. Will the right honorable gentleman inform me whether it is a fact that the constitutions of the friendly societies preclude unhealthy or sick people from joining those organizations? If that is a fact, will he inform me whether his health scheme is intended only for the healthy, or explain the means by which he proposes to assist the sick?
– It is not my purpose to go into the details of the scheme at the present time, but I assure the honorable gentleman that it will cover the sick as well as the healthy. . Mr. BRYSON. - I have noticed statements in the press purporting to be made by the Minister for Health to the effect that the Premier of New South Wales is not in a position to criticize the national health scheme because he does not know anything about it. I am in a somewhat similar position myself. I ask the Minister for Health whether he has yet prepared this national health scheme of which so much has been said, and if so, when he will take the members of the House into his confidence. If he has not yet prepared a scheme, can he give honorable members any idea when they may expect to hear the details of it?
– The House will hear about the scheme in due time.
– Will the Minister for Supply inform me whether there is a possibility of a shortage of tinplate in Australia? If there is such a possibility can ‘ we get additional supplies from abroad? In view of the paramount importance of tinplate to the jam-making and other industries of Tasmania, and indirectly to fruit-growers, will the Minister do everything possible to ensure that Tasmanian. interests shall be thoroughly protected when supplies of tinplate are being allocated ?
– There is a possibility of a shortage of tinplate. This matter, as Opposition members know, is something of a hardy perennial. However, the Government has had the matter under close consideration recently. The honorable member for Denison may rest assured that every step will be taken to protect primary producers not only in the industries in Tasmania to which he has referred, but also throughout Australia. I do not desire to take up the time of the House now in giving details of supplies of tinplate, .but at a later stage, I shall, with the concurrence of Mr. Speaker, nsk the House for leave to make a short statement on the matter.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that persons who become ill or unemployed are entitled to receive unemployment or sickness benefits after a period of seven days, f they are not in receipt of other income ? If I have correctly stated the position, will the right honorable gentleman say whether it is a fact that such people are allowed to receive up to £1 a week from some other source; without prejudicing their right to the amount which they aTo eligible to receive by way of social services payments? If the answers to my questions are in the affirmative, can the J-‘rime Minister say whether or not the same allowance is applicable to unemployed or to sick ex-servicemen who are in receipt of a war pension and who are not entitled to any other form of repatriation benefit?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service will answer the question.,
– I shall bring the details of the honorable member’s question before the Minister for Social Services and see that the honorable gentleman receives a full reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Immigration. I know from my own personal observations and investigations, which have been reasonably thorough, that the number of new Australians finding their way into private employment in the primary industries can only be described as both insignificant and unsatisfactory. Is the Minister prepared to indicate what steps he proposes to take to discourage the settlement of new Australians in our already over-crowded metropolitan areas, to encourage the settlement of these people in the rural areas where they will have an immediate prospect of assimilation without prejudice to the permanent residents of these localities, and to simplify the formidable and forbidding application form that every potential employer is required to fill in, and that was obviously designed to create the impression that the private employer in this country is the traditional enemy of every new Australian and of every Australian Government ?
– The Government has felt some concern about what the honorable member has referred to as the small proportion of new Australians that has been entering private employment in rural areas. The Government’s plans for the future have sought and are seeking to remedy that situation. I should add, however, that we have asked farmers to co-operate. A deputation from the National Farmers Union came to see me some time ago and I asked that the various members of that organization should let the Government know the number of new Australians they considered that the organization’s members could absorb conveniently. So far as I am aware, no reply has been received to that request although an undertaking was given at that time that some assessmentwould be made. I do not make that statement as criticism but merely to indicate that we are trying to co-operate closely with the official representatives of the primary producers’ organization that I have mentioned, and that we shall do all that we can in the future to see that an ample labour force is available to primary industries. So far as the honorable member’s statements regarding the application form is concerned, I shall examine the form myself to see whether it offends in the manner indicated by the honorable member and whether it can be improved.
– Is the Treasurer aware that the Minister for Social Services informed a deputation of age and invalid pensioners in Sydney last Monday that he hoped that the budget would contain some pension benefits? Is he aware that pensioners are also similarly hoping? Does the Treasurer consider that it is fair to keep the pensioners waiting until next September, when the budget will be brought down, before some alleviation is provided for them ? Does he also consider that his continued failure to do something for the pensioners in the five months that the present Government has been in office exposes him to a grave charge of “ passing the buck “ ?
– First and foremost, .1 have to be convinced that the appropriate Minister did make the statement that has been attributed to him. Secondly, as I have repeatedly stated, the matter to which the honorable gentleman has referred is one of policy which will be considered before the budget is brought down.
– My question to the Minister for Labour and National Service relates to pensions paid to the blind. Most blind people work in full-time jobs. They maintain, quite justly in my opinion, that the pension of £2 2s. 6d. a week which they receive should be regarded as a disability allowance and not an invalid pension. Will the Government consider increasing the permissible income of the blind so that blind workers can earn full award rates in whatever industry they are employed without affecting their right to receive the full pension or disability allowance of £2 2s. 6d. per week.
– This question comes within the province of my colleague, the Minister for Social Services. Some aspects of the question appear to raise matters of policy, but I shall bring the details of the honorable member’s question to the notice of my colleague to ascertain to what extent an answer can be supplied.
– “Will the Minister for National Development say whether rabbits have cost this country £160,000,000 a year and are the second worst pest in this country, the worst being Communists ? Are farmers finding netting and labour unavailable, but yet are they being prosecuted for failing to deal with the rabbit pest? Is there any effective authority to deal with the pest ? Will the Minister consider calling a conference of the States with a view to taking strong measures in this regard? Could an examination be made of the position in New Zealand, where a board operates in connexion with the destruction of rabbits? Can the Government provide assistance by way of grants, or loans, to progressive groups of farmers or contractors to enable them to use tractors, or rippers, in this work?
– As to a comparison between rabbits and Communists, I cannot express any quantitative view. I should guess, myself, that it is probably something like 50-50. Concerning the rabbit problem as a whole and what is being done to tackle it, the Government received representations from a deputation on behalf of the Australian Primary Producers Union which put forward a very ambitious programme designed to meet the problem. Those proposals are now under consideration by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and by myself as the Minister controlling the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. I assure, the honorable member that the Government is fully alive to the tremendous ravages of the rabbit. It believes that throughout Australia as a whole the problem is not being tackled in an adequate way. The Government is determined to do all in its power in that direction with the cooperation, in due course, of the State governments.
Rail TRANSPORT of Members - INTERNATIONAL Football Match.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for the Interior to the facilities at the disposal of members of the Parliament who travel by train to Canberra. I refer particularly to the railway schedule from Goulburn. When the House meets on Tuesdays, honorable members coming from Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, leave Melbourne on Monday evening on a train that links up with the train to Canberra at Goulburn at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and the latter train, if it is on time, arrives in Canberra at 10.45 a.m., the distance of 65 miles from Goulburn taking five hours. I realize that this matter is the responsibility of the State. However, will the Minister confer with the Minister for Transport in New South Wales to see whether it is possible to speed up that service? If not, will he consider providing motor transport for members from, say, Bungendore, in order to enable them to arrive at Canberra much earlier than they can arrive under present conditions?
– I am aware of the delay that takes place in the train service between Goulburn and Canberra and I have been in communication upon the matter with the Minister for Transport in New South Wales. Whilst I understand that a faster train service can be provided under certain conditions, at the same time, I am examining the possibility of providing motor transport for members from Bungendore, or from some other suitable station, to enable them to arrive in Canberra much earlier. As soon as a decision is made on that matter, I shall advise honorable members.
– Will the Prime Minister consider arranging the hours of sitting of this House on Wednesday, the 24th May, the date of the visit of the United Kingdom rugby league team to the National Capital, so that honorable members will have an opportunity to see something of the big match, England versus Monaro, which will be played at the Manuka oval on that afternoon? Although I know that the right honorable gentleman is a follower of the Australian rules football code - and I hope that the Carlton team is doing better than he is doing - I ask him to show hia recognition of the value of the rugby league code as well, and of contests between teams representing British countries as a means of cementing British Commonwealth relationships. Will he give the request from the sponsors of the match that honorable members be allowed an opportunity to witness it as sympathetic consideration fiB possible?
– Very naturally, 1 (hall take this plea into consideration, but I shall also want, of course, to hear applications from representatives of the greatest winter game, which all honorable members from the southern States will at once identify.
– Has the Minister for the Interior given consideration to lowering the butter fat potential prescribed for dairy farms in respect of which financial aid is required by ex-servicemen desiring to enter the dairying industry under the war service land settlement scheme ?
– I have given consideration to lowering the standard f production of butter fat required at present in respect of soldier settlers in dairying districts. I hope that a decision will be made on that matter in the not distant future. When that is done, I shall advise honorable members accordingly.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer. Is the reason for the failure of the Government to inaugurate any developmental projects anywhere dinto the failure of the Treasurer to make funds available for such projects? *I** this refusal due to the right honorable gentleman’s intention to grant substantial tax remissions to wealthy and prosperous companies? After such remissions have been granted, is it the intention of the Government to make available funds for developmental purposes, or is the Government more concerned about personal than national interests?
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is “No”.
– Will the Government consider an amendment of the Income Tax Assessment Act to provide that gifts to approved non-profit-making institutions will be allowable as deductions from gross income? It has been suggested that approval might extend to gifts to such bodies as the Arts Council, the British Drama League, the Institute of International Affairs and the Society of Artists.
– Consideration will be given to the matter along the lines indicated by the honorable member.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs. Is it a fact that the quantity of tea stored in the warehouses to-day is sufficient to enable the existing ration to be doubled? Is it true that such tea, over and above the requirements of the ration, has been paid for on a subsidy basis? When tea is derationed, and the price rises, what steps will the Government take to ensure that such subsidized tea is not sold at the new price, thereby giving merchants a rake-off of thousands of pounds at the expense of the consumers? Will the Minister issue a statement giving details of the quantity of tea in stock at the present time, the amount of subsidy paid, and the method by which the public will be protected from exploitation when tea is sold on a free market?
– I shall bring the honorable member’s questions to the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs and ask that a reply be furnished.
– Was the passport of the Communist secretary of the Seamen’s Union, who left Sydney last Friday to attend the Communist world conference, endorsed with the consent of the Minister for Immigration? If so, does the honorable gentleman consider it to be a part of his duty as Minister for Immigration to assist world communism to hold an international conference?
– Questions have been asked previously by other Opposition members about the practice adopted in issuing passports to notable Communists in Australia who seek to travel abroad. As I pointed out earlier, in the case of Mr. Elliott, as in the case of some others, a passport was issued by the Government nf which the honorable member who asked the question was a supporter. A passport is valid for a period of five years from the date of issue. It is not the normal practice for the holders of such passports to return to my department before their passports expire. Normally it is not necessary for the passport holder to secure the consent of his wife to his departure from Australia. In this instance, as far as I am aware there was no need for Mr. Elliott to approach my department prior to his departure. For many years passports issued to known Communists have, at the request of the Indian Government, excluded India from the countries for which they are valid. When Mr. Elliott travelled abroad previously, representations were made by the previous Government to the Indian Government for the issue of a transit vise. In this instance Mr. Elliott requested me to make similar representations to the Indian Government. I refused to do so and referred him to the Indian High Commissioner in this country. It appears that his own representations were successful and for that reason he has been able to travel abroad.
– Can the Minister for the Army inform the House whether there is any truth in the report that it is the intention of the Government to bring back to this country Australian troops now in Japan to form the nucleus of an instructional staff to train men called up for compulsory military service?
– No final decision regarding the movements of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force has yet been made by the Government.. When a decision has been made I am sure that the Prime Minister will make a statement on the matter.
– In view of the fact that a number of heavy tractors were recently imported into Australia from the United States of America on a basis which did not involve any dollar expenditure, would the Minister for National Development inform the House whether or not arrangements can be made for the importation of further tractors and other farm machinery” from the United States of America on a similar basis?
– I am endeavouring to apply the arrangement which was arrived at with the International Harvester Company to the procurement of as much more equipment as it may be possible to obtain from the United States of America.
Undelivered Mail Matter
– In the absence of the Postmaster-General, I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question which relates to an answer given to the honorable member for Wide Bay by the PostmasterGeneral recently regarding mail returned to the Labour Campaign Committee in Queensland through the Dead Letter Office. Since all mail matter forwarded through the post office is supposed to be confidential as between the sender and the department, will the Prime Minister request the Postmaster-General to have inquiries made into the sources through which the constituent referred to by the honorable member for Wide Bay was able to obtain information regarding mail matter which was returned to the Labour Campaign Committee? Does the
Prime Minister consider that this matter should be referred to the security service for investigation?
– I do not particularly recall the question which is stated to have been asked by the honorable member for Wide Bay, but having regard to the terms of the honorable member’s question I will certainly have this matter examined.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether it is a fact that, as part of a nation-wide campaign against partial deafness, modern acoustics laboratories are being constructed and conducted by the Department’ of Health, in cooperation with the State Education Departments in all States ? Is it a fact that under this scheme it is proposed that all children should be examined by ear, nose and throat specialists, their hearing tested, and a hearing aid costing about £40 supplied free of charge where necessary? In what States have these laboratories been established and testing commenced ? When is it expected that such a laboratory will be provided and the scheme brought into operation in Western Australia ?
– It is the policy of the Government to establish acoustic laboratories in every State. As the honorable member has suggested, free acoustic mechanism is available to children. The equipment is valued at £10. All State capitals now have these acoustic laboratories and the Perth laboratory was established late in 1947.
– Will the Minister for Repatriation inform the Hou3e whether the wives and/or children of war pensioners of the first Australian Imperial Force are not entitled to pension benefits if the marriage took place later than 1940? In view of the fact that representations have been made by various branches of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia for rectification of this position, will the Minister consider including such wives and children in the scope of pension benefits ?
– The matter raised by the honorable member is at present being considered. I shall bring it under the notice of the Minister for Repatriation and I am sure that, in due course, the honorable member will receive a favorable answer.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen a report that the crayfishing industry in Western Australia, which has expanded rapidly in recent years and which is a prolific dollar earner, is threatened as the result of difficulty that is being experienced in having the freezer vessels registered under the export regulations? ls he in a position to make a statement on the matter? If not, will he have the matter investigated with a view to overcoming the difficulties that are being experienced by the industry ?
– My attention was directed earlier to-day to the press report that the honorable member has mentioned, but I had learned a few days ago of the existence of some problem in the industry. I acknowledge the importance of the recently developed crayfish tail export industry, which is now earning over 1,000,000 dollars annually for the dollar pool. I have already arranged for an investigation to be made into the export standards that are required by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, and I assure the honorable member and those who are concerned in the industry that, whilst safeguards in respect of the standards that have been established will be maintained, the department will not insist upon any unreasonable standards that would prevent the development of the industry.
– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture investigate the practicability of broadcasting various types of seed from aeroplanes over recently flooded areas, thu3 making good use of the rich deposit of silt to produce abundant supplies of feed throughout the affected areas? If possible, can this procedure be followed in future to offset devastation that may be caused by floods ?
– Various companies in Australia are .engaged in the work of serial spraying, dusting, and seed distribution. I shall have inquiries made by the appropriate officers of my department in order to ascertain what opportunities exist for the spreading of seed in recently flooded areas, and I shall communicate the results of my inquiries to the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether it is a fact that New Zealand is seeking the lifting of the Australian embargo upon the importation of potatoes from that dominion in order that it may place its surplus potatoes on the Australian market? If this is so, will the Government give careful consideration to the situation of Tasmanian growers and refrain from lifting the embargo until Tasmanian stocks of potatoes are disposed of ? Unless the Government takes that course, Tasmanian growers, who are already smarting under the injustices of fierce shipping rates and inadequate prices, will be placed in a most unenviable position. I point out to the Minister that many potato-growers in Tasmania are turning now to the production of other crops.
– Nothing has been brought to my notice to indicate that any proposition for the lifting of the embargo has been submitted from New Zealand, but if such a proposal is made it will not be considered or dealt with except with full knowledge of the implications of any decision upon the potato industry in Australia in general, and in Tasmania in particular.
– Will the Minister for Supply make a statement to the House of the extent to which the Government is prepared to co-operate with the various State instrumentalities to encourage a dollar-earning tourist traffic. If so, in that statement, and in any subsequent negotiations, will he make reference to the Australian Capital Territory as an independent unit?
– I assure the honorable member that any organization which is being set up by the Australian Government to encourage tourist traffic to this country will co-operate fully with all States, and I include the Australian Capital Territory in that statement. The Australian Tourist Division, which is a very small organization that is to be set up by the Government for the purpose of encouraging tourist traffic, will he almost exclusively a co-ordinating activity. It is not intended to exclude the States but to work with them as closely as possible. I do not know whether any good purpose would be served at this stage by making a more detailed statement, but I give the honorable member an assurance that if it becomes necessary to elaborate the matter later on, I shall be glad to do so.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether any provision is made in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act for the granting of “ burnt out “ pensions to ex-servicemen of World War II. under the same conditions as those which apply to ex-servicemen of World War I. ? If that is not so will the Prime Minister give consideration to the granting of this type of pension to ex-servicemen of the second world war ?
– The Minister for the Army will reply to the question.
– That provision already exists in the legislation. It was arranged a considerable time ago that a pension should be granted where a soldier’ is burnt out, and complies with the statutory provisions. If the honorable member has any difficulty about any applicant meeting the requirements of the act, I shall be glad, through the Minister for Repatriation, to render any assistant^ that I can.
– I had intended to refer this question to the PostmasterGeneral, but as he is absent, I shall address it to the Prime Minister. J regard it as a rather serious matter, and I direct attention to it in order that the difficulty which, has arisen may not occur again if it can possibly be avoided. Will the Prime Minister inform me whether it is the custom of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department to act on advice by an unknown person to cease the delivery of mail to an addressee, and have it redirected to the General Post Office without the knowledge of the addressee? Can a method be devised to prevent a person, by acting maliciously, from having the mail of another person redirected to a different address, to the very great inconvenience of the addressee ? By way of explanation, I point out that an unknown person wrote to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and ordered that the letters of a certain public man be directed to the General Post Office, Melbourne. The addressee had no knowledge of the matter, and, in consequence, he did not receive any mail for a very considerable time. I have with me two letters which I am willing to hand to the Prime Minister so that the matter may be fully investigated. It transpired that an individual, who did not give any address, but who signed the name of the public man, gave those instructions in writing to the Postmaster-General’s Department. It seems to me that it is very serious if mail can be so redirected without check.
– I shall be very glad if the honorable member will let me have the correspondence to which he has referred so that I may have the matter investigated. I could give an answer to his question now, but if I did so, I should only be guessing. A good way in which to test the matter would be to have a look at this individual case.
– Will the Minister for the Interior consider the advisability of introducing legislation to amend the act relative to the Senate elections in order to simplify the method of voting? Is it necessary, under the proportional voting system, to mark the ballot-paper for more than the number of candidates who are actually to be elected?
– I shall have the question considered and supply the honorable member with an answer.
Prime Minister’s Second-reading Speech.
– I desire to address a question to the Prime Minister. Yesterday, the right honorable gentleman made the first batch of corrections to the list of persons whom he had declared in this House to be Communists. Does the Prime Minister propose to make a further statement in which he will announce additional corrections because in those circumstances I should like, in fairness, to mention one gentleman whose name appeared in that list? I refer to Mr. Sid Hibbens of South Australia. The right honorable gentleman merely corrected his original statement that Mr. Hibbens had been the president of the Building Trades Federation, by saying that, at one time, he had been the president of the South Australian branch of the Builders’ Labourers Federation. The most damaging remark was the statement made by the right honorable gentleman to the effect that Mr. Hibbens was a Communist. Mr. Hibbens has been a member of the trade union movement for 40 years - . -
– Order ! The honorable member is giving a lot of information. I think that this matter can be dealt with during the debate on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. The Prime Minister obtained the leave of the House to make the corrections yesterday.
– I am asking this question because you, Mr. Speaker, will realize the damage that can be done-
– For the last couple of minutes, the honorable gentleman has been giving information.
– I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to hear me. I was asking the Prime Minister whether he proposes to make a further statement about this matter and, if he does, whether he will include in it the facts which I have given, because an injury has been done to an Australian citizen. The Prime Minister was given an opportunity to broadcast that that man was a declared Communist, and I am merely asking whether the right honorable gentleman will make a statement in which he will- set out the fact that Mr.
Hibbenshas been a member of the trade union movement for 40 years and emphatically denies that he has ever had any connexion whatever with the Communist party in that period. Further, in view of the great inaccuracies that have appeared in the Prime Minister’s statement .
– What is the honorable gentleman’s question? So far there has been none.
– I have asked one part of my question, and I shall now ask the other part of it. In view of the great inaccuracies that have appeared in the statement that has been made by the Prime Minister against a number of Australian citizens, will he make available to this House the particulars of the kind of investigation that was undertaken, and determine whether the officers concerned are competent to occupy their positions?
– The honorable member, of course, has not asked a question. His remarks are merely a little publicity stunt—
– But it is the truth.
– I understand the honorable member’s vexation about these matters, but he has forgotten that the statement which I made yesterday to correct certain matters, and which I made because I thought it was proper that a list read out during broadcasting time should be corrected during broadcast time, did not say, in the case of four out of five people, that they were not Communists. It merely made a correction about the description of the industrial offices that they occupy, and stated that a denial has been received from one individual that he is a member of the Communist party, and that that matter is being investigated. If any other person whose name appears in the list - and so far I have not heard of any - cares to deny that he is a Communist - and so far no other one has done so - then, of course, that will be investigated.
Mr. Keon having ashed a disallowed question and the Prime Minister having requested that further questions be put on
– I rise to order. As the honorable member for Yarra had the floor and was asking a question when he was interrupted by the Prime Minister, who raised a point of order, is it not necessary that you, Mr. Speaker, should give a ruling on the point before terminating question time ?
– I informed the honorable member for Yarra on two occasions that, in order to put his question in order, he must relate it to the administration of a department of government. He failed to do so, and, therefore, his question was out of order.
– May I ask you a question, Mr. Speaker, on the statement that you made last night?
– The time for asking questions has expired, as the Prime Minister has requested that further questions be placed on the notice-paper.
– Then I ask for leave to make a statement on the statement which you made from the chair yesterday.
– Is leave granted?
Government Members. - No.
Leave not granted.
Debate resumed from the 9th May (vide page 2295), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– A vast and responsible majority of the people of Australia have been waiting anxiously and patiently for resolute governmental action to deal with the seditious and destructive Communist party, and its activities in Australia. The people have a realization of just how communism grew and infiltrated into the social and Christian life of this country, and of how it has affected our well-being, during the years that the Labour narty was in office. The people also have a realization that communism must be considered not only in relation to its activities in Australia but also in the wider natural sense of its international menace. The Government, likewise, has a full sense of its responsibility in this matter. When the two parties at present in office were in Opposition they made frequent and strenuous, but nevertheless futile, attempts to bring the Chifley Administration to a realization of its responsibilities to the country. We used every possible form of this House to do so, and, having failed to get the socialistic Labour party to realize just what was necessary for the well-being, safety and security of the Christian life of Australia, we went to the country with the announced determination that if we were returned to office we would immediately take all constitutional means to declare the Communist party to be what it is - a party with a treasonable outlook, with a seditious intent and with a constitution formulated to overthrow democracy and constitutional authority not only in this country but also in every country in which it has been able to plant its roots and prosper. By an overwhelming majority the people of Australia gave us a mandate to deal with the Communist party as we desire to deal with it, which is expressed in the bill now before the House. The fact that the Government’s action in introducing this measure has been favorably received by the right thinking people of this nation can be evidenced in many various ways. One item of evidence that I shall now submit to the House is a statement that was made by Bishop O’Brien, the Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Gilroy, who said last Sunday -
The basic principle of the Federal Government’s move to outlaw the seditious and destructive Communist party has been endorsed by the people in a way that no legislation other than war and defence legislation has ever been endorsed. Even though a large proportion of Australian citizens are only nominally Christians they abhor communism because it rejects the familiar moral code of Christian conduct and disregards the fundamental rights and liberties of human beings.
When we were in Opposition we moved, time after time, motions for the adjournment of the House in an endeavour to arouse in the Government of the day a sense of responsibility in connexion with the proper discharge of its trusteeship on behalf of the people of Australia. On every occasion that we made those endeavours, in a way that was consistent with the forms of the House, the Labour party took every possible opportunity to excuse, and by the very nature of their excuses, to encourage Communist activity and the Communist menace in Australia. Honorable members opposite excused the Communist party from various angles. On more than one occasion the then Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) said that Communism was a “ political philosophy “. Another senior member of his party said that communism was a “ Christ-like organization “. Despite all our efforts the then Government itself did nothing until it was forced last July to declare, by means of advertisements published throughout the Australian press, that the Communist party of Australia was “ part of a conspiracy “ to prevent coal-miners from obtaining any gains from the lawfully constituted Coal Industry Tribunal. One advertisement reads as follows: -
This is a strike against Arbitration engineered by the Communist party as part of a conspiracy . . . The imprisonment of J. H. King (Secretary of the Western Miners’ Federation) and another union official is the direct result of this conspiracy and nothing else.
The advertisement continued -
The only possible way for their release to be obtained is for them to comply with the Court’s decision. Miners! Return to Arbitration. Stop the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens.
The advertisement also contained the following line -
This advertisement is authorized by the Prime Minister of Australia.
I desire to draw specific and special attention to the fact that the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) declared in no uncertain way that the Communist party is “part of a conspiracy “. Having made such a declaration, what did he and his party do to save this nation from the disastrous, menacing and dangerous effects of that conspiracy? It did exactly nothing ! On the one hand it consistently refused to ban the Communist party as an illegal organization and on the other hand it excused it on every possible occasion, and by its action and inaction it lent encouragement to Communist activity in this country. As a consequence of that it also lent encouragement to the association of communism in this country with international communism generally. In another advertisement which was published on the 2nd July last the then Government stated as follows: -
The Communist section of the Miners’ Leaden* want no law but their own and are recklessly ready to sabotage Australian industry and victimize their fellow-workers in order to achieve their ends. This fight is not one between workers and employers, or between an industrial union and a government. It is an attempt by the cynical Communist section of the Miners’ Leaders to destroy forever the Australian system of Conciliation and Arbitration and to substitute an industrial anarchy in which the rights and wrongs of the case would be unimportant in disputes, and only strength would count. It is a vicious misuse of union solidarity and loyalty by the ruthless Communist section of the Miners’ Leaders who are willing to climb to power over the ruins of industrial and social Australia.
Despite all that comment, the Labour party did exactly nothing. It did not even use the laws that it had passed while it was in office. Tt did not invoke the Crimes Act or the laws that were brought into existence for the specific purpose of dealing with the set of conditions that the present Leader of the Opposition declared to be a conspiracy against the well-being of this nation. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) said in this House last night that there were occasions on which the Chifley Government had to take the strongest possible action against the Communist party. What strong action did it take against Communists ? “Mr. Daly. - It put their leaders in gaol.
– Immediately after he became Attorney-General in 1941, the right honorable member for Barton ordered the immediate release from internment of the notorious Communists Ratliff and Thomas. That action was approved by the official Communist organ, Progress, in an article from which I quote the following: -
While the whole of the Government- that is the Labour Government - is due to be congratulated on this step, particular credit is due to the Attorney.General, Dr. Evatt, who described the arrest of Ratliff and Thomas as a Fascist-like act and a violation of British liberty, soon after it occurred. He protested against it to the “War Council, and now as Attorney-General be lias lived up to his protest.
An important consequence is that two men of high courage, integrity and unquestioned patriotism will now be free to give their services to speeding Australia’s war effort in the People’s War Against Fascism.
Each has signed a pledge.
Early in 1942, following the release of those two proved Communists, the right honorable gentleman removed the ban that the Menzies Government had placed upon the Communist party. The ban was removed because the Communists undertook to support Australia’s war effort and to be of good behaviour; and Parliament and the country were told at that time that if the Communists failed to observe that undertaking the ban would be re-imposed. Did not the Communists fail to observe that undertaking ? Did not the Labour Government declare in advertisements that it sponsored in the press at the taxpayers’ expense that the Communist party had failed to observe that undertaking? Of course, the Communists failed to observe it.
The Leader of the Opposition in the course of his speech last night said that no need exists for this measure, because, he contended, the Crimes Act gives adequate power to the Government to deal with the Communist party, or Communist activities. I point out that whilst such power exists under the Crimes Act - and the present Government did not fail to use it expeditiously when it issued a proclamation in respect of a recent Communist hold-up in industry - honorable members opposite, when they were in office, never had recourse to that power in order to suppress the unlawful activities or stem the onward rush of communism in this country.
– Because every honorable member opposite has signed thepledge whereby the Labour party undertakes to repeal the sections of the Crimes Act relating to political or industrial offences. Every member of that party has signed that pledge in the presence of a witness. I repeat that this Government invoked with expedition the relevant provisions of that act in order te. deal with a recent Communist hold-up in industry. As honorable members opposite have undertaken to repeal those provisions it is humbug for them to talk about adequate power being available to the Government tinder that legislation to deal with the Communist conspiracy thar now confronts us.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) referred to a speech that I made at “Warwick on the 26th April in which I said, as I had often said previously, that the platform of the Labour party is paving the way for communism in this country. If the Labour party gives effect to its platform it will provide the opportunity for a Communist coup in Australia. That fact cannot be contraverted when we note the similarity between the Labour party’s platform and the Communist policy. Let us examine those two documents. Both advocate the repeal of the sections of the Crimes Act relating to political or industrial offences. Whilst the Communist manifesto advocates the abolition of property in land and the application of all rents on land to public purposes, the Labour party’s platform advocates that there shall be no further alienation of Commonwealth Crown land, and no further sale of the freehold of any land held or acquired by the Commonwealth. Both documents advocate a system of graduated income tax. Whilst the Communist manifesto advocates the centralization of credit in the hands of the State by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly, the Labour party’s platform advocates the complete control of banking and credit by the nation, the nationalization of banking, credit and insurance, and that the banking of all public bodies shall be reserved for the Commonwealth Bank. Whilst the Communist manifesto advocates the centralization of the mean3 of communication and transport in the hand9 of the State, the Labour party’s platform includes among its objectives the socialization of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the institution of a Commonwealth shipping service for the carriage of products both interstate and overseas. Again, the Communist manifesto urges the extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan, whilst another objective included in the Labour party’s platform is the socialization of the means of production. The Communist manifesto advocates equal obligation of all to work, and the establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture; and the Labour party’s platform urge* the socialization of the means of production and the amendment of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act to cover employees in the agricultural, horticultural, viticultural and dairying industries.
The comparison that I have made of the Communist manifesto with the platform of the Australian Labour party proves clearly that the two documents are practically identical. That fact cannot be explained away hy honorable members opposite. In this respect, I am in good company. On the 30th October, 1949, Archbishop Duhig, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, said -
Australians had a magnificent country, equal to any in the world, but if socialism ever prevailed communism would soon be on the doorstep. The country would then be in fetters.
Those are the words of His Holiness the Bishop-
– He will have to be promoted.
– I should say, His Grace ; and I agree that he could well be promoted. According to a report published in the Courier-Mail of the 5 th December, 1949, Archbishop Halse, the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, said -
If industry is to be more and more socialized, and without reference to results in the quantity of work produced, it will not be long before initiative, enterprise, and adventure are regarded as merely disturbing factors in a life given up to selfish and humdrum routine. A country that has lost the grit and fortitude of the pioneer is already moribund.
On the 3rd November, Dr. Duhig had this to say -
I warn men and women of the land, who, by the sweat of their own brows have built up homes and reared families, to beware that socialization leads only one way, and that, if it prevails, communism, which is its natural consequence, will swiftly be on the doorstep to take its place and bring about in Australia the conditions of serfdom that have replaced freedom in so many countries of Europe to-day.
The words of Professor Harold Laski Lave frequently been quoted in this House. Professor Laski in his hook, Communist Manifesto, which he described as a “ socialist landmark “, gave various reasons for the association between socialism and communism. His foreword to the book concludes with this question -
Who, remembering that these were demands of the Manifesto, can doubt our common inspiration?
Common inspiration with the Communist manifesto admitted by Professor Laski, the then leader of the Labour party in Great Britain ! The salient objectives of the Communist party and the Labour party are the same. The only difference between the two parties lies in the means by which each seeks to attain them.
I have been long enough on this planet and in political life to appreciate why the Leader of the Opposition referred to a statement made by me at “Warwick on the 26th April, and to statements made by the Prime Minister from time to time drawing attention to the similarity between the fundamental principles and objectives of the socialists and the Communists. The Leader of the Opposition has endeavoured to scare unthinking people into believing that, because this Government has declared emphatically that the Communists and the socialists have common salient objectives, if we ban the Communist party, then, as a natural consequence, we must also ban the socialist party. No argument could be more specious and nothing is further from the truth.
– The right honorable gentleman has argued along those lines for the last ten minutes.
– Not at all. What I have said is that the salient objectives of the Communist party and of the Labour party are exactly the same and that the difference between the two parties lies in the manner by which each seeks to implement its policy. Obviously Opposition members cannot agree to the banning of the Communist party with which they have so much in common.
– That is a lie.
– The association, between the two parties has been made manifest by Professor Laski. The only difference between them is that whereas the Communists seek to attain their objectives by revolutionary or treasonable means, the socialists attempt to implement their policy by orderly, evolutionary and constitutional methods. One of the paragraphs in the preamble of this bill reads as follows: -
And whereas the Australian Communist party, in accordance with the basic theory of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin, engages in activities or operations designed toassist or accelerate the coming of a revolutionary situation, in which the Australian. Communist party, acting as a revolutionary minority, would be able to seize power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat:
That paragraph outlines the Communist method of implementing its policy, thefundamental principles of which, as I have said, are identical with those of the Labour party. The next paragraph of thepreamble reads -
And whereas the Australian Communist party also engages in activities or operations designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system of government of Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices;
The Labour party does not come within that category and, consequently, there is no need for fear that because its principles and objectives are fundamentally the same as those of the Communist party it may be declared an unlawful organization. Only if the description of the Labour party came within that category outlined in the part of the preamble that I have read could it be so declared.
– The right honorable member has said that the principles and objectives of the Labour party and the Communist party are the same, and he has just read what purports to be a definition of the aims of the Communist party:
– The fundamental principles and objectives of the two parties are exactly the same; but as I have admitted, each seeks to achieve its objectives by a different method. The difference between the Communist party and the Labour party may be likened to difference between a highwayman and a cat-burglar. The Labour party cannot, except of its own accord, bring itself within the scope of the legislation. No person associated with the Labour movement need fear that the Labour party will be banned or that he will be declared under the provisions of this legislation.
– Why, then, associate us with the Communist party?
– I have not done so. The Labour party, by its own act, has associated itself with the written manifesto of the Communist party. Both parties were born together and brought up together. Was it by mere chance that the formulation of the basic principle of the Australian Labour party - the socialization of the means of industry, production, distribution and exchange - coincided with the birth of the Communist party in Australia ? It is well known that the adoption of that fundamental principle in Labour’s policy was influenced by Mr. “ Jock “ Garden who was also the founder of the Communist party in Australia. The association between the two parties has extended over many years. If there is any real anxiety on the part of Opposition members that, because the Labour party and the Communist party, have common objectives, the Labour party, too, will be brought within the provisions of this legislation, I shall be prepared to suggest to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that he should include in the bill a provision similar to that contained in the Crimes Act to provide that nothing in this legislation shall derogate from any power or privilege of either House of the Parliament or of the members or committees of either House of the Parliament as existing prior at the commencement of the act. [Extension of time granted.] I thank honorable members for their consideration. Much emphasis has been laid on the onus of proof. I point out that a provision placing the onus of proof on the accused person has remained in the Crimes Act since February, 1926. That provision was not altered during the eight years in which the Labour party held office as the Government of this country. Opposition members accepted it without question. A similar provision has remained unaltered in the Customs Act since 1923. National Security Regulations governing various matters, which were passed during the war, also contained provisions placing the onus of proof on the accused person. They include the National Security (Civil Defence Volunteers’ Compensation) Regulations; the National Security (General) Regulations; the National Security (Information) Regulations; the National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations; the National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations; the National Security (Medical Benefits for Seamen) Regulations; the National Security (Prices) Regulations; the National Security (Shipping Co-ordination) Regulations ; the National Security (Tea Control) Regulations; and the National Security (Volunteer Defence Corps) Regulations. Regulations concerning taxation also have this onus of proof provision. In my own State of Queensland where the Labour party has been in power constantly for 30 odd years, there is the Inclosed Land Act, section (1.) of which provides -
Proof that a defendant had a lawful excuse for entering on inclosed lands lies on him.
Other Queensland statutes which also contain similar provisions regarding onus of proof are the Aborigines Protection and Restriction of Sale of Opium Acts 1897-1934; the Explosives Act of 1906; the Gaming Act of 1850; the Vagrants Gaming and other Offences Act 1931; and the Health Act of 1937. It is a fallacious argument which has been put forward by honorable members of the Opposition in connexion with this newfound love of onus of proof.
Honorable members of the Opposition have also stated that the provision in the bill concerning right of search is a violation of the freedom and the liberty of the subject, but such a provision is contained in the Customs Act and it has been used on many varied occasions by the Opposition party when it formed the Government. Section 200 of the Customs Act states -
Any officer having with him a Writ of Assistance or a Custom Warrant in the form of Schedule 4 hereto, or any officer of police having with him any such warrant may, at any time in the day or night cuter into and search any house premises or place and may bi en I; open the same and search any chests trunks or packages in which goods may he or ure supposed to be.
– The officer has to have a warrant under that act.
– And he will have to have an authorisation under the bill before the House. Under the Customs Act, which has been in force since 1923 and which was used by the previous Government for eight years, the following is the form of the warrant : -
You arc hereby authorized to enter into, at any time in the day or night, if necessary, and search any house, premises, or place and to break open the same, and any chests, trunks, or packages in which goods may be or are supposed to be and to seize and take away any forfeited good or goods, which you have reasonable grounds to believe are forfeited, you may lind therein, and forthwith to put and secure the same in the King’s warehouse, or such other place of security as the Collector may direct; and for so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant. 1 his- warrant shall remain in force for three months from the day thereof.
Section 200 of the Customs Act and the above-mentioned form of customs warrant were in full and complete operation during the period of office of the Labour Government. I am informed that a great many customs warrants were permanently on issue during that period, there being upwards of six warrants on issue in each State of the Commonwealth. These were renewed from time to time as their three months’ period expired. I am not claiming that the issue of those warrants was not necessary, but it is just humbug to state that in a specific bill of the nature of the one before the House safeguards and facilities should not be provided which are similar to those provided in existing acts of the Commonwealth. Honorable members of the Oppo sition, by their action and inaction, in season and out of season, have encouraged Communist activity in this country although, by .means of advertisements which have been distributed throughout Australia, they have declared in no uncertain terms that the Communist party was a conspiracy against the welfare and well-being of this country. But they have never had the courage to ban the Communists as an illegal organization nor to deal effectively with that conspiracy and they will not have the courage to pass the bill which the Government has introduced in order to ban the Communist party as an unlawful organization.
– At the outset I want to refute some of the lying statements—
– I rise to order.
– He said “ lying statements “ but did not mention any one.
– Who else would he be referring to under these conditions?
– I ask the honorable member for Hindmarsh to withdraw lis remark concerning lying statements, which is unpleasing to me.
– If my statement is objectionable to yon I withdraw it. I shall say that I want to refute the false statement made by the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden). It is characteristic of the right honorable gentleman to misrepresent the facts, and, by distortion, to paint an entirely different picture from that which would represent the facts. He quoted the Communist manifesto, of which I notice he has a copy. That is a fact which would render him liable to be declared under the bill.
– I obtained it from the National Library
– I know that, because when I went to get it I was informed that the right honorable gentleman had it. However, I also obtained a copy and 1 propose to quote the manifesto in full and then to compare it with the Labour party’s policy, and, indeed, with the policy of the Liberal party itself. A full summary of the manifesto reads as follows : -
I shall deal with the points of the manifesto in their sequence. The first proposes the abolition of property in land. It is not true, as was suggested by the Treasurer, that the Labour party proposes to confiscate private property in land.
– Why not?
– shall tell the honorable member. The Labour party’s objective is clear and distinct. It must be read in conjunction with the definition and interpretation of the objective.
– The Blackburn interpretation, to which I assume the honorable member refers, was never officially passed. I can quote the rules of the Labour party.
– I attended the 1948 conference of the Australian Labour party at which this interpretation was re-affirmed upon my motion. The official interpretation of the purpose of the objective is as follows : -
That the Australian Labor Party proposes collective ownership for the purpose of preventing exploitation, and to whatever extent may be necessary for that purpose.
That the Party does not seek to abolish private ownership even of any of the instruments of production where such instrument is utilised by its owner in a socially useful manner a;id without exploitation.
– That is not included in the pledge that every member of the party signs.
– We are pledged to all decisions of the federal executive and the federal conference of the party. That being a decision of a federal conference, our pledge carries with it adherence to that interpretation.
– Tell us about the decision that was made by the Queensland branch of the party.
– The declaration by the Queensland branch of the Australian Labour party was just as clear as that of the federal conference. This is the declaration that was made at the Australian Labour party conference in Brisbane this year - ( 1 ) That the objective of the Australian Labor Party as set out in the Platform and Constitution is more than an economic and social theory. It is an attitude of mind as expressed by workers and others pledged to social reform.
It is Labor’s challenge to the gross materialism of tory and communist alike and conforms to a moral principle operating through all forms of human activity and is based on the truism that man is greater than the institutions he creates and the machinery he uses.
It rejects private profit as being the prime motive of human activity, but does not aim at the destruction nf private property. On the contrary Labor demands that all shall have an equal right to own property.
That point is important. The declaration continues -
Labor’s Objective does not aim to destroy profitable activity but proposes that all engaged in useful human effort shall share equitably in the results of their industry. Labor’s Objective does not envisage an idler’s paradise. On the contrary it imposes an obligation on all t» render their best and fullest service.
That dictatorships either from the right or left encourage anarchical tendencies and also produce chaotic conditions in a world tom asunder with pressure groups each striving to gain power and profit for themselves.
Labor’s Objective is a challenge to the undemocratic forces which seek to destroy the Australian way of life, and the intelligent co-operation of all people pledged to progressive social reform is sought to assist in implementing Labor’s Objective, thereby providing greater security for the community and eliminating th* evil forces opposed to progress.
I am obliged to the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) for his interjection which drew attention to the decision that was made by the Queensland branch of the party.
The second point in the Communist manifesto declares that the party believes in a heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Does this Government propose to abolish the graduated income tax. or does it intend to follow the lines of the Communist manifesto? If it maintains a graduated income tax, it will be supporting at least one of the objective?1 of the Communist party. The bill provides that “ Communist “ means -
A person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin.
That refers to support or advocacy of any one of the Communist policies, not necessarily all of them. Here we have a clearcut example of the Liberal party accepting and proposing to continue the Communist policy of a graduated tax on incomes.
– That is not one of tiltobjectives that were enunciated by Karl Marx.
– It is a part of his teachings that is embodied in the Communist manifesto. The fourth point in the manifesto provides for the confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. The Labour party does not believe in that objective, although the Liberal party has endorsed it in this bill to confiscate the property of Communist rebels. There we have a clear-cut parallel between the policy of the Liberal party and the teachings of Karl Marx. If this bill becomes law, any Government that comes to power will have the right to declare any person, whether he be Liberal or Labour, who supports any one of the principles enunciated in the Communist manifesto. I have already referred to some of those principles to which the Liberal party subscribes. I come now to the fifth point in the manifesto. It is true that the Labour party believes in the nationalization of banking and declares that control of finance should be placed in the hands of the elected representatives of the people. Of course we believe in that policy, because the only alternative is to place control of finance in the hands of individuals who are not representatives of the people as a whole and who are not answerable to the people, and we cannot support any such system. We are not afraid to admit that we adhere to the policy of the nationalization of banking.
The sixth point in the manifesto proposes the centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. According to the Treasurer, that refers to any form of transport, and anybody who supports government control of any form of transport therefore supports a Communist doctrine. Can we assume, therefore, that all previous anti-Labour governmentswere communistic because they did not sell the Commonwealth railways, and can we assume that this Government proposes to sell Trans-Australia Airlines, the shipping line that the previous Government established and the Commonwealth railways? If the Government does not remove those instrumentalities from the control of the State, it will be subscribingto one more principle of the Marxist Communist manifesto.
– Is the honorable member defending the Communists?
– No. I am pointing out that there is little difference between many objectives in the Communist manifesto and the Liberal party,spolicy. Another plank in the manifestosupports the free education of all children. All State Liberal Governments in Australia support free education for all children. Therefore, they are endorsingone more principle in the Communist manifesto. The Communist party declares that there is an equal obligation on all to work and advocates the establishment of industrial armies. The Treasurer engaged in verbal contortions in an effort to prove that the Labourparty supported that declaration in the Marxist manifesto because it sought to amend the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act in order to provideindustrial protection for agricultural workers. The establishment of industrial armies is not what we subscribe to; it is what the members of the Australian Country party would favour. The Labour party has always opposed it. The cold fact is that the Labour party and the Communist party have absolutely nothing in common. The only points upon which those two parties agree are the point9 that I have outlined and which I shall summarize.
They are, first, free education for the children of the country; secondly, control of the finances of the nation by people responsible to the electors, and not by self-appointed persons and those who inherit the right to direct such important matters; and thirdly, a graduated income tax. The Australian Labour party has always made clear its attitude towards communism, and that is something that the Liberal party has not done. I shall quote from the resolutions of the Triennial Federal Conference of the Australian Labour party, held in 1948, regarding it9 attitude towards trade unionism. That will show the position of the Labour party in relation to communism. A resolution unanimously adopted at the conference was -
Conference reaffirms its repudiation of the methods and principles of the Communist Party and the decisions of previous Conferences that between the Communist Party and the Labour Party there is such basic hostility and differences that no Communist can be a member of the Labour Party. No Communist auxiliary or subsidiary can be associated with the Labour Party in any activity and no Labour Party Branch or member can cooperate with the Communist Party.
Conference further declares that the policy a.nd the actions of the Communist Party demonstrate that that party’s methods and objects aim at the destruction of the democratic way of life of the Australian people and the establishment in its place of a totalitarian form of Government which would destroy our existing democratic institutions and the personal liberty of the Australian people. We therefore declare that the A.L.P., through its branches, affiliations and members must carry on an increasing campaign directed at destroying the influence of the Communist Party wherever such exists throughout Australia.
We affirm that the Labour Movement offers the most effective and safest method of preserving democratic liberties, or protecting and improving workers’ living standards, . . .
I helped to draft that resolution. The Labour party is opposed to communism, but let me remind the House that communism is also opposed to the Labour party. Communism is more firmly opposed to the Australian Labour party than it is to the Liberal party, because it considers that the policy of the Liberal party will so strengthen capitalism a9 to bring about the results which always flow from capitalism when it has free play. Then Australia will be ripe for the revolutionary state of affairs that the Communists hope will eventuate in this country. That is why they want the Liberal party to retain control of the Government. The Communists know that the Liberal party, wedded as it is to capitalism, monopolies and fascism, will, by its very actions, create that political situation which will make easy a revolution in this country. That is the reason why the Communist party spends more time preparing and publishing literature condemning the Labour party and Labour governments than it spends in attacking the Liberal party and Liberal governments. I invite honorable mem hers to read copies published during the last five to ten years of the Tribune, the Guardian, or any Communist pamphlet. After having read those newspapers, I challenge them to prove that the Communist party has not spent more time fighting the Labour party than it has in attacking the Liberal party. That is because the Liberal party is its political ally in the plot that the Communists are hatching and are hoping to impose on this country. I ask honorable members whether they ever saw a Communist candidate opposed to a Liberal or Country party candidate at an election. I suggest that such a thing has never occurred, or at any rate has happened very rarely. The only time the Communists oppose Liberal or Country party candidates is when there is a Labour candidate in the field. Such opposition at that time is for the benefit of the Liberal or the Country party candidate.
Government members interjecting,
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Ryan). - Order! There is far too much interjecting. I desire to listen to the honorable member, but I cannot hear a word that he is saying. I ask honorable members to maintain silence as far as possible during the speeches.
– The recent general coal strike was a deliberately planned plot by the Communist party to destroy the Labour Government. The Liberal and Australian Country parties were delighted when the Communist party prepared this plot. They were pleased to know that the country was going to be plunged into the depths of a coal strike and that thousands of men were going to be thrown out of employment, because they knew that that would mean the success of the Communist plot. If a party is subversive, ample power is available in the Crimes Act to deal with it. The Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), who just resumed his seat, admitted that there was power in the Crimes Act to deal with subversive parties or persons. Why does not the Government use this power that it freely admits it has under the Crimes Act? Why does the Government introduce legislation which differs from the Crimes Act only in that it takes away liberties which have been handed down from the year 1215 ? From the time of the signing of Magna Charta the privileges that this bill seeks to filch away have been enjoyed by the English-speaking peoples. The Labour party has never supported treason nor has it supported subversive activities of any kind. We would not hesitate to use the Crimes Act where a clear case of subversive activity could be proved against a person or organization. The Opposition will allow this bill to become law only because it knows that the people, at the time of the last election, honestly believed that the Liberal party could cure the evils of communism by its legislation.
The Opposition knows that legislation such as this cannot cure the evils that it seeks to cure, and I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) that the best way to prove to the people of this country that this bill is no cure for the evils of communism is to let them discover for themselves that it cannot be effective.
– The honorable member hopes that the bill will fail ?
– I do not hope that it will fail - I know it will fail. Moreover, industrial strikes cannot be settled by legislation of this kind. Russia tried to prevent the Communist idea from spreading, and thought that by banning the Communist party it would achieve its aim. Russia discovered, a few years later, that in spite of the bans communism had taken complete control of the country. The same thing occurred in China. Chiang Kai-shek banned communism and used the greatest force of arms employed in recent history in trying to destroy it. To-day the Communists have complete control of China. The same thing is happening in France and other countries. Communism is a state of mind, and that state of mind can only be altered when a government arises with the courage to remove the evils of capitalism which are the real breeding ground of communism. Until those evils are removed the Communist ideals will continue to thrive. My own life, under capitalism, has not been happy. My father had a small dairy f arm and because the income from the farm was insufficient he was obliged to go shearing to keep things going. This meant that my mother had to do all the hard work about the farm and care for her four small son3. She was forced to do that. There wa3 little money for the purchase of even the necessaries of life. My mother washed bran sacks, and my father sewed them together with binder twine so that we could use them as blankets to keep us warm at night.
A Government MEMBER - The people of Soviet Russia are doing that now.
– There was little difference between the conditions under which we lived in those days, and the conditions under which the people of Soviet Russia live. For years, my father and mother, and their four children slept under bran bags, because the rotten capitalist system that was then in operation did not allow my parents to provide the proper bedclothes for their family. My father was not a drunkard. He did not take intoxicating liquor at any time, and he did not gamble, or waste money in speculation. He was an honest shearer who worked hard all his life, and saved money whenever he could in order to improve the living conditions of his family. My mother was equal to the best mother ever bom. My parents were good citizens in every sense, yet they had to live under great hardship because of the vicious capitalist system in this country at that time. Is it any wonder that members of the Labour party feel bitter towards capitalism? The conditions that I have described foster communism. I agree with the statement by the Leader of the Opposition that many honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton), who yawns, would embrace communism to-morrow, if they thought that, by so doing, they could increase their profits. ifr. Roberton. - I was caused to yawn.
– A multimillionaire who is one of the biggest capitalists in South-East Asia has announced that he has embraced the creed of communism and will carry on his business in China. He sees much virtue in communism since it has triumphed in that country. Repressive legislation and bribery of the kind for which the Treasurer is so notorious, will not prevent industrial disputes.
Mi-. Beale. - What does the honorable member mean by “bribery”?
– I realize that the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale) is about to jump to his feet and take a point of order, so I inform him that I am referring to the £300 that a former non-Labour government paid to a previous president of the miners’ federation in order to get him to “ sell out “ his workmates, and, in that way, bring about industrial peace. The provision that places on a declared person the onus of proving his innocence is one of the worst features- of the bill. It made me sick to hear the Treasurer refer to the support that a churchman had accorded the hill, because the right honorable gentleman read only half of the statement that had been made on the matter. I propose to read a statement by another church leader, Archbishop Mannix, who, referring to the bill on the 7th May last, said -
Legislation of this kind is always dangerous. It is intended to meet a special emergency, and in meeting it there is a danger that it may go too far and liberty be sacrificed.
I hope there will be calm, deliberate and wise discussion in Parliament and that the bill will be amended to avoid any possible danger.
– Will the honorable member read the rest of that statement ?
– Government supporters should read complete statements, and should not descend to the gutter and be political curs by reading only a portion of them. They may be interested in the opinion that Mr. Legatt, the Chief Secretary in the Liberal Government of Victoria, gave when he was invited to comment on the bill. The report of his statement reads - “ It does look bad “ he said, expressing concern over the “ dangers “ of the bill. He thought the provision that a person must prove he was not a Communist could be very dangerous.
He added : “ We must avoid any chance of a person being convicted before he is given a fair trial.”
Yet this Government does not propose to allow a declared person to have a fair trial. This bill will establish a paradise for pimps, liars and informers, and every time a militant leader of a trade union supports a strike, he will be called a Communist, because his action will support a Communist objective. The bill defines a Communist as -
A person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin.
The Labour party believes in militant trade unionism, and in the right to strike. We shall never forfeit that right, and when constitutional means fail to obtain the settlement of a bona fide industrial dispute, we shall always resort to the right to strike and use it with the utmost vigour. What will happen under this legislation is that every trade union leader who fights for his organization will be declared by some pimp and “heel”, who has not the courage to face the accused and give evidence against him in open court. I would be one of the first persons to he declared under this legislation if I were still a trade union leader, because I did not hesitate at any time to use the strike weapon when constitutional means had failed to produce a satisfactory settlement of an industrial dispute. The Opposition requires from the Government a clear-cut assurance that it does not intend to use this legislation against militant trade union leaders.
– The honorable member is well aware of the position.
– We want a clear-cut statement that militant trade union leaders will be permitted to call a strike if they want to do so. We also require a definite assurance that one of the purposes of this bill is not to destroy the right to strike. We are completely and unequivocally opposed to the provision under which a peace officer is empowered, without a warrant, to break into and enter the home of a citizen. William Pitt, the great Earl of Chatham, has described the undoubted freedom of Englishmen from such action in the following pregnant words : -
The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may he frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it- the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter. .All his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement! “ An Englishman’s house is his castle and no man may enter it save with his permission “. This has been the proud boast of Englishmen for centuries. Let it remain so.
.- One of the most interesting parts of the speech that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) has just delivered was the quotation of the views of Archbishop Mannix on this bill. The Archbishop expressed the hope that the legislation would be the subject of calm and deliberate and wise discussion in the Parliament, but the honorable member has done everything in his power to throw the advice to the winds. He made a most extraordinary play on the fact that some of the teachings of Marx had been taken from the policy of Mr. W. G. Gladstone about 1880. Why that old-fashioned, liberal policy of Gladstone should have been accepted by Marx and should now be regarded as Communist propaganda, I cannot say. The honorable member worked himself into a state of excitement when he tried to prove a very stupid thing, namely, that this bill is aimed at members of the Labour party, and the Australian way of life. Shortly after this Parliament met o-n the 22nd February last, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzios) whether he would consider what help was necessary for a national theatre. Some honorable members are making their histrionic ability evident before our eyes in this debate. They arc opposing the bill in the most violent and vehement language, yet they do not propose to vote against the second reading. Apparently, they are giving lip service to the democratic way of life in Australia.
I should like to follow the advice of Archbishop Mannix and debate the merits of this bill calmly, deliberately, and, if I can, wisely. If members of the Labour party consider that certain provisions require amendment, we shall examine their submissions, and explain our reasons for supporting the legislation in its present form. I propose to make a reasoned examination of the bill. I am just as concerned about the freedom and liberty of the individual as any other honorable member is. Th’fact that we have accepted the responsibility of representing the people of Australia in this House must mean, if we arc sincere, that we are here, on the sufferance of the people who elected us, to protect their freedom and liberties in the best way that we can conceive. If we hold conflicting views about the manner in which that protection should be given, i»’e must compose our differences in this House, and not by shouting statements over the broadcasting system that have little or nothing to do with the debate and inn downed to serve party political propaganda purposes. Evidence of the real viil of ordinary people like myself and many others to protect the liberty a”d freedom of the individual was demonstrated in 1914, and again in 1939, by the extraordinarily generous response on the part of the young men of Australia to the call for service to protect the Australian way of life. The assertion that that will may die simply because certain legislation has been introduced in 1 his Parliament is ridiculous. The will still exists, and will always exist, because it is inherent in the Australian character. It is our responsibility to hammer out the right expression of that belief.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) referred to a matter that immediately attracted my interest. He said that the lesson taught by history was that an idea could not be suppressed by force, and that a liberal, democratic and progressive idea could not be met and fought, bv repression. I shall examine that statement. H. A. L. Fisher, who is one of the greatest English historians, disagrees with the right honorable gentleman’s view
In the preface to his work, The History of Europe, he describes an attempt to find a pattern that brings a lesson forward from history, but he confesses that he has not been able to do so. It is perfectly true that a progressive idea may go underground as it were, and disappear for 200 years - the Protestant revolution in Bohemia is an excellent example of that - yet the idea will emerge if it has the seed of something democratic that preaches happiness and the right of the people to freedom. Frequently, thos» ideas that tended towards greater freedom and a purer and better democracy may have been submerged in two pages of a history book, because they may cover a period of 200 years. However, I want to use the opposite argument, to which the Leader of the Opposition did not refer. [Quorum formed.] According to some of our greatest historians there appears to be no pattern and no direct lesson in history. But there is plenty of evidence that vicious, malicious or treasonable organizations have been very successfully dealt with by some measure of suppression. I consider that unnecessary bitterness is being introduced into the arguments advanced in this debate. We have also heard in the arguments of honorable members opposite the curious theme that the communism that the Government wishes to attack is a forward-looking political philosophy. As purely and simply a political philosophy, communism does not interest us. What interests us and should, I consider, interest honorable members opposite, is the fact that communism, as a treasonable and subversive organization, must be dealt with in a special way. Communism has become wrapped up in an attack on what the democratically minded people of Australia have decided is to he the Australian way of life. Communism presents an attractive picture to some people. It presents such a picture to people who have not achieved all that they hoped to achieve and to some people who are woolly-minded as far as their assessments of political values are concerned. It also attracts people whom I regard as dupes. Tn my opinion communism is dangerous in that it is becoming the Fifth Column of a vigorously expansionist and imperialistic power. I am convinced, and
I should have no difficulty in finding other people who are similarly minded, that the manifestoes and statements issued by Communist leaders in Australia show that those leaders are prepared to regard themselves actually as advance agents of a foreign power, although they would describe themselves as the advance agents of a philosophy that had been accepted by a foreign power. I do not think that that is a true description. They are the advance agents of a very vigorous imperialistic power. The acceptance of communism by Russia is not surprising. Russia has never known democracy, nor have the Russians ever had a chance to study the workings of democracy. Russia’s former Czarist rulers carefully ruled out any close contact between the Russians and the democratic nations of Western Europe. The present rulers of Russia are carrying out the same policy.
I consider that the most disturbing feature of the debate on this bill is the rather stupid outlook that has been evinced with respect to this dangerous philosophy of communism. Communists not only are people who hold a certain philosophy, but also are a. dangerous group of people who, in apparently representing a philosophy, are actually representing a vicious imperialistic power. If the late unlamented Herr Hitler were still in power in Germany, or if the late Signor Mussolini were still in power in Italy, and the same vigorous tentacles from their type of government - the rather curious guild socialism of Italy, and the national socialism of Germany - were to reach into this country, I can imagine what an outcry there would be from the Opposition benches. Honorable members opposite would say that the agents of those two governments were traitors who were coming here to try to seduce Australians into being traitors. I consider communism to be just as repulsive as fascism was, or for that matter as was the beastly military totalitarianism that we had to set out to destroy in 1914. I believe that the Communists in this country are acting on behalf of Russia and are seeking to spread a philosophy that will be the simplest means of bringing to reality the vigorous imperialistic dream that Russia has had ever since, in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, it awakened from the Dark Ages. Russia’s history since then is a continuing story of vigorous expansion. Since the end of the last war events in Europe have not belied that process in any way. Russia’s alarming expansion in Europe has been carried out to a most amazing degree. Its present expansion in Asia, where it has used that horrible weapon, the Fifth Column,, is equally alarming. That is the standpoint from which I approach the bill. I have tried to approach it entirely as a rational problem that has to be solved in certain ways. There are some clauses in the hill that I do not like, I am not willing to say that I like them. I dislike them,, but my desire is to find a way of making the intention of the bill work,
– What clauses does the honorable member dislike ?
Mi BROWN,- I know that honorable members opposite are not going to vote against the till.
– What clauses does the honorable member dislike ?
– I am addressing my remarks to Mr. Speaker. If we can debate this bill calmly and make it work, it will be intensely valuable. I remember very well, as I have no doubt other honorable members do, what happened in 1913-14 and in the years between 1936 and 1938, when a tremendous and vicious menace was obviously growing and threatening us. In those days, because of some nicety of feeling about interfering with somebody’s liberty, we took no definite action to protect ourselves at ali. I was in England in 1913-14 and I recall the outcry that followed a suggestion that Britain should begin to take steps to protect itself, to search for and remove foreign spies and to equip itself for what was to come. I consider that exactly the same thing is happening again. The struggle is coming. It is in front of us. The column which is going to bring it here is. in Australia in a very clever and malicious guise. Yet we again show this same nicety of feeling and say, v We must not do anything that interferes with the liberties of somebody “. Once again- -and I say this with every sense of its seriousness - unless we move now, the country will have, to get out of its troubles through the generosity of its young men. It may be forced to send them, with the odds against them, to fight the enemy that had grown powerful while we were inactive. With an amazing, immaculate generosity, young Australians and young men of the British races generally, paid for the unpreparedness and the curious political inability of our rulers to remove the most dangerous threats. Again and again in the last few years our young men have paid with everything they had for those mistakesof their rulers. Do not let us ask them to pay the same price again, but let us believe, as I believe, that this danger in our midst is real and vigorous, and let us determine to rid ourselves of that part of it which has already established itself in our midst, before it is too late and we have to call on our young men to save us.
.- Right down through, the centuries the average man and woman kas been seeking to secure a form of government broadly based upon,, and responsive to, the people’s will. They have fought against tyrannical kingship ;, against military adventurers > against privileged aristocracies; and against the greed and rapacity of capitalists.. Since its inception the Australian. Labour party has been the spearhead of the fight for government o£ the people, by the people, for the people. Because of the activities of members of theLiberal party we have not yet secured that ideal democratic form of government. It does not exist in every State of the Commonwealth. We have evolved however, a system of government that can be likened to a game of chess, the first and fundamental rule of which is that each opponent shall have the same opportunities of winning the game; that he who loses the game shall have had the same opportunities as his victorious adversary.
– That is “ snakes- and ladders”.
– My friend is talking about snakes. I thought he was going to give me his autobiography. The political system that we have evolved is. as I have said, somewhat simitar to a game of chess in which the opposing parties sit down arid agree that each shall have the same opportunities of winning. After the game is completed, the chessmen are reassembled and another game begins. But now titers enters the arena a person or force that rays, “ T insist on taking a position st the chess board but I shall not be ciircumscribed by the rules “. The attitude of the Communists is that should they secure a majority in the Parliament even temporarily, by fraud or other means, no game of chess shall be permitted. The chessmen shall be discarded and the board destroyed; and the playing of chess shall be declared to be high treason. I shall not defend the attempts of the Communists or those of any other section of the -community to take advantage of the ‘democratic institutions of this country in order, ultimately, to destroy them. For that reason I have no hesitation in saying that I shall support the motion for the second reading of this measure.
However, many of the provisions of the bill which do not relate to the Communist party, or to Communists, present grave dangers. In seeking to achieve its objective, which is to ensure that communism shall not continue to exist in this country, the Government proposes to take action that will endanger the freedom that we have enjoyed through the years. The measure provides that any person who is declared to be a person who preaches the doctrines of Marx or Lenin or carries out activities of a subversive nature shall prove that he or she is innocent of such a charge. The onus of proof -should be placed upon those who make the accusations. That provision is in keeping with the practices of communism and fascism. It means, in effect, that in -order to destroy the Communist “menace to our democratic institutions and the freedom that we enjoy, we shall temporarily^ - I presume that this measure will be temporary - discard those freedoms by utilizing the weapons of the tyrant against the tyrant. A government that follows that course will soon assimilate the outlook of those whom it seeks to destroy. The Government proposes to adopt methods that are practically identi cal with those used by the Communists themselves. That fact can be demonstrated by reference to the Corrective Labour Codex of the Soviet Union, in which, as in all the countries that are satellites of the Soviet, forced labour and concentration camps a-bound. The Soviet Corrective Labour Codex is a voluminous statute of 8,500 words. It shows that one of the main purposes of forced labour is to dispose of any who dare to differ from, or oppose, the Soviet r%ime. The codex prescribes the conditions of forced labour and it is enforced by the dreaded Russian secret police now known as the M.V.D. Clause 8 of the codex provides -
Persons are directed to corrective labour who have been sentenced thereto toy: -
Decree of an administrative organ.
Doubtless many a Soviet citizen, accustomed to the Kremlin’s tyrannical idea of the function of law, will fail to perceive the difference between a court sentence and an administrative decree. Free men will see it clearly. In reality, an administrative decree is exactly the same as a declaration, such as is being provided for under this measure. The Government has not adequate reasons for going so far as that in its attempt to deal with communism. Supporters of the Government have said that the attitude of the Labour party towards public questions in this country resembles that adopted by the Communist party. They have said also that the Labour party has -contributed towards the spread of communism in Australia. I refute those statements. On the contrary, Labour alone has led the fight against communism. The Communists fear Labour, hut they fear no other party. What is the history of communism in this country? In the early days of its existence it sought to gain representation in the Commonwealth and State parliaments, but, invariably, Communist candidates opposed Labour party candidates, such as, the late Frank Anstey, the late Maurice Blackburn and James Scullin. A Communist candidate rarely opposed a Liberal candidate. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said, the Communists oppose the Labour party because they are opposed to Labour’s reformist ideas. That is quite true, and that is what the Communists themselves have said. Originally, they set out to destroy the Labour party because, they said, it was a reformist party that offered only palliatives in its attempts to benefit the workers. The Communists believe the time will not be ripe for battle until we have a state of affairs in which there will be, on the one hand, the expropriated masses barely able to subsist and, on the other hand, the representatives of unbridled capitalism. They want to eliminate the middle class. They want to bring about a position which they describe as “the revolutionary situation “. They believe that only under such conditions will they have any chance of victory in a country like Australia. In that respect they are following what they call the scientific teachings of Karl Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and other leading Communists. Therefore, they made their first objective the destruction of the Labour party. Trotsky, when he was an orthodox Communist in Russia, summarized the Communists’ objective by saying, “ First Russia, then Spain “. In both those countries there were toiling masses with no hope of relief and a few wealthy capitalists and members of the nobility who enjoyed exclusively the fruits of the labour of the workers. For that reason Trotsky named Russia and Spain as the first two countries in which conditions were ideal for revolution ; and the Communists desire to reproduce similar conditions in other countries. Thus, the Communists in Australia have never supported any movement for an increase of wages or for the betterment of the conditions of employment of the workers. They regard such improvements as reformist in nature and, therefore, only palliatives, whereas they want to establish “ the revolutionary situation “.
Originally they made no attempt to conceal that fact, but in recent years they have pretended to make a volte face. They declared that they wished to amalgamate with the Labour party, that they wanted to establish a united front and to develop Labour’s ideas. They were not sincere. They still hated the Labour party just as much as when they declared it to be their greatest enemy and their candidates fought Labour’s candidates at parliamentary elections. When the Communists failed to secure the election of candidates to Parliament they decided to gain control of the trade unions as the next best means of dominating the economic and social life of Australia. Indeed, the latter task appeared to them to be easier. But who has fought the Communists in the trade unions? Many trade unionists, as supporters of the Government will admit, are members of the Government parties. I challenge honorable members opposite to name one trade unionists who, as a member of the Liberal party, has ever supported the fight against the Communists in the trade unions. Copies of the report of Mr. Justice Lowe, who, as a royal commission, recently inquired into the activities of Communists in Victoria, are being distributed to honorable members. That report shows that every fight that was waged against the Communists in any trade union was waged not by men who were members of the Liberal party but, without exception, by men who were members of the Labour party. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Labour party has not played its part in the fight against communism in this country; and I assure Government supporters that my colleagues and I will continue that fight.
Equally, the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) has no justification for saying that the only distinction between the Communist party and the Labour party is that each of those parties is seeking to obtain the same objective by different methods. That statement is absolutely false. There is greater resemblance between the Communist and capitalist systems than .there is between the system that is advocated by the democratic Labour movement and the Communist system. The social democrats of the world have produced States infinitely different from the Russia of to-day with its few commissars and leading Communists enjoying economic and social benefits to the exclusion of all others.
– Where have the social democrats produced a State of the kind that the honorable member has indicated ?
– Despite the opposition of the supporters of the present Government the Labour party produced such a State in Australia during the eight years that it was in office. During that period Labour governments brought about a condition of affairs under which wealth was divided more evenly, greater opportunities were given to the people as a whole, poverty was eliminated and proper care was provided for the sick, the poor and the aged. Those governments brought about those improvements, not with the assistance of supporters of the present Government, but in spite of their opposition.
– And the people threw the Labour Government out of office.
– Yes, such things happen. I have not said that the democracy always acts intelligently but, by and large, it does so; and the democracy of Australia will soon come to regret the error that it made at the last general election. In the near future, it will cast the present Government into oblivion and re-affirm its true allegiance to a party that has made this country great. That is inevitable. I was a little terrified when I heard the Treasurer’s speech and the remarks of the honorable member for Mackellar Mr. “Wentworth). During the last twenty years I have with religious fervour attended every meeting of the union with which I have been associated, irrespective of the fact that on many occasions I thought that the Communists had the game “ sewn up “. At those meetings I saw union members acting in exactly the same way as the Treasurer and the honorable member for Mackellar have acted in this House, displaying the same mental outlook, the same eagerness to declare people and the same lack of tolerance. I knew that once the members of the Communist party had been given power they would not be content to put the members of the Liberal party, the Australian Country party and the Labour party into concentration camps; in their fanatical zeal they would also incarcerate their own followers. If the honorable member for Mackellar had unfettered power, he would commence to use it by declaring, say, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), but ultimately he would declare all the members of the Opposition. Even then he would not be satisfied. He would continue to exercise his authority by declaring the members of the Australian Country party, and, ultimately, he would declare every person in the community with the exception of himself and the Prime Minister.
– Surely he would not exclude the Prime Minister.
– He would probably do so, at least temporarily. Ultimately, this incorruptible Robespierre of Liberalism would alone be free. That path is inevitably followed by those who desert the principles of freedom and abandon the use of the proper processes of the law. The processes of law in British countries were devised to prevent tyranny, whether from the right or the left. Whilst I distrust and oppose the philosophy of communism and favour the banning of the Communist party, and unhesitatingly say that no member of that party can object if the Prime Minister does to Communists what they would unhesitatingly do to him if they had the chance, I do not agree to the vesting in this Government, or any government that may follow it, of powers that may be indiscriminately used against the people without trial in defiance of the ordinary processes of law. If we give such powers to the Government we shall emulate the example of the Soviet Union. I have quoted one of the laws of the Soviet Union, the Corrective Labour Codex, which provides that merely by administrative decree the Soviet Government can declare those whom it regards as its opponents and place them in concentration camps or liquidate them. We should beware of the folly of placing in the hands of any government drastic powers of that kind. There is at present no reason why such powers should be vested in the Government of the day. The menace of communism in this country can be dealt with without resorting to that method of control. The number of Communists in Australia is not so great as it was some years ago. The Prime Minister has emoted passages from the document issued by the American State Department entitled The Strategy and Tactics of World Communism. If the right honorable gentleman had turned over a few pages further in that document he would have found-
Conversation being audible,
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon for interrupting his speech.
– Order ! The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) should take his seat. He is entitled to a seat in this House and he should use it. Many people regret that they have not the right to occupy a seat in this House.
– The processes of the law must be properly observed. In order to destroy some organization we should not abandon the ordinary practices of law and adopt in their stead practices which are commonly employed in countries with which we have nothing in common. The purpose of this legislation is not to destroy some organization but to render ineffective the philosophy and practices of such organization. We should not attempt to achieve our aim by adopting practices to which we ourselves object.
I have no desire to discuss this bill at length. I merely wish to state my attitude to it as clearly as I can. I have divided the bill into two parts. The first deals with the dissolution of the Communist party and the means by which we shall deal with members of that party who occupy positions in which they may do great damage to the defence and progress of this country. I have no objection to what the Government proposes in connexion with those matters. The second part of the bill is more important. I have the greatest objection to it because the improper use of provisions contained in it may cause innocent persons in this country much needless suffering. Power often corrupts. It has corrupted certain people in Russia as previously it corrupted others in Germany and Italy. The corruption that follows in the wake of power tyranically used could just as easily rear its ugly head in this country as it has elsewhere.
When I was interrupted earlier by audible conversation from the other side of the House I had intended to deal with the decline of commuism in Australia. The document from which the Prime Minister quoted - The Strategy and Tactics of World Communism - states that at the date of its compilation authoritative sources had indicated that the number of Communists in Australia was approximately 25,000. Recently in an authoritative statement Mr. Justice Lowe, who was appointed a royal commissioner to inquire into communism, stated that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 Communists in Victoria and approximately 13,000 throughout the Commonwealth. I admit that 13,000 Communists scattered throughout Australia, many of them well entrenched in key industrial positions could do an immense amount of damage. The point I make is that these authorities indicate that communism is on the wane in Australia. Communism has declined, not because the fanatics in the Communist party are not now so active as they have been in the past, not because they have not continued to receive support and encouragement from their comrades in other countries, but mainly because of the active opposition of the Australian Labour party in the trade unions and in the political sphere.
– How does the honorable member account for the strength of the Communist influence in the coal strike last year which protracted that dispute?
– I shall reply to the honorable member’s interjection later. Communism has waned in Australia principally because the wise administration of Labour governments over a period of eight years did much to sterilize the breeding ground in which communism flourished in the past. My friend the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Kekwick) has asked me how I account for the strength of the Communist influence in the coal strike last year. The Communists who occupied key positions in the coal-miners’ federation misused their power then as they had done in the past. Communists have misled the workers in industry time and time again ; but their ability to continue to do so has progressively lessened. Their power and influence have become less effective, not because of speeches made by the Prime Minister, or of research undertaken by the honorable member for Mackellar - I am told that the honorable member for Mackellar never ceases his investigations - but because of the activities of the Labour movement, particularly in the trade unions, and the wise administration of the Labour Government over a period of eight years.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
– Has the honorable member been misrepresented ?
– Indeed I have, Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Burke has said that because of the opinions I have expressed in this House about members of the Australian Labour party, if I had the opportunity to do so, I should declare them all to be Communists. That is a false statement. I wash not only to refute it but also to make some observations on it so that my attitude may be made clear. I have in the past in this House stated that some Opposition members are just as honestly opposed to communism as I am. I believe that to be so.
– Order! The honorable member must deal with the matter in respect of which he claims to have been misrepresented. His views on communism do not count.
– The honorable member for Burke has said that if I had the power I should declare all members of the Australian Labour party. I have characterized some members of the Opposition either as pro-Communists or as having committed pro-Communist acts. I have documentary evidence to support everything I have said.
– Order ! The honorable member may deal only with the matter in respect of which he claims to have been misrepresented. In making a persona] explanation he is not entitled to classify the members of the Australian Labour party into various categories.
– I thank you for your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I shall take a later opportunity to do 30. Meanwhile, let me say that those whom I have characterized as pro-Communist I regard in most instances as dupes rather than as willing agents of the Communist party.
.- To-day two speeches have been made on this bill by Opposition members., The honorable member for Burke (Mr. Peters) expressed what I regard as the fair and honest opinions of a man who is opposed to communism. I respect him for his opinions. Honorable members who sit on this side of the House welcome any honorable member who is willing to stand, up and be counted on this issue. The honorable member for Burke is game to stand up and be counted and all credit should be given to him for having the courage of his convictions. Earlier the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) delivered a speech that was in an entirely different category. It consisted chiefly of references to Government members and supporters as liars and curs, and of accusations of bribery against some honorable members on thos- side of the House.
– So they are.
– I rise to order ! I ask for a withdrawal of the interjection.
– I did not hear an interjection.
– The interjection was to the effect that honorable members on this side of the House are liars and curs and that they take bribes.
– Order ! Exception was not taken to the remarks at the .time they were made. They cannot be dealt with now. I was out of the chamber when the remarks complained of were made. If statements of the kind mentioned by the Minister were made, they were entirely out of order and an honorable member should not have made them.
– Those statements were confirmed within the last 30 seconds by the honorable member who had made them.
– What was the statement that the honorable gentleman made ?
– I said that what the Minister said was correct, and I repeat it.
– I rise to order. I listened to the speech of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). He did not call honorable members “ liars and perjurers “, nor did he say that they took bribes. He said, “I am tired of listening to the lying statements “. Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker said that the remark was offensive to him, upon which the honorable member withdrew the word “lying” and substituted the word “ false “. He did not once in his speech use the word “ perjurers “ in respect of anybody. The remarks of the Minister in which he charged the honorable member for Hindmarsh with using that word are offensive to me, are a reflection on the honorable member for Hindmarsh, and are untrue. I ask that they be withdrawn.
– May I speak to the point of order?
-Order ! The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has taken exception to the use of certain words. When exception is taken to the use of words it is the custom in this House for the honorable member concerned to withdraw them.
– I did not make them. The correction I wish to make is that I said that the honorable member for Hindmarsh-
– I rose to a point of order and said that the Minister had stated that the honorable member for Hindmarsh had made use of those words.
– He did.
– That is offensive to me and I ask that the Minister’s statement be withdrawn, because it is not true.
– I say, quite frankly, that I did not hear the honorable member refer to perjurers.
– I said he used the word “ cur “, not the word “ perjurer “.
– I heard the word “ cur “, also a reference to bribery, and, I think, to lying.
– The honorable member charged the Treasurer of this Commonwealth with committing bribery, while I was sitting at the table.
– So he did commit bribery.
– I rise to order. The Minister has said that the honorable member for Hindmarsh accused honorable members of these three things. It is of no use for the Minister to try to say that he accused a specific member of a certain thing. I asked for a withdrawal of the statement concerning the honorable member for Hindmarsh and he has not yet withdrawn it.
– I heard what the honorable gentleman said and I believe I am correct in saying that he did not use the word “ perjurer “.
– Well, leave that word out.
– The honorable gentleman, when he raises points of order, should at least be on firm ground. He is not an inexperienced member. I did hear the word “ lying “ and the word “ cur “, but I did not hear the word “ perjurer “. If the honorable member still objects to those two words the Minister should take the proper course.
– I object to those two words.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr. Speaker - and entirely and only in deference to your ruling - and po that I may proceed with my speech, I withdraw the words.
– That withdrawal is not acceptable.
– The Minister has withdrawn the words.
– The point that I was seeking to make was that whereas one member of the Labour part spoke just now with sincerity and some degree of dignity, hi? speech was preceded by one of an entirely different kind by another member of the Opposition. Those two speeches revealed quite clearly the two voices which the Labour party uses when discussing this bill, and were a fair indication of the hypocrisy and insincerity with which this matter is at present being cloaked by certain members of the Labour party. I think that it is time that the air was cleared and honorable members discussed what this bill is about. The first thing that is conceded by honorable members o both sides of the House is that the Communist party is a revolutionary minority movement which aims to seize power and establish a dictatorship. That is the first recital in this bill. It has not been disputed by the Leader of the Opposition or by any member of the Labour part;Honorable members of the Oposition have sought, of course, to evade the point, but none of them has denied the fact and I venture to suggest that none of them will be game to deny it bacause the point is self-proven and self-evident.
The second point is that the Communists pursue ends by force, intimidation and fraud. That also is alleged in this bill as a recital and is also by silence - sometimes by honest silence and at other times by craven silence - admitted by the Labour party to be true.
The third point is that the Australian Communist party is a part of a world Communist movement which engages in espionage, sabotage and treason. That, too, is recited as a fundamental basis of the bill and is admitted by honorable members of the Opposition.
The fourth point to which I direct attention is not embodied in the bill, but I venture to suggest that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who is an ex-Minister for External Affairs, will agree with me that Australia is in very great peril from an external enemy. It is in very great peril from the Communist enemy, not from anybody else, from a philosophy, an ideology, a way of life, that is militant and imperialistic and is coming closer and closer to Australia. I put that as a further premise to the bill and I venture to suggest that no honorable member will dare to deny it.
That is the setting in which the bill must be considered. What does the Leader of the Opposition say in answer to that? this revolutionary movement, then the He says that the Opposition will not oppose the bill because the people have given the Government a mandate. It is very nice of him to come to the penitent stool so late in life. I observed a year or two ago, in connexion with other legislation, that this trifling matter of a mandate did not seem to worry him at all, but now he has found salvation and has come to the conclusion that if the people, emphatically, by a large majority, vote a government into power on a specific platform which includes the banning of government has a mandate to ban that organization. Therefore, he says that the Opposition will not oppose the bill. “ But,” he says, “ we think it will fail “. I can almost hear him whisper, “ We hope it will fail “, because I believe that to be his real attitude to it.
Mr. Clyde Cameron interjecting,
– I substitute, in the case of the honorable member who has interjected the word “ hope “ for the word “ think “, because I am sure he hopes as well as thinks that the bill will fail.
– I rise to order. I take exception to that statement of the Minister that I hope the bill will fail and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I am glad to accept the honorable member’s assurance that he does not hope that the bill will fail. I withdraw the statement if he takes exception to it.
– If the honorable member would cease interjecting, he would not be misunderstood.
– The right honorable member for Barton, in supporting his leader, took much the same line. He was a little more vague and drew a couple more red herrings across the trail because he, with a cloud of learning-
– Mr. Speaker, I call attention to the state of the House.
The House having been counted,
– There is a quorum present. I may as well tell the House that from now on, if any honorable member calls attention to the state of the
House and thereby interrupts another honorable member, and a quorum is found to be present, he will be suspended for the rest of the sitting.
– I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will not rule that in advance of the situation.
– I am expressing my intention, which will be carried out. Honorable members will not be permitted to interrupt speakers for the sake of calling for quorums.
– On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, you have given a ruling which is a reflection on me. Your ruling suggests that I called for a quorum when a quorum was already present.
– Which there was.
– Which there was not. If you count the House now you will find that there is still not a quorum present.
– There is a quorum. If the honorable gentleman is disputing my statement that there is, he is taking a risk.
– I do dispute it.
– Order ! SerjeantatArms, remove the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The honorable member for Hindmarsh will retire from the House and he will not be allowed within any of the precincts until the House meets tomorrow morning.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh thereupon withdrew from the chamber.
– I rise to order.
– -There is no point of order. Standing Order 303 applies.
– Will you, Mr. Speaker, having taken action, indicate the grounds oil which you have taken it, so that the House might express an opinion on iti
– The right honorable gentleman was here and heard very clearly that the honorable member for Hindmarsh said that there was not a quorum in the House when I had said that there was.
– I should like to put to you, Mr. Speaker, so that you may review what you have done, that the honorable member for Hindmarsh called for a quorum. You, yourself - I suppose within your authority - did the counting.
– I did.
– There was one short of a quorum, but at the very last moment there appeared from outside the House an honorable member who enabled a quorum to be formed, clearly showing that the call was not unreasonable or irrational. I ask you not to take this drastic action, when, the honorable member for Hindmarsh acted in perfect good faith. It is not right, in the circumstances, that Mr. Speaker should use the tremendous power that he has under Standing Order 303, which provides that the Speaker shall order a member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House and to absent himself for the remainder of that day’s sitting, and that the Serjeant-at-Arms shall act on such orders as he may receive from the Chair in pursuance of the Standing Order. I submit that the honorable member was not grossly disorderly, but was acting in good faith. I do not think that any honorable member on either side of the House will deny that. Therefore, you should review your decision.
– After the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald) had entered the chamber and I had declared that a quorum was present, the honorable member for Hindmarsh said that I was wrong and that there was not a quorum present. The honorable member for Grey (Mr. Edgar Russell) had walked in after the honorable member for Corangamite and had taken his seat when the honorable member for Hindmarsh rose on the second occasion. I point out to the right honorable gentleman that the honorable member for Hindmarsh flatly and publicly repudiated my statement that there was a quorum present. If that was not disorderly conduet, I do not know what is.
– You have not appreciated the point that I am trying to ask you to consider, Mr. Speaker. I accept your statement of the facts without reservation, but I submit that you have not addressed yourself to the point of whether the honorable member for Hindmarsh was deliberately trying to sr.y something which he believed to be inaccurate. The fact that you were correct in your estimate of the number of honorable’ members present is not to the point, I submit, except insofar as it indicates that the honorable member made a mistake. I submit that the making of a mistake by an honorable member, if he has acted honestly and in good faith, does not amount to conduct which is grossly disorderly. T submit that the punishment that you imposed was extreme and was not intended by the Standing Order.
– Order ! That is a reflection on the Chair and the right honorable member will withdraw it.
– I withdraw it. I ask you, in fairness to the House, to reconsider what you have done.
– I have given my ruling. 1 took no exception to the honorable member for Hindmarsh calling for a quorum ; but when I had counted the House publicly and had announced that a quorum was present I saw another honorable member walk in. Then the honorable member for Hindmarsh rose and told me that there was not a quorum present. I say that that was grossly disorderly, because it was a public repudiation of my decision.
– I rise to order. I think the point of order devolves upon what was said, Mr. Speaker, and what you thought was said. I believe that the honorable member for Hindmarsh was not disputing your count or your authority in any way. What he intended to convey when he raised the matter of a quorum was that there was not a quorum present in the House. That was so. -Subsequently, when you declared that if any unwarranted attempts were made to call quorums, you would deal summarily with the honorable members concerned, the honorable gentleman said that there had not been a quorum. He was not able to elaborate upon that statement, and I believe that the difference of opinion arose from that. I sincerely believe that the honorable member was endeavouring to demonstrate that he had been in order and had been justified in asking you to count the House in order to see whether a quorum was present at the time. I suggest that you misinterpreted his statements, that he had ne intention of being offensive, and that perhaps he was unjustly dealt with in the action that followed.
– If that is the view of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) and he wants to submit it to me, I shall allow him to return to the chamber after the evening suspension of the sitting, as the standing order provides, and say so-. If he says; so, he will be admitted to the sitting.. I have the power to do that,
– We have heard so’ many misstatements about the bill that a little fresh light on the subject would do no harm to anybody/ especially members of the Opposition. First, the bill declares the Communist party to be an illegal organization. Nobody appears to dispute the necessity for that or to be game to vote against the provision. Under clause 4 there is to be no appeal against that declaration. I have not heard any serious objection to that because, according to the recitals that have been given and the premises upon which the bill is based, the Communist party does not deserve to have a legal existence in Australia. Similar bodies are to be declared illegal organizations also. We say that the Communist party is protean in its shape; it changes like a chameleon. It is now the Communist party ; to-morrow it may be the Eureka Youth League or some other organization bearing a different name. But we say that, whatever its guise may be, its aims and objectives remain the same and that it is still the same old revolutionary organization at heart, and, as such, has no legal right to exist. However, organizations of that sort are on a somewhat different basis and therefore we provide for an appeal. We say that if the Executive, which means the government of the day acting through the Governor-General in Executive Council, declares such a body to be an unlawful organization, it shall have the right to go to the High Court of Australia and prove that it is not such an organization. I do not know whether anybody suggests that that right of appeal is inadequate and that there should be some right of appeal to inferior courts. The point is immaterial at the moment. Any such suggestion can be dealt with simply enough in committee and, if there be any substance in it, the necessary amendments can be made at that stage. I have not heard a serious suggestion that there is anything objectionable about the proposal to ban an organization if the Executive is satisfied that its objectives are revolutionary and to grant it thereafter the right to prove that it is not revolutionary.
The real controversy, of course, rages about the proposal to declare persons. As the proposal has been described by some members of the Opposition, including the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), one might think that any person declared under the terms of the measure would be thrown into gaol for the term of his natural life. The provision is merely a part of the machinery that is designed to ensure that dangerous persons shall not be permitted to occupy office in key positions in the Commonwealth. It is merely one step in the process. A person may be declared if he is a member of a dissolved organization - either the Communist party or a similar organization - or if, by description and by activity, he is a Communist. Two things are necessary before the force of this measure can fall upon anybody. First, he must be a member of a subversive organization. Secondly, in the opinion of the Government, he must be acting or threatening to act subversively in his own person and in his own right. If those conditions are fulfilled, he may be declared. If he is a private citizen carrying on his private occupation, nothing can happen to him. Only if he occupies a position under the Crown or is an official of a key industrial organization can he be declared and removed from office. That provision seems to me to be temperate and moderate in its terms. It is the least that can be done in Australia in trying to deal with an organization that not only threatens but also intends to destroy us completely as a free and democratic community. If members of the Opposition can suggest ways in which this legislation, for which they say they intend to vote at the second-reading stage, can be made effective by any less stringent process, I shall be glad to hear their proposals.
The Opposition has suggested that the right of appeal for which the bill provides is not wide enough. Its contention is that the right of appeal should relate not only to a man’s alleged membership of an illegal organization but also to the opinion of the “ Government concerning his subversive activities. That is a new proposal in the field of jurisprudence. I am sure that the right honorable member for Barton will agree that the proposition that there should be a right of appeal against opinions of the Executive is novel. I do not believe that the suggestion has been made with any real sincerity. Another complaint has been that the appellant provisions are too elaborate and too expensive. Members of the Opposition have asked, “ Why go to the High Court of Australia ? “ The Government considered that it was taking the fair and proper course of action in providing for appeals to be made to the highest court of the land, which is a fairly accessible court. After all, the High Court Bench includes the best legally trained minds and some of the most outstanding and impartial intelligences in the country. What better authority could one approach than the High Court of Australia in a matter involving some reflection against one’s personal reputation or activities? How ever, it may well be that some suggestion that is acceptable to the Government for the modification or simplification of the process of appeal will be made in the committee stage. We can deal with that situation then. There is nothing wrong in providing that, subject to the fulfilment of the conditions that I have stated, a man must be excluded from employment under the Crown or in a key industrial organization. It would be fantastic for us to provide otherwise if we really want to make the legislation workable.
Another stock argument, which has aroused great controversy, relates to the onus of proof. Some honorable members have cited Magna Charta, which has nothing to do with the case of course, and have referred to many other subjects, from Dan to Beersheba so to speak, in their efforts to show that the proposal represents a gross infringement of the liberty of the subject, a terrible stroke against our traditional British democratic system. I remind honorable members that a similar provision is embodied in a number of sections of the Crimes Act, which was administered by Labour governments for eight years. It has existed in our Customs laws since 1901. It was included also in the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act, which was drafted last year by the right honorable member for Barton when he was AttorneyGeneral. The terms of the provision in that legislation are almost identical with those in the measure that we are now considering. They place the onus of proof upon the defendant rather than upon the prosecutor. There are plenty of similar provisions in State legislation, as most honorable members are aware. Why is that so? The explanation is very simple. Two legal principles have been evolved since the eighteenth century, when the principle of onus was first elaborated in English common law. They became established as society became more and more complex. One principle is that some facts are peculiarly known to the defendant and that prosecutor or plaintiff cannot be expected to know them. The other principle is that, in times of emergency, society has the right to protect itself. That is the crux of the matter. The Government is seeking to protect our society in a time of emergency. If it be wrong to include such a provision in this legislation, was it not wrong to include it in our Customs law. in the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act 1949 and in dozens of State laws? Of course, there is nothing wrong with the provision. The Opposition’s argument has simply been dragged in as a red herring. As another illustration of a similar provision in operation, I refer to the National Security Regulations that provided for the internment of aliens during the war. The right honorable member for Barton must be familiar with the famous regulation 29b. Under that regulation, alien enemies, and even
British subjects who were under suspicion, could be interned merely upon the administrative act of the Minister for the Army. Internees were given the right to appeal against their detention and show cause why they should not be regarded as a danger to the country and should be released. But the onus of proof rested upon the defendant in every instance, not upon the authorities. Many of us did not like that provision. It was our first experience of that sort of thing in practice. I sat as a judicial officer on a tribunal that heard many hundreds of appeals by internees.
– Order ! The Minister’s time has expired. Serjeant-at-Arms, produce the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron).
The honorable member for Hindmarsh having re-entered the chamber,
-The honorable member for Hindmarsh will proceed to his seat and make hk explanation.
– I wish to offer an apology to you, sir, for a misunderstanding that occurred a few minutes ago. My reference to your counting of the House related only to the time when I called for a quorum, when I believed that there was not a quorum present, and not to the later time when you said that a quorum was present.
– I accept the apology. The honorable member is re-admitted to the House.
Motion (by Dame Enid Lyons) proposed -
That the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) be granted an extension of timo.
– Before I put the motion, does the Minister wish to proceed ?
– I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
– The point that I wish to make in conclusion-
– I rise to order. I do not want to cause another dispute about numbers, but I think that at least seven honorable members on this side of the chamber declared themselves against the motion.
– I have given a decision in favour of the “Ayes”. Does any honorable member ask for a division?
Question put -
That the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) be granted an extension of time.
The House divided. (MR. SPeaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . 21
Sitting- suspended from555 to8 p.m.
Declaration of Urgency.
– I declare that the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 is an urgent bill.
– Mr. Speaker-
– Order ! The questioa must be put without amendment or debate-
Question put -
That the bill be considered an urgent bill
The Housedivided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. ARChie Cameron.) Ayes . . . . . . 61
Noes . . . . . . 36
Majority . . . . 25
Questionso resolved in the affirmative.
Allotment of Time.
Mr. MENZIES (Kooyong - Prime
Minister) [8.0].- I move-
That the time allotted in connexion with the hill be as follows:-
For the second reading, until 11 p.m., Tuesday, 18th May.
For the Committee stage, until10.30 p.m., Tuesday, 23rdMay.
For the remaining stages, until11 p.m., Tuesday, 23rd May.
I indicated at an earlier stage that 1 proposed to confer with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) to ascertain whether we could arrange for some limitation of time. I understand the difficulty of coming to an arrangement, because one of the laws of life is that there are so many more people on either side of the House who want to speak than there will be time to accommodate. However, the right honorable gentleman was good enough to tell me that it was not possible to come to an agreement by consent, and, therefore, the times stated in the motion have been fixed with the idea, not of unduly shortening a very important debate, but of giving adequate time, though not excessive time, for its consideration, particularly having in mind the statement that I made to the House recently about the total legislative programme of the Government, and the desirability of disposing of it, so far as this House is concerned, by about the middle of June.
– A totalitarian programme.
– I am told that it is a totalitarian programme. All I can say is that I rather imagine that, so far, it is the only totalitarian programme in the history of the World that has had the warm approval of all the people of Australia.
– It is a good example of the Prime Minister’s love of free speech.
– It is a queer thing indeed that this noise should come from the Opposition benches, because it forces me to remind the House that some very astonishing things have happened. One of them is that the Labour party has indicated that it supports the bill, and will vote for it at the second-reading stage, and that means that the Opposition supports all the recitals in the measure.
– One person dissents from the recitals. The Opposition supports the recitals, but it has just indicated that, in its opinion, the bill is not an urgent measure. However, the problem is one of time, and I have submitted the motion in order to meet it.
– I did not propose to make a speech about the allotment of time, but the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has introduced controversial matter-
– I thought that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) introduced controversial matter by saying that the Government’s legislative programme was totalitarian.
– The Prime Minister did mention to me that the Government desired to have this bill passed by the House at a fairly reasonable speed. I discussed the matter with him, and I pointed out that 86 honorable members on this side of the chamberdesired to speak on the measure and that, in those circumstances, we could not agree to the determination of a precise time at which the debate shouldfinish, because there are many things that we should like to say about tins bill. I had not intended to speak on this motion, but the Prime Minister took the opportunity of engaging in a little propaganda when he was speaking on the motion. I realize that it is not unusual for politicians to do that. I discussed this matter with the right honorable gentleman, and he was good enough to depart, to some degree, from the original suggestion that the debate should finish to-morrow week, and he agreed to extend the committee stage to the 23rd May. He also agreed that, in committee, the consideration of all the clauses of the bill should conclude at 10.30 p.m., on that day, instead of determining, as has sometimes been done in the past, to allot the time in such a way that several clauses must be disposed of by a certain hour after the expiration of which the consideration of the next group of clauses must be commenced. 1 thank him for the concession. However, the right honorable gentleman took it upon himself to indicate that members of the Opposition were accepting this arrangement quite freely, and I inform him that every honorable member on this side of the chamber would be very glad to have the opportunity to express his views on the bill because the Labour party regards it as most important legislation,justas the Government does from its point of view. The measure breaks entirely new ground in this country. It is because the Government has granted an additional day for the consideration of the bill in committee that I am not making a further protest, although the Opposition proposes to record its attitude to this motion in another way.
Question put -
That the motion (vide page 2379) be agreed to.
The House divided. (MR. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolvedin the affirmative.
Debate resumed (vide page 2378).
– It is not with any great pleasure that I find myself called upon to speak on this bill. The measure has as its basis the withdrawal from the people of Australia of certain freedoms that they have had for many years. Conditions here and abroad demand that we reassess our attitude on various organizations that operate in Australia. In that connexion I desire to state clearly now that I agree wholeheartedly with the attitude expressed by the honorable member for Burke (Mr. Peters) earlier, today. Whatever we may think now or may have thought in the past, about absolute freedom for all classes of the community, we are forced to the conclusion to-day that the Australian Communist party and the organizations affiliated with it are more than organs of political philosophy or thought. They have become part of an international conspiracy aimed at the free peoples of the world. Because of that, we in Australia are compelled to take some action against them. In my opinion the Communists in Australia to-day are particularly opposed to the principles that we have valued, and still value, so highly. They are opposed to the way of life -of the average working man. They are opposed to the aspirations of the Australian Labour party, to which many of us have given a lifetime of service. They are also opposed to the Christian way of life which, in the opinion of many of us, is the very basis upon which this country and the other freedom loving countries of the world exist. Because of those facts we must reassess our attitude to Communists. I agree with the action that the Government proposes under this measure insofar as it is intended to deal with people whom we know certainly to be members of the Communist party who are working for the fulfilment of that party’s objective. That definitely is my attitude. On the other hand, we must be quite sure that persons so dealt with are, in fact, Communists, or that they are engaged in the work that the Communist party all over the world is intent upon to-day. We must try to avoid any possibility of even one innocent person being dealt with in the manner set out in the bill, even though by doing so we may perhaps fail to deal with others who otherwise would be suspect.
The public feeling at the present time is such that no government can close its eyes to the fact that here and in other countries subversive people in different organizations, particularly members of the Communist party, are wholeheartedly out to injure their country and its people, and to bring the British Commonwealth of Nations down into the dust so that some foreign imperialism may be clamped upon the people of Australia and of other countries. Because of that I, for one, am not prepared to sit down and allow that kind of person to continue his or her activities unchecked without adding my word of protest. At the same time I am very concerned that any decision that is arrived at in connexion with dealing with these people should not be hasty, but should be based on facts that can be established before the appropriate tribunals to which an accused person should have an opportunity to present his case. 1 am not prepared to allow an individual to be dealt with and sentenced merely because someone has informed an authorized person that that individual holds some ideas that are contrary to the wellbeing of this country. Every man is entitled to a fair hearing.
The provision regarding the onus of proof is the weakness in the present measure. That weakness is the reason why the Labour party must insist that, whilst it is prepared to allow the present Government to do what it promised the people of this country at the last general election that it would do as far as a certain section of the community is concerned, it has an obligation to those who support it, and in fact to the whole oi Australia, to see that no injustice is placed upon the people. When I say that we shall not oppose the second reading of the bill I do not mean to suggest for one moment that’ I consider that this bill, when it becomes law, will cure communism. I am not foolish enough to think that. The history of the world has shown that oppressive legislation designed to suppress organizations of the Communist type has not succeeded in the past, and I believe that it will not succeed now. However, the Government parties went to the electors only a few months ago and stated that they intended, if they were returned to office, to suppress the Communist party, the people agreed with that point of view and so as a democrat I consider that the Government should he given an opportunity to show what it can achieve with this legislation, so long as it in no way imperils the rights of innocent people. We are prepared to fight to-day to ensure that the rights of innocent people are not jeopardized. It is regrettable that some of the present members of the parties now in office were not always so concerns about the activities of these Communist and near-Communist people, with whom the measure seeks to deal. An honorable member to-day referred to the fad that not so many years ago members of the present Ministry expended a considerable amount of public money’ in a deal with a man who was then regarded as one of the leaders of the Communist party and who was then also the president of the miners’ federation, in order to bring about, secretly and behind the backs of this Parliament, a result that would be to their own political advantage. Honorable members opposite cannot deny that fact. I am merely reiterating it to show that it is a pity that the Government parties were not always sincere in their attempt.? to suppress this organization that they now consider has been so harmful.
Again to show that the protestations of honorable members opposite are not altogether sincere I refer to the fact that in a certain State electorate in New South Wales one of the Government parties selected to carry its banner as candidate a man who was associated in the industrial field with the Communists of Sydney. It withdrew its endorsement a few days later when it discovered its mistake. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the parties now in office have always been hasty in coming to conclusions and in making agreements with people as a matter of political expediency, without first investigating all the aspects of each particular case. Because of that we counsel some proper investigation in the present instance. We are not prepared to allow parties that have been so negligent in the past in respect of making proper examinations of matters before taking action upon them, to hold the power that the Government is asking for in this measure.
I take this opportunity to refute a statement made by an honorable member on the Government side to the effect that the Labour party is not sincere in its opposition to the Communists. For the last 25 years many of us on this side of the House have been fighting the Communists in and out of season in industrial organizations and elsewhere in days when honorable members opposite were finding newspaper space for Communist election propaganda and money to pay for the election expenses of Communists who were standing for election against Australian Labour party candidates. During all that time, in both the political and the industrial fields, we on this side of the House have had the obligation of fighting these Communists in order that they should not be able to fasten themselves to any great degree upon our people. I am not prepared, therefore, at this late hour to allow the Government parties, which have been so recreant to their true obligations in the past, to have the authority to allow any one of the Government’s authorized officers - I understand that there are about 2,000 of them running around Australia to-day - the right to do the things that this measure would give them
S>ower to do. Apart from that, the rime Minister (Mr. Menzies), when he made his second-reading speech, announced a list” of the names of men who were to be declared as members of the Communist party, but yesterday, within a fortnight of that announcement, he found it necessary to amend it in respect of at least five of the names he had given.
– But he made no amendment as to their membership of the Communist party.
– Yes, he did. However, the point that I am concerned about at the moment is that the Government should be so careless with information of that kind, which the Prime Minister broadcast throughout Australia and that it should be found within so short a time to be incorrect i» certain particulars. If that sort of thing earn hap>pen> what is likely to happen when this measure, which gives the Government such great powers, becomes lav? ? How will those- powers be exercised 1lm the- event of an. emergency when, perhaps, 2,000 security officers will bo running wild about the country without being required to obtain reasonable authority to enter people’s homes in the c ourse- of their investigations ? How will such officers be restrained in dealing with persons who are not prepared to accept such, treatment mildly? In such circumstances what opportunity will- private individuals have of receiving fair treatment? Under the bm a private individual could be declared! and his only redress would be to appeal to the High Court. “We know that the High Court sits only in the capital cities and in only orb capital’ a-t a time-. Therefore, any average working main who may be declared, particularly- should he be taken, into- custody in a remote area, will find it difficult to gain access to the court. White he rs- waiting to obtain- redress his reputation wiM be practically ruined and should! he be a small businessman his livelihood will be ruined.
Under the measure, the onus of proof r.= placed upon the declared person. Obviously, an innocent man will1 find it very expensive to prove his- innocence. He win be obliged’ to- pay the1 expenses- of witnesses, and should he succeed in his appeal he will not be entitled to compensation in any form. The Government does not require to take such action as- that in order to carry out its mandate to ban the Communist party. It should ask only for sufficient power to enable it to honour the promises that it’ made in that respect at the last general election. In those circumstances; the Opposition desires to avoid injustice being done to innocent persons as the- result of undue haste on the part of the Government.
The Minister- for External Affairs Qtv. Spender) cited several statutes in which the onus of proof was placed upon the accused person including some that had been- enacted by the present Opposition when it was- im office. In every instance, provisions of that kind enacted by La-bow initiative related’ directly to the security of the- country during the recent war. However, taking the Minister’s argument at its face- value, the Government cannot justify this proposal to extend laws of that kind simply because similar measures were introduced by a Labour government. If, as might be implied from his argument, the present Government is satisfied that those enactments under a Labour Government gave too much power, where is the logie in perpetuating that excessive ] lower under this measure? If a wrong has been? done- in the past it should not be continued under this legislation. Therefor*, the- Minister’s argument cuts no– ice. He also’ asked! the question, which the average school girl could answer, whether amy one had anything to fear- by going into- the witness box and1 denying that he was a Communist? A person may not experience fear ica- such circumstances, but any person who could ill afford the time, ob money,, to- prove his, or her, innocence would thereby be put to great inconvenience. The declared person, in the first place-, would be practically ignorant of the accusation,, but, at the same time, his, or her,, character would be irreparably defamed if innocence could not be proved.
– An accused person would be obliged to go into the box irc a ny event.
– That is so ; but, normally, the prosecution is ii udV r the obligation to prove guilt; and if the accused won his, or her, case on appeal compensation would be provided. That procedure is absolutely ignored under this measure. The declared person must pay his, or her; expenses, submit to- the defamation implicit in such a charge and bear the whole of the expenses of’ endeavouring to prove innocence. There would be no- redress even if innocence, were proved by the outcome of the- proceedings. Honorable members; opposite have, said that the Government invoked- similar provisions under- the- Crimes Act in order to deal- with the shipping hold-up im Queensland, and that the Labour Government embodied similar provisions in the National Emergency (Coal. Strike) Act 1.949. However, when the bill- for that act was before the Parliament supporters of the present Government, who were then in Opposition, did not raise any objection to it. They were wholeheartedly behind it. They regarded it as being justified because at that time a crises existed in the coal industry which had to be met as effectively as any crisis that arose in a time of war. The position existing at that time constituted a national emergency. To-day, however, we are at peace. While all of us are aware of. the threat of war, the United States of America and Great Britain have not panicked to the degree that this Government has panicked in introducing this measure. At present we are not at war and no industrial emergency exists in this country. Shipping is not being held up and the coal industry is working under norma] conditions. Therefore, any difficulty that the Government envisages at pre:ent could well be dealt with under the Crimes Act.
The Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), in the course of his speech claimed that objectives of the Labour party as set out in its platform were similar to those set out in the Communist manifesto. If his contentions are correct, why does the Government discriminate against the Communist party by proposing to ban it and, at the same time, allow the Labour party to go free? Government supporters cannot have it both ways. If they say that the Labour party must be assessed on the same footing as the Communist party, the Government should apply the same yardstick in dealings with both parties. The fact that it does not propose to do so reveals its lack of sincerity in introducing this measure.
– That fact shows that members of the Labour party are not saboteurs.
– The record of the Labour party in all parliaments in this country proves that its members are not saboteurs. On the contrary, that record proves it to be the greatest political party that has ever existed. When the Labour party was in office it showed clearly that a government can deal effectively with the Communist party. Whilst it has been admitted in this debate that ten years ago the Communist party in Australia had a membership of 20,000 the report issued recently by the royal commission on communism in Victoria shows that to-day the membership of that party has decreased to approximately 13,000. That reduction occurred when Labour was in office and is proof that Labour has the key to the problem of communism. Its solution is to improve the conditions of the people who, otherwise, will in desperation accept a foreign ideology. In view of Labour’s success in reducing the strength of the Communist party, why does not the present Government adopt similar methods? If it did so it would, perhaps, if unfortunately it remained in office long enough, eventually wipe out the Communist party.
– The honorable member is a super-optimist.
Mr. GORDON ANDERSON.Whilst I have shown that the Labour Government was able to deal effectively with the Communist party without resorting to means of the kind embodied in this measure, the present Government has not given any proof whatever that its methods will be effective. Indeed, in other countries legislation of this kind has failed to achieve that objective. However, as I said earlier, I am prepared to allow the Government to implement these provisions to the degree that they do not violate the rights of innocent people. Those of my colleagues who have spoken in this debate have indicated the nature of several amendments that the Opposition will propose at the committee stage. First, we shall seek to amend clause 5 to give to a declared person the right to apply to the Supreme Court of the State, as well as to the High Court. I believe that, in addition, special courts should be set up to hear cases arising under special conditions. For instance, a declared person would, be placed at a grave disadvantage if he resided in, or was taken into custody in, a remote area. An appellant should have the right to appeal in the first instance to a single judge, and later, if necessary, to the Full Court.
Clause 7 provides that a declared person shall not continue to act as an officer, or member, of an unlawful association or to carry or display anything that would indicate that he, or she, is, or was, an officer or member, or is, or was, in any way associated with an unlawful association. We know that in the past many well-meaning but misguided people have found themselves in associations of whose real aims they were not aware. For that reason, the Opposition will seek to amend that clause to provide that a person shall not be declared unless he, or she, knowingly is a member of an unlawful association. If the Crown cannot produce such proof the accused shall be given the benefit of the doubt. The Opposition will seek to amend clause 9 to give to declared persons the right of appeal to a court other than the High Court. In that respect we shall suggest that access be provided to the Supreme Court of a State or other court* to be set up to facilitate access in special circumstances. We shall also seek to amend clause 20 which deals with powers of search to provide that such powers shall be granted only to persons authorized by the Attorney-General. Under the clause as drafted power is practically given to anybody to go anywhere and do anything. The clause reads -
An authorized person shall at all times have full and free access to, and may, if need be by force and with such assistance as is necessary, break open, enter and search, any house, premises or place in which he suspects that there is any property nf. or documents or papers relating to, an unlawful association and may search any person found in the house, premises or place . . .
Such an authorized person may be any one of 2,000 individuals. Such power is altogether too wide to be given to an authorized person without a warrant to conduct such a search. We shall propose that before an authorized person may take any action of the kind covered by this clause he must first obtain a warrant from a police magistrate, or special magistrate, before whom he must make out a prima facie case for the issuance of such a warrant. The issuance of every warrant to search will then be justified and the search will be restricted to specified premises, property or documents and to the particular persons suspected of doing something, or of being about to do something, to the detriment of the community.
That is my contribution to this debate. To-day and yesterday honorable members opposite indulged in discussion which to my mind had very little to do with the bill before us. During a debate of this kind I do not consider it necessary to concern myself with philosophies accepted in other countries or with international affairs as they affect China or Asia. The proposition before us is a simple one. A set of circumstances exists and we must face it. We know that certain people in this community are acting in an unAustralian manner. It is our duty, as the representatives of the people in this National Parliament, to take such action as we regard to be necessary to ensure that no injury is done to our native land. I do not intend to vote against the second reading of the bill, not because I regard it as an excellent measure, but because I agree that the Government is entitled to try out this legislation in order to meet its obligations to the people. I trust that the Government will be successful in its efforts to dissolve the Communist party, however, I am not happy to vote for some provisions of the bill as they now stand. I shall press for the acceptance of the amendments that have been foreshadowed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) so that the welfare of the Australian people shall be safeguarded against the actions of those who might imperil it.
.- I support the second reading of this bill. In doing so I am chiefly conscious of the fact that, in discussing this measure, we are discussing something that lies deep in the structure of parliamentary democracy in Australia, and deep in the thoughts that each of us may hold regarding the nature of the modern State and the nature of political activity within the State. For these reasons I hope that we may be able to carry this important debate to its conclusion without a display of unnecessary rancour and passion, and that we shall be able to look with care and exactness and, above all, with clarity, at the fundamental issues that are raised by this -bill to dissolve the Communist party. I should like, therefore, to use the time available to me to address myself to some of the principles that underlie this bill and to some of its basic ideas rather than to a discussion of the precise evil with which it seeks to deal. I am encouraged to do that because I have observed from the speeches of Opposition members that whilst, by and large, they propose to support the second reading of the bill that support is subject to certain reservations. There are signs of a certain banging back on various grounds. One of these is a ground of a principle with which I shall attempt to deal. That reservation was expressed, perhaps, most clearly by the representatives of the Opposition party in a resolution, published in the press to-day, which emanated from the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour party. This resolution, contained a phrase to the effect that this measure is a “ negation of the democratic principle “. That is that point with which I wish to deal. Does this measure, in fact, constitute a negation of any democratic principle? At the outset I suggest that we should try to distinguish between two different facets of this question.. On my own part I shall attempt to do so not by definition of the subject itself, but by pointing to the difference between those things that can be achieved by legislation and those which cannot be achieved by any legislative ae-tien.
I suggest that one of the lessons that perhaps must be re-learned in these days, when State authority is making such stupendous claims for itself, is that some phases of human life and industry lie beyond the borders of politics. There are some things which the State cannot do. Among the many things which temporal authority cannot control is the human mind and the human soul. I say frankly and without qualification that to the degree that communism or any other doctr ine is a belief in the. minds of men, it can not be wiped out by any action that the State may take. Insofar as. communism is an attempt to interpret or recapitulate history, it will not be refuted by legislation. In so far as it is a theory, it will not .be squashed by a statute. These matters, I suggest, lie far beyond the borders of politics and cannot be handled by political means.. I firmly believe that communism, having been founded on fallacy, and being propped: up with a great deal of bad history, is bound to tumble to the ground. In the course of time it is bound to pass into history as one of the aberrations of the human spirit and not as part of the continuing progress of the human spirit. We can leave these matters to the integrity of the thinkers and to the faith of the Christian. Outside the Parliament the churches and all institutions that are dedicated in one way or another to the discovery of truth, either by the path of logic or the path of faith, will, I believe, be able to carry on their work of confuting communism, by proving that it is an aberration and is founded on fallacy.
While we realize that there are things which the authority of the State cannot compass we can also distinguish those things which the State can do and, properly, must do, in order to protect itself, to serve the purpose for which it came into existence, and to preserve its capacity to exercise beneficent rule over the people under its authority and to ensure the political and social welfare of the people. Therefore I say, in contrast with the remarks that I have hitherto made, that to the degree that communism is a form of political action it becomes a matter of special concern of the State. As soon as communism appears as an organization engaged in fomenting industrial and political strife, and as soon as the Communist reveals himself as a person working against the stability of the State whose protection he enjoys, then the State must act. If it wishes to survive, it must act quickly. Such action bias nothing to dowith the opinions of the Communist. It is ai measure taken by the State to protect itself. The purpose of legislation such as we have before us is not to convert the Communist from his error hut to protect the community from. his> actions.. Its. purpose is to oblige the Communist te live and act in accordance, with thestandards which the community itself’ prescribes in order that the community may continue to live in accordance withthe principles on which, the association was originally formed. Once we haverecognized the distinction between! the- various manifestations of communism and see those which come within the scope of this Parliament and those which do not come within its scope, we shall be able to view the present legislation with greater exactness and confine our thoughts to those things in this bill that really matter and Ave need not continue to pour out torrents of words, mainly abstract words, down channels that are already flooded with a good deal of muddy eloquence.
Looking more closely at the question of civil liberty, 1 suggest that there are two major points which we should consider. One is the nature of a citizen’s rights in sl democracy. The other is the element of compulsion that enters into the existence of every State. In connexion with a citizen’s rights let us ask ourselves whether in fact those rights are infringed or impaired in any unusual way by the measure now before us. Looking back over the history of the last three or four centuries we find that attempts have been made at various times to define human rights. We also find that in the course of history words have taken on different meanings in different ages and that words themselves mean in reality only what the practice of the society in which they are applied happens to be. If we turn from words and look at actual facts we shall discover that society itself from time to time makes its own decision on what activities should be encouraged and what activities should be discouraged or even suppressed by society in the interests of society itself. Such decisions represent the agreement of society regarding the sort of community it wants. We know from our reading of history that understanding changes from period to period. Moral attitudes and political attitudes change. What was once called a liberty may in time be regarded as a disorder; what was once regarded as a necessary control may come to be regarded as an essential freedom. These changes take place, but the essential point is that society itself determines from time to time what activity shall be allowed and w hat activity shall be repressed. So long as the will of society is freely expressed through a freely elected Parliament, not the slightest infringement of any democratic principle is involved. A democratic principle is infringed only if and when those changes are brought about by means of a tyrannical act and when they are enforced in a totalitarian state. When changes are expressed by society through a freely elected Parliament, and freely accepted by society surely there can be no infringement of the democratic principle. In a parliamentary democracy such as Australia, can a free society express what it wants clearly and exactly in any other way than through its freely elected Parliament ? The will of the people given effect by its freely elected Parliament is the legitimate, proper, and usual way in which democratic society says, “ This is what we want; this is the sort of community in which we want to live “.
Let us now look at the element of compulsion to which I have referred. The question we should ask ourselves is : “ To what extent can the State take action to compel the members of society to conform to its decisions ? ‘”’ All of us, whether our political experience is long or brief, are familiar with the principle of compulsion in various phases of government. In a modern community we are compelled under various sanctions to comply with certain rules of health and with certain standards of public and even of private behaviour so that we do not impair the well-being of the whole community. We comply willingly, and we suffer those who do not comply to be compelled to do so because such compulsion is necessary for the preservation of the larger freedom enjoyed by the community as a whole. By placing this restraint on ourselves and by compelling the unruly to conform, we are able to enjoy that larger freedom in our community. We have instances of that in our quarantine and health inspection laws. We have instances of compulsion on the driver of a motor car and on those who fly aeroplanes. Compulsion of various kinds is necessary in the interests of society, and the exercise of such compulsion is a thoroughly familiar principle in all democratic States. Without much argument, I think that this House should readily agree that compulsion is rightly applied if it is necessary in order to preserve or to promote the well being of society and maintain good order and government or in order to ensure that the principles on which members of society associate together are maintained at all times. Surely that is what the proposed legislation will do.. This bill is analogous to quarantine measures and those laws regarding acts of violence which exist in order that the community may enjoy a larger freedom.
It is essential that if a State is not to Lapse into anarchy it should be able to maintain authority within its own territory. Irrespective of the political party which may be exercising the powers of government, the State cannot brook any challenge. It must be supreme’ in its own territory in respect of those matters which are appropriate to its functions.
Moreover, looking at the state of the world to-day, I should like to remind honorable members that freedom in a democracy has to be a guaranteed freedom. The State has to be able to ensure that, in respect of its territory, it has full sovereignty, political independence and freedom from threats from outside its own borders. Unless the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Australia are maintained, no Australian will enjoy any sort of freedom. Australians will become a subject race. I am sure that so long as they retain their legitimate national pride and the ideal of building in this continent a sound democracy Australians will not permit their country to fall under the dominion of some authority outside their own borders.
Compulsion is not foreign to democracy if it is exercised in order to serve the final ends of liberty. Liberty is ringed round and built up with sacrifices of lesser liberties. People are able to walk abroad with a large measure of liberty in any of our cities simply because, by compulsion, members of the community have lost the liberty to carry lethal weapons and to take the law into their own hands. They have parted with that liberty and gained a larger freedom.
Having examined the nature of citizens’ rights in a modern State, and having examined the right of the democratic State to exercise compulsion in order that liberty may be preserved within that State, I should like to consider briefly two phases of our national life which seem to be threatened by the existence and activities of the Communist party. The first phase is in the political sphere. I think that Australians are proud to live under a system which might properly be called government by discussion. In order to make that system of government by discussion work, certain familiar principles are accepted and are put into practice in the daily conduct of affairs in Australia. It is a recognized principle that a government which is chosen by the majority of the people should rule. Australians also accept the principle of compromise in their political affairs. They recognize that there may be differences of viewpoint and that other men’s viewpoints, though they differ from one’s own, may be correctly held. It is also admitted that changes should be made constitutionally. The vote of the people is accepted and respected. Australians rely on persuasion and argument in order to gain their points and do hot resort to force or fraud., These are principles which are inherent in the whole of this system of government by discussion.
The Communist party hold views regarding the nature of government which are completely incompatible with the Australian system of government. In their own estimation, they, and they alone, arc right. They do not admit the possibility of other viewpoints. They do not admit the right of the majority to rule. They believe that a minority should, if it can, seize power at the earliest opportunity. They do not admit of compromise. !> view of the fact that these people hold views which are so incompatible with the very foundations of our governmental system, can these two incompatibles continue to live together? Honorable members should remember that they are not being called upon to deal merely with someone who has a different set of political views or who follows a party which is the opposite to their own. They are not called upon to suppress an opinion which differs from their’s. They are dealing with a set of views which is incompatible with the system of government in Australia. If the Government does not put an end r this set of incompatibles Australians will be gradually undermined and changed by the working of this alien system on their own ideas.
– What does the honorable gentleman think of socialism?
– I prefer to talk oi revolutionary communism rather than allow myself to be distracted into an argument on how near socialism is to communism. Australians are not willing to abandon their system of government and their way of life by means of which they believe that they can achieve substantial good for the majority of the people. Rather than abandon their way of life, they will reject the incompatible system.
The second phase of our national affairs to which I wish to refer is the country’s economic life. This is also threatened by the activities of the Communist party. Australia must pay its way in the world with what it produces. Australians cannot live as a community except by producing and when a hostile activity is found to be purposefully and continuously directed towards reducing the country’s production, the community is entitled - and must in the interests of its people - squash the hostile force which is working against it and limiting its capacity to serve the material good of its people.
I have attempted to look at the bill from the single angle represented by the expression used in the Australian Labour party’s resolution that this is a “ negation o democratic principle “. This bill does not infringe any democratic principle. It is thoroughly in accordance with the usages and the necessities of the democratic state. If it does impair one small liberty it does so in order to ensure that strong defences are erected around greater liberties and larger freedoms. Taking the view which T have taken of the nature of the legislation, I suggest that it has to be tested very largely on the recitals in the preamble, directed precisely and for very clearly stated reasons against a particular organization. If its intention is fully carried out it will not apply to any other group of citizens or to any other individual citizens except those named in it and those against whom it is solely directed.
– If the honorable gentleman believes that he could not have read the bill.
– I have read the bill carefully. The strength of this bill lies in the recitals in the preamble. Those recitals make specific and precise charges in regard to one precise organization. They say that the Australian Communist party engages in activities or operations designed to assist or accelerate the coming of a revolutionary situation. They say that the Australian Communist party also engages in activities or operations designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system of government in Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices. The recitals say that the Australian Communist party is an integral part of the world Communist revolutionary movement which, in the King’s dominions and elsewhere, engages in espionage and sabotage and in activities or operations of a treasonable or subversive nature. They say, also, that the Australian Communist party operates in a way that is designed to cause, by means of strikes or stoppages of work, dislocation, disruption or retardation of production of work in vital industries. Those are definite and precise charges which have been levelled at one organization and at no other.
Some honorable members have said that this bill is directed against trade unions. The bill makes no reference to trade unions. The trade unions have been chosen by the Communists for their own purposes; the Government has not chosen trade unions and has no intention of doing so. The recitals amount to a clear and damning charge. If honorable members believe that these recitals are true +1-PV can only support the bill and support it as an urgent measure. On the other hand, if honorable members reject the bill, then they do not believe the recitals or, believing them, they do not think it matters a tinker’9 curse whether or not this danger to Australia continues. Precise charges have been made. Do honorable members believe them and, believing them, are they prepared to end this dangerous state of affairs? That is the test which they should apply to this measure. If any reasonable doubt were demonstrated that this hill which is solely directed against the Communist party is likely to affect other branches of civil liberty I should hope to see amendments accepted which would dissipate those doubts. I feel sure, from the speeches that have been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and by other honorable members on this side of the chamber that the provisions of this bill are directed solely towards the dissolution of the Communist party, the pursuing of that party in all forms it may take and the ending of the menace to Australia -which is indicated by the exact terms in the recital.
.- I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot share the mild-mannered approach of the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck) towards this bill. He has taken honorable members slowly and carefully and with a kindly grace down the flower-decked path. He explained particularly, of course, that it is not a good thing to proscribe or ban anything in a democracy but that there are urgent reasons for this bill being introduced and that it is going to be all right in this best of all possible worlds. I do not believe that it is going to be all right and I believe that the bill has very grave dangers inherent in it. In the final analysis, any measure of a dangerous nature necessitates certain inquiries. The first questions that the public will ask are, “Who are handling this bill? How democratic are they? How often have they expressed the view that they want to uphold every tenet and ideal of r democracy that was built so slowly and tortuously in this country?” If we ask for evidence, we find that it comes very badly from the Government and its supporters who, even at this early stage, talk, whether jocularly or otherwise, of declaring honorable members on this side of the House. We have witnessed the bad.mannered and loutish example of the Prime Minister himself. The right honorable gentleman forgot his good manners in this chamber, not once, but on three occasions. He was emulated by the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), who gave such :111 exhibition of bad form to-day that many honorable members were obliged to leave the House. There are such delicate souls in this place, of course. I did not leave. I sat here so that I might be further informed of the depths to which a Minister could sink.
Wc do not admit that the bill is a guiding star for the new democracy, but, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has said, we shall support it up to the point that marks the limit of the mandate given to the Government by the people. At that point, we propose to apply a sharp guillotine. The Government claims to have a mandate, but it is very difficult to interpret a mandate from the people. Many electors who voted for the present Government parties at the general election may have been eager to get unrationed petrol. However, the Government has interpreted the result of the election as a mandate in favour of the banning of the Communist party. The Leader of the Opposition, in his generosity, has said that the claim will be acknowledged by the Opposition to the limit of clause 4, but not beyond. Therefore, the Opposition will not oppose themotion for the second reading of the bill.. The clauses that follow clause 4 represent nothing but pure fascism. The flag might be flying over Berchtesgaden when one reads the provisions of those clauses.
The bill should not be judged alone by the tenets of law that have been freely discussed during this debate, notably in the speeches of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). An analysis of the law is not enough in this instance. There are human values to be considered by both sides, and I warn the Government and the people of Australia that this measure must be examined very carefully. The Government proposes to engage in a dangerous course of action. Any bruising or curtailment of democracy must be considered very seriously by any member nation of the British Empire. I agree with some supporters of the Government that, in some instances, the application of the measure could be non-political. Alas, very little activity of a non-political nature is ever undertaken in this House! I shall endeavour to keep my arguments above polities and express my own views whilst, at the same time, abiding by the decision of the Opposition. I consider that the first four clauses of the bill provide effectively for the banning of the Communist party. The remainder of the measure must be contested. I see something wrong with almost every clause. The rule of law has been entirely evaded. The Go.vernment should take care, in its eagerness to assault communism, that it does not also drive democracy underground with the Communist party.
Issues tha re above party politics sometimes arise in this House when honorable members on both sides should ca»t aside their party affiliations. This is swell an issue, because it involves civil liberties. “What passes as the Communist party in Australia makes no impact upon use. It is sufficient for me to be a loyal member of the Australian Labour party. I have had struggles with the Communist party, and I know the tactics that it employs. In my opinion, it has a greater measure of success when anti-Labour governments are in power than at any other time. When the Labour party was in office, the Communist party was its eternal and persistent enemy. I notice te* supporters of the Government laugh at that assertion. It is all very well for the juniors, the young fags of the Government, to scoff. The destruction of the Prime Minister has begun as the result of the fact that they have constituted themselves as an applause committee. The adulation has gone to his head and we now hear the most astounding statements from this ham actor, who has lost all sense of responsibility in presenting the most serious bill that has ever come before this House in ray experience. I remind honorable members of the jocular reference to the declaring of members of this Parliament. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) asked the Prime Minister a question and was given a reply. The right honorable gentleman repeated that reply and then, when he was chided by the Leader of the Opposition, he said -
I never make a throat that I do not carry out.
He was full of bluster on that occasion, but we remember that relatively recently he was just as pious in another direction when he declared that it would be against all the tenets of democracy to ban the Communists. However, he wanted to have some good slogans for the election campaign and decided that a good issue would be a promise to ban the Communist party. Therefore, he performed a mental somersault. It is always useful for a statesman to he good at such feats. The Treasurer also made a series of statements to-day to which 1 took grave exception. The right honorable gentleman was completely off the line. He quoted from Marxian documents and made unfortunate references of a religious nature. He knew nothing about his brief. Separate the right honorable gentleman from his adding machine, and he is entirely lost. It was unfortunate for the Government that he was called upon to state its case. Day by day, the story from the Government side of the House becomes less colourful and loses its strength and people are beginning to doubt the sincerity of the Government. Let us admit the Government’s claim to have a mandate from the people for this measure.
Having framed the first four clauses, the Government should have left well alone. Was it necessary to include in the bill all those harsh clauses that, as the right honorable member for Barton has said, completely evade the rule of law? Is there any necessity for any dominion within the British Empire to become affrighted when the threat to its integrity is so slight that only 84,000 people out of 8,000,000 declare themselves to be Communists by their votes at a general election? There are no representatives of the Communist party in any parliament in Australia. At the recent election in Tasmania, the solitary Communist candidate received 80 votes. If, in those circumstances, the Prime Minister has introduced the bill because he is at his wits end to find means of increasing production and has decided to use this as a thinly veiled patriotic measure designed to accelerate national production, then he has taken a dangerous step. The real danger that every intelligent person sees in the bill is an assault upon civil liberties. Many people who do not hold the political beliefs of the Labour party have alined themselves with us on this issue. We might concede the necessity for banning the Communist party. We might agree that the devious working of democracy, which conquers not in minutes but in years and bruises not its dignity in the process, is too slow. But the clauses in this bill are an affront to the people of Australia. We have heard a great deal of double talk from Government supporters about the onus of proof. They say that provisions similar to those that are embodied in the bill were administered by Labour governments. They say that the Labour party committed certain acts when it was in power during the war. But it never acted so starkly, nakedly and viciously as this Government proposes to act under the terms of this bill. Honorable gentlemen opposite should concede that a Labour Government, under the pressure of war, had to do distasteful things. The principle that the onus of proof rests upon the prosecutor is as old as liberty itself. The people want to know what is meant by the onus of proof provisions in the bill. Do they mean that the old lady who peers from behind every Nottingham lace curtain is to be a member of the gestapo acting for that nebulous person called a peace officer? Is the system that fosters the gestapo, the gag, and the whisperer to be revived? I thought that those were evils that we fought and grappled with during World War II., the scars of which we still bear.
The dignity of the human being in this country is endangered by the bill. The only explanation for the special clauses following those that provide simply for the banning of the Communist party can be that there are fascist minds in the Government. I appeal to the younger supporters of the Government to examine this proposition and to inquire beyond the bald story that has been told to them Ivy their leaders. They should probe deep for the motives that lie behind the measure, because it will be proven in the long run that it embodies dangers that threaten our democracy. The Prime Minister made an excellent speech in which he dealt with the whole case in support of the bill. His submissions were in the form of recitals. Those recitals of course were old stuff that everybody had read previously, but they made a good case against the Marxian Communist. However, in discussing the individual clauses of the bill, which represent the claws that will tear the inside of democracy, the Prime Minister was remarkably evasive. His example has been followed by every Government supporter who has spoken. Speeches from the Government side of the chamber have consisted almost exclusively of declamatory statements about the dangers of communism. Let us admit at once that we are agreed upon that issue ! We believe that the Communists are subversive. The only quarrel that has arisen has developed over the Government’s method of implementing its proposals. That presents a wider issue than the mere political issues that arise in this chamber. Very seldom does the fourth estate, the press, of which I am a humble member, depart from its customary political line. It may be for us or against us, because there are newspapers representing all avenues of political thought. However, the same thread runs through all newspaper comments to-day upon the subject-matter of this bill. They reveal a fear of some assault upon civil liberty. In justification for the press, I say that, whenever some threat to civil liberty arises, no matter what Government is in power, press representatives prove themselves to be stalwarts in the defence of democracy. Then they reach the greatest heights to which journalism can aspire in fighting for the fundamental liberties of the subject.
Every clause of the bill contains a threat. The onus of proof has become the subject of legal argument in this place. But the simple fact is that we are in danger of losing a valuable constituent of British justice. There is no reason for the Government’s proposal. The right of search that is proposed in the bill would be intolerable. It would confer upon a peace officer the right to enter premises and to possess, examine and seize. How many pathetic stories would be woven around the exercise of such a power? The clause relating to evidence is weak. All of the proposed amendments that have been suggested and discussed are designed to establish the rule of law in the bill. The phraseology of the amendments is simple, but they are intended to protect the people. I have examined the clauses very carefully. I do not want to discuss them from a legal point of view. I prefer to use human values as the basis of my arguments. The clauses of the bill, as they stand, represent an infraction of the Declaration of Human Eights. The Government professes to uphold the United Nations. Every speech upon foreign affairs that is made from the Government side of the House provides us with an accretion of information about the work of the United Nations. The Government asserts that it stands loyally by the United Nations, yet, in seven specific instances, the bill embodies infractions of its Charter. An axiom in relation to law that was uttered by none other than Oliver Wendell Holmes, a famous American jurist, is that the life of the law is not logic but experience. There may be logic in this bill, but I challenge the Government to apply its punitive provisions to the Communists. Experience has proved that that procedure cannot succeed, and I refer to the experience of people in a wider sphere than that in which we operate.
Under this measure, the Government proposes to aline Australia with South Africa, some of the South American republics and the Republic of Panama. With the possible exception of our sister dominion of South Africa, the general view held in those countries, to state the facts in the kindest way, is such that the governments are not deeply moved by the human problems of individuals. The Government proposes to side with those governments while the great democracies, under greater force in the cold war than we are experiencing in Australia, have not considered such action to be necessary. The Government of Canada enacted a repressive measure, but has since abandoned it. Those great nations do not regard such measures as this Government contemplates as having any virtue. My opinion is that there is more in the Government’s plan that meets the eye. I maintained that the Commonwealth Bank Bill 1950 was designed as a means of dissolving the Commonwealth Bank, through the operations of a board, and establishing a stronger block of private banks. This measure, if enacted, will eventually have some adverse and malicious influence upon the trade unions. There can be no doubt about that. That being apparent to the newspapers, to people outside this Parliament, and to some honorable mem bers in this chamber, what sort of defence does the Government submit? We hear humorous remarks of a variegated nature, and we witness bad mannered behaviour. It will be interesting to discover whether the people of this country can be gulled by a story that the Opposition might be banned. That was mentioned to show that this matter was approached facetiously.
– Did the honorable gentleman take it seriously.
– I did when it was repeated and I think that half the trouble is that the Government has completely deluded the people about how its objective will be achieved. My experience of amateur theatricals makes me try to be sure that the public is laughing with me and not at me. The point that I want to make is that the Prime Minister has not been at all dignified in handling this matter. He has shown too much irritation. Some people believe that the bill is a device to avoid putting value back into the £1. The Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) further emphasized that viewpoint, and as time goes on we shall hear more and more of this sort of nonsense from the Government.
– I take it that the honorable member is going to vote against the bill.
– I know that the honorable member who interjected was listening intently because I saw him leaning over his desk drinking in my words. He knows that I said earlier that I was going to support the second reading. I think the clauses that I have mentioned are dangerous, and I am sure that the honorable member thinks the same. After I have finished my speech he will perhaps see the bill in a different light. Clauses 9, 20 and 22 should be given very careful consideration. Several matters in regard to those clauses must be mentioned again and again. So far as I can see an attempt has been made to do two things in this bill. First, the Government has a mandate to deal with communism, but, secondly, it wants to go further. We say that every man in this country could be threatened under the provisions of the bill, and during the committee stage we shall fight every inch of the way. One must return again and again to three or four provisions of the bill, the most important being that of the onus of proof. 1 listened last night to the Minister for External Affairs attempting to justify this particular part of the measure from all legal points of view, but I was not convinced. When the right honorable member for Barton followed him, in his very level-headed way he absolutely wiped the noor with the Minister, and left him fighting to stand on his feet. The right honorable member for Barton, through his logic and his eloquence, showed that to cast the onus of proof upon a defendant is a very dangerous thing. Quite apart from the reputation of the right honorable member for Barton in politics his general reputation is sufficient to make his words impress this House. During his work as a justice of the High Court and as a politician and .statesman, he has followed the highest ideals in his consideration of the relationship of the people to the State. As a result of that he is not likely to muddy the stream by not telling the truth on this occasion. Moved as I have not seen him moved in this House except on rare occasions, he showed quite clearly how this bill could lead to a sort of jackboot insolence which would fall heavily on the people of this country. He considered the arguments of the Minister and dismantled them until they flew away on the wing9 of fundamental doubt. At the conclusion of his speech I understood that the alteration of the onus of proof was a more dangerous thing than I had realized. That was brought home to me by the masterly analysis of the law which the expert knowledge of the right honorable member for Barton enabled him to make.
Parties come and go, and the government of one day will not he the government of the next day. The only enduring element in the country is the welfare of the people and their fundamental democratic rights. Angry people of no political affiliation are writing letters daily to Labour members. We do not know those people except through their correspondence. They have seen the danger to democracy that lies in this bill.
The right honorable member for Barton then considered the matter of the right of search. He dissected that matter with great ability and proved again that it was an invasion of the rights of the Australian people. He showed that it was something not to be borne. He pleaded that in the amendments which should be accepted there should be justice and a regard for fundamental law. He asked for the ancient rule of law to be applied. This is not something that can give cause for a political holiday. It is not something through which members of Parliament can gain kudos by the exercise of rhetoric and argument. It is a matter that strikes deep at the roots of human relationship, justice and democracy. As a result, anxiety and fear have filled the hearts of people outside this House, who believe that something they hold dear is threatened. They reach blindly for protection to the Government, of whatever political persuasion. If there is a betrayal of their trust then the punishment that will fall upon the Government will be sure and severe. This debate will go along the well-beaten path and all honorable members will discuss certain features of it. The honorable member who preceded me talked of democracy, but pushed the threat to democracy aside because in his opinion nothing could happen in this best of all possible worlds. But I direct attention to the savage assault on democracy embodied in the clauses of this bill. That cannot be pushed aside with the argument that it is not so dangerous as it looks. Once these clauses are on the statute-book this country will have taken a step down from the democracy of the Empire towards some sort of polyglot fascism. It has been contended that the people apparently were angry because the previous Government was in their view moving too slowly in the matter of communism. Therefore, a mandate was given to this Government to do something about that matter. If the Government fails in its attempts to suppress communism it will be blamed by the people. Then perhaps the Parliament will disappear and some organization that can move more quickly than it does will take control of the country. There are grave dangers in these alterations of democratic institutions. I wish to point out the inherent clangers again and again. This Government represents the forces of capitalism, ft must realize that whether it likes to do so or not. Pious professions have been made that it does not represent capitalism, but in performance and legislation it clearly does. Honorable members on this side of the House represent the workers.
– They represent socialism.
– Honorable members on this side of the House represent the workers. I have never denied that I am a socialist, any more than the honorable member who interjected should deny that he is a rural fascist. So far as the Opposition is concerned the Government represents, big interests, and the Opposition represents the workers. If the abolition of some political organization should be affected and democracy should disappear, then the Government will become something else. The ugly term for the system it will work under is “fascism”. If democracy withers, then we, the workers’ party, shall have nothing left at all. That is why we face this bill with great anxiety and why we try to inform, the people and the Parliament of the grave injury that may be caused to the Australian way of life by these clauses which represent about, the worst legislation that this House has dealt with.
– What did the Government get a mandate to. do, if not this?
– That interjection was from a gentleman who. is always working in the dark. He has apparently not yet seen the light. I cannot tell you what you got a mandate for. Surely you know. [ know that you represent blacked-out Bennelong–
– Order ! The honorable member will address me.
– I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but it was a most diverting opportunity, you will agree. The honorable member refers to his mandate. I tmi sure that be must know what it is. A government decides that it has a mandate for everything that it wants to do. T think it fair to say that all governments do that. When it wants to put peg-tops out of existence, or something of that description, it says that it has a mandate to do so. I consider that this bill is highly dangerous, and were it not for the circumstances of the cold war and the fact that irrefutable evidence exists that communism is subversive so far as democracy is concerned, I would not vote for the second reading. I shall vote for the second reading because a mandate was given, although the Government is exercising that mandate to the limit. What will happen after this bill is passed ? Can the Government make it work or will it have to be bogged down with intolerable difficulties lido not know. The London Times in a sober editorial which warns the Government of the very real dangers ahead, says that the Government cannot successfully ban communism.
-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Mr. EGGINS (Lyne) [9.43).- Honorable members of this House have listened to some extraordinary contributions- to this debate. We heard from the honorable member far Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Gordon Anderson), a. very sound speech on this bill. His remarks enabled honorable members to appreciate that he at least, of the Opposition, knows what problems face this country. The remarks oi the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) were extraordinary, and I think that the Opposition must be particularly disappointed in such an address by one who has served in this Parliament for about twenty years. It was one of the most disappointing speeches; that I have listened to in this House, and one that J am sure will disappoint the electors ©pf Parkes if they hear of it oar read it. Honorable members must approach their responsibility in this matter in a very serious spirit. It: is to- be regretted that the House has to give excessive time to a matter ©df this kind. But when a state of emergency arises and a serious threat confronts this- country from within and from without, the National Parliament must, of necessity, face its responsibility and deal with the problem in the most effective way and with the greatest possible expedition. Opposition members have gone to- extraordinary lengths to express the Communist viewpoint in this chamber, but 1 am vitally concerned about the interests of the great majority of the people who desire to preserve their freedom, and to make this country secure for future generations. “When we are debating the problem of the threat of communism, we must consider the welfare of nearly 8,000,000 loyal Australians, and try to give legislative expression to their views, as conveyed to the Government in the mandate that they gave to it at the recent general election.
Some honorable members pointed out, that the Royal Commissioner, Mr. Justice Lowe, who recently presented his report on the activities of the Communist party in Victoria, indicated that there may he only 12,000 or 14,000 Communists in this country. People express conflicting views about the actual number of Communists here, hut whatever the numerical strength of that party may be, it is a well-known fact that its members work very effectively. Mr. Justice Lowe pointed out that Mr. J. S. Garden said in his speech at the Fourth Congress of the Comintern in 1922 that the Australian Communist party had then nearly 1,000 members. Of course, its membership has increased considerably since that year, but the point that I desire to make is that Mr. Garden also said that the Communists at that time were able to direct nearly 400,000 workers. That disclosure indicates the strength of the Communist party, even though its numbers are comparatively few.
Communism is threatening every democratic country. It is a world organization, and is the most serious menace to freedom!loving peoples in the annals of history. As I stated in another speech, I had the opportunity in 1948 to listen to the Socialist Foreign Minister of Great Britain inform the House of Commons that the Communist organization, inspired and directed from Moscow, was the greatest threat that the democratic countries had ever experienced. Such a declaration by a Socialist Minister must be heeded by all sections of the community, because he would know, from his close association with the representatives of other countries, the deep and dreadful character of the Communist menace. I emphasize again that the Government has a complete mandate to deal with the Australian Communist party.
The bill clearly provides that the organization itself shall be dissolved, and that Communists shall .be disqualified from holding office in trade unions. Persons who are declared Communists will have the right to appeal. However, I have not the slightest concern for those of our own people and others who have migrated to this country who become enemies of the King. No treatment is too harsh for them. This bill has been aptly described by the Prime Minister as a measure to deal with the King’s enemies in our midst, and, if possible, with those who may threaten us from outside. The Communists have been carrying out their nefarious activities in Australia for many years, and, therefore, the people have had ample opportunity to decide the attitude that they should adopt to the threat. The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith complained that the Government was acting too hastily in introducing this bill. I regard that remark as a reflection on the Australian people, because they have been closely examining the Communist threat for years, and have had experience of the inability of the Labour party to overcome it. Therefore, they have given to this Government a complete mandate to deal with the menace in the most effective manner and as expeditiously as possible, and the Government is proceeding to do so. This bill will give effect to the desires of the people in respect of the Communists.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), in his second-reading speech, referred at some length to minority movements, and to the struggles that have occurred in other parts of the world to achieve progress. He mentioned specifically Pandit Nehru in India, and the leaders of Pakistan and of Southern Ireland, but he overlooked the fact that those mcn were directing their attention to one great objective, namely to obtain for their own people the right to practice democracy as self-governing countries. The British Commonwealth gave them every possible assistance and ultimately agreed to grant them self-government. But communism is not an attempt to pain for the peoples of the democratic countries the right of self-government. It is a threat to deprive them of that right.
One of the objectives of communism is to destroy the parliamentary system of government, and the liberty of the individual, and to substitute a dictatorship, to which we should be completely subjugated. Therefore, the illustrations that were given by the Leader of the Opposition of the struggles in India, Pakistan, and Southern Ireland for the right of selfgovernment are not comparable with the position that we are now considering, because communism threatens to destroy our democratic institutions.
The people of Australia and New Zealand are exposed to a greater threat than the people of other democratic nations are, because we are the two most southern bases of the white race, and to the north are hundreds of millions of Asiatics, who provide a field in which communism makes rapid progress. “We are in the path of the Communists’ southward drive, and if we allow that fifth column organization within Australia to develop its activities, we shall fail in our duty to our people, and to future generations.
Let us carefully examine what lies behind the menace of communism, and the reasons why we should be suspicious of it. In the past when the nations of Europe and other countries have been passing through a period of evolution, visitors have not been prevented from examining the conditions prevailing in them, and estimating whether or not the claims of the progressive leaders were justified, but Soviet Russia has always debarred visitors from studying domestic conditions in that country and ascertaining whether real progress was being made. The rulers of Russia are not prepared to lift the Iron Curtain for that purpose. When that country places such a barrier around itself, we have a right to be suspicions of it, and of its plans to destroy the democratic countries who desire to live differently from the Russian way of life. While it is not prepared to lift the Iron Curtain, we must be vitally concerned about the threat of communism. Are we to ignore the warnings that have been given to us from time to time by men such as the Honorable James Maloney, a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, whom theChifley Government appointed Austral ain Minister to Moscow a few years ago? He remained in Soviet Russia for approximately two years. I know Mr. Maloney very well, and I say unhesitatingly that a more honest or upright man does not exist. When he returned to Australia he left the people in no doubt about his views of conditions in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. He debated the subject with well-known Communists on a public platform and warned the Australian people, including members of the Labour party, of the danger of Russia. Yet Opposition speakers express doubts about the necessity for this, bill, because, they say, the threat is not nearly so serious as the Government tries to make the people believe that it is.
– I direct attention to the state of the House.
The House having been counted,
– A quorum is present. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) will retire from the House for the remainder of the sitting.
– For what reason, Mr. Speaker ?
– Under Standing Order 303, for disorder. I am laying down the principle that, if an honorable member interrupts another honorable member just to call for a quorum, and I find that a quorum is present, that honorable member must go out under Standing Order 303, for disorder. I ask the SerjeantatArms to remove the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward).
– I desire to make an explanation before I leave the chamber. When I called for a quorum you, Mr. Speaker, were in deep conversation with an honorable member and you delayed some time before counting the House. In fact, you had to ask me what I had said.
– The delay was of a few seconds only.
– You had to ask me what 1 said, and during the delay some honorable members came into the House.
– Who were they?
– They were some honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) was one.
– I rise to order.
– I think that I should state in defence of the honorable member for East Sydney that I was outside the chamber when he called for a quorum.
– Order ! Each of the three honorable members raising points of order is speaking from a place other than his own. Honorable members will speak from their own places when they are raising points of order.
– I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to overlook this particular incident. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) did not know of your ruling in respect of honorable members who call for a quorum, any more than I did until just a moment ago.
– I do not desire to .be unjust to -the honorable member for East Sydney or to any other honorable member, but I nad already given that ruling this afternoon, and from to-day on I shall carry it out. I shall let this incident go to-night, since there seems to be some doubt, ‘but in future if an honorable member interrupts another honorable member who has the (floor in order to call for a quorum ;and I find -that there is a quorum present, that honorable member will be suspended for the rest of the sitting under Standing Order 303. I further lay it down, so .that there -shall be no doubt about it, that honorable members .are not going to be suspended from this House and then have the use of the library, the dining-room, the billiardroom, the bar and so forth. They are going right out.
– That would be a dictatorship.
– Order ! The honorable member will not call me a dictator.
– I said that that would be a dictatorship.
-I consider that remark to be a reflection upon me, because I was the only one who spoke. The honorable member will please withdraw the remark.
– I withdraw it.
– I was saying, when I was so rudely interrupted-
– The honorable member was not rudely interrupted at all. He was just interrupted.
– I was saying that this menace of communism is a threat to our system of .parliamentary government and to our very w.ay >of life, and that it has as its intention the complete .State ownership of ‘everything in this country. To the people who are engaged in primary industry in this vast continent the threat of State ownership of land is a serious one. .Every individual in this nation fully realizes that in order to avoid -such .a threat becoming a reality we must take action in the most effective way. ‘Other honorable members have dealt fully with individual clauses of the measure. Honorable members opposite have indicated that they propose to vote in favour of the second reading, but that they intend to deal with certain clauses at the committee stage. I shall not take up the time of the House on this -particular line as I shall have an opportunity to deal with individual clauses also at “that stage. Several honorable members have already pointed out that -although the Labour party objects to the provision relating to the onus of proof it has itself, on more than one occasion, brought down measures that contained similar provisions, to deal with matters that were not nearly so important nor so emergent as that with which .this measure seeks to deal. I support the provision relating to the onus of .proof and I shall leave further references to it until the bill is at the committee stage.
I shall turn now to the effects that communism has on this country’s defence and on defence activities. I shall then show the effects of communism on ‘the ‘home life -of Australia and the seriousness of the threat of communism from that particular aspect. I shall also refer to what happened during the general coal strike last year, which provided an illustration of a Labour government being forced to recognize the seriousness of the Communist threat and ultimately to bring down emergency legislation that provided for the powers that are contained in this bill, with possibly some exceptions.
The conditions in the country during that coal strike reached -a stage that was so serious for the home life of this country, and its life generally, that the Labour Government had to employ the Army to mine coal. I believe that that was the first occasion’ in the history of a British country or of a democracy,, aswe understand; democracies, on which the Army was- brought in to mine coal. That shows the seriousness with which- the- party now in Opposition Regarded that strike: Yet, when the strike was over, what did the- Labour Administration do- about the Communists- who, in the woods of the then Purine- Minister (Mir-.. Chifley)) and the then AttorneyGeneral (Du. Evatt), which have been referred to ins this House’ on. several) occasions, were the enemy within’ the gates in this- country? When’ the strikeended’ not one- effort was made by the then Government to- deal with the menace of communism. It allowed these peopleto be at large: te, hold this countryagain to ransom at any time that they chose and’ again to play their part in disrupting our- national life.
Consider the effects of that strike on the economic life of Australia. The greatest economic threat that we now face is inflation. There are many reasons why the fear of that threat exists at the present time, lt exists in the first place as a direct result of the failure of the last Labour Government to deal with the problem of communism effectively, and’ secondly, as a result of that great coal strike which the Labour government proved powerless to deal with until it got the Army into operation. During the strike more than £100,000,000 worth of production was lost to this country; £33,000,000 in wages was- lost; 2,00G;0Q0 tons of coal were lost; 1’36,000 tons of pig iron and 170;G00 tons of steel were lost. In a country such- as Australia such losses cannot be made up. They have affected the economic life of this country in every way: We shall suffer from the repercussions of that strike for many years to come. The loss in home building amounted to 2,700’ homes at a time- when people were homeless and desired to get on with the construction of homes. Due to the inability of the country to supply the requirements- of the primary industries, because of the acts, the influence and the activities^ of communism, and because Communists caused that great strike,, those industries have been unable to> achieve ai higher level’ of production.. Because of lack of equipment the rabbits and other menaces throughout Australia, have caused tremendous losses that cannot be calculatedin pounds,, shillings and pence. All- that stems from- our inability to supply the needs of this- nation, and it all comes back to the problem’ that we are discussing to-night - the- influence of communism and its ability to hold) the nation to- ransom at any particular time.
A close and unquestionable link exists between the Labour party and the Communists, despite what honorable members opposite may say. It has been said in this House, andI repeat ft, that the year 1921 saw the official formation of the Communist organization in Australia. The same year also saw the acceptance by the Labour, party of its socialistic objective which is the same objective as that of the Communist party. Mr. J. S. Garden, was a very prominent leader of the Communist party at that particular time, and he was very closely associated with the Labour party right down through its history and possibly is only kept away from it at the present time because of compulsion. The only difference between the Communist policy and the socialistic policy of the Labour party, because both parties have the same objective, is in- regard to the method of achieving the objective. We must recognize the fact that the Labour party is closely linked with- communistic influence in this country.
I shall make further references to aspects that have relationship to this particular position. Honorable members opposite have tried to deny their association with the Communist party and to tell us how they have tried in. the past to deal with the Communist menace. I shall, tell the House of the way in which, they have dealt with it over the last few years. In 1940 the Menzies Government, with the support of the Australian Country party, declared the Communist party an illegal organization as a safeguard against war-time sabotage. When the Labour Government assumed power, one of its early acts, on the 18th December, 1942; was to lift the ban for reasons that were explained by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who said that the Government had accepted assurances from the Communists that they would assist the war effort by increasing production, promoting harmony in industry and minimizing absenteeism, strikes and hold-ups. How that undertaking was kept is well known. The lifting of the ban was followed by a period of co-operation between Labour and Communists, as the following facts show : - In 1944 the right honorable member for Barton proposed fourteen amendments to the Commonwealth Constitution. The present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) and the right honorable gentleman were campaign directors at the subsequent referendum. They were aided by a campaign committee composed of three Australian Labour party members and three Communists, H. B. Chandler, organizing secretary, H. Jeffrey, secretary of the Sydney branch, and T. “Wright, a member of the central executive of the Communist party. The Chifley Government appointed prominent Communists to positions of trust on boards dealing with essential industries. Those individuals were remunerated from public funds. Among the appointments were : J. Healy, general secretary of the “Waterside “Workers Federation and a member of the Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool Committee, to the Stevedoring Industry Commission. That is one of the appointments that the Chiffey Government made, although honorable members opposite now declare to this House that they are against communistic influences and are fighting the Communists. That is merely outward show, and underneath it all this U going on. Other appointments included that of Mr. E. V. Elliott, general secretary of the Seamen’s Union of Australia, to the Maritime Industries Commission; Idriess “Williams, general president of the miners federation, to the board of inquiry into the coal-mining industry; and E. Thornton, national secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia, to represent Australia at the world conference of Trade Unions in February, 1949.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I am very sorry that the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Eggins) has made so many gross misstatements. He should he pleased, for his own sake, that his last statement did not go over the air, because the proceedings of the House are not being broadcast to-night. I refer to his statement that the Chifley Government appointed Mr. Ernest Thornton to represent Australia at the world conference of trade unions. Any member of the Government who knows anything about these matters knows that the Chifley Government did no such thing. In reply to his other statements regarding appointments to boards, I point out that the honorable gentleman, as a member of the Australian Country party, has always supported the principle that the producers, as the people concerned, thould have the right to have their nominees appointed to bodies established to deal with primary industry. The unions themselves nominated their representatives for appointment to the bodies to which the honorable member has referred, and the men whom they nominated were the men whose names the honorable member has mentioned. They were selected not by the Government, but by the members of the unions concerned. If the honorable member wished to be fair he would admit that it was because of the action of the men to whom he referred that the Government abolished the Stevedoring Industry Commission. However, in the limited time at my disposal I wish to address myself not to extraneous matters of that kind but to the bill.
I was sorry to hear the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) and some of his colleagues attempt to link the Communist party with the Australian Labour party. I have had a fairly wide experience in the Labour party. I recall that at the State general election in South Australia in 1933 I was opposed by a Communist candidate. At the declaration of the poll on that occasion he turned to me with tears streaming down his face and said, “ You damned fakir “. That incident illustrates what the Communists think of me. After the passage of the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Bill. I addressed meetings of trade unionists in South Australia on that legislation, which was enacted to deal with the Communists who had brought about a hold up in the coal-mining industry at that time not for industrial but for political purposes. At those meetings I was attacked by the Communists. Along the frontage of my residence they wrote in letters three feet high the word “ strike-breaker “ and on a high galvanized iron fence on a busy highway the words “A. V. Thompson strike-breaker “. In a Communist newspaper they challenged me in the filthiest possible terms to debate that legislation with their representatives in public. I would not demean myself by accepting a challenge to debate any issue with men of the description of those that had issued it. They then reprinted their challenge in pamphlet form and distributed the pamphlets throughout my electorate. Did that action do me any harm as a member of the Parliament? No. Whilst at the previous election held in 1946 my Communist opponent polled approximately 5,000 votes, in the area I now represent, at the recent general election, my Communist opponent received only 800 votes.
I have always been prepared to fight the Communists. I have done so when I have attended meetings of the Trades and Labour Council in South Australia at which Communists have attempted to have passed resolutions attacking not the Liberal party but the Labour Government that was then in office on the ground that its legislation was detrimental to the workers and to the trade unions. My wife well remembers the numerous occasions on which I returned home from meetings feeling sick and tired of having to fight individuals of that type tooth and nail. Therefore, honorable members can appreciate my feelings when I hear supporters of the Government endeavouring to link the Communist party with the Labour party by pointing to objectives that were laid down in the Labour party’s platform many years before the Communist Manifesto was ever heard of. Honorable members who make statements of that kind are not sincerely endeavouring to defeat communism. I urge trade unionists when they are electing the officers of their organizations to realize that the Communists are worthless. The workers must realize what communism really is.
I believe that the majority of the people when they elected the present Government really believed that the Liberal party if returned to office would ban the Communist party. I admit that the Government has a right to introduce this legislation. I have had experience in Opposition in a State parliament in which the Government fully appreciated suggestions by the Opposition for improvement of legislation. Tet, in this chamber, Government supporters attack the Opposition because it has foreshadowed amendments to certain clauses of the bill. We are told that we are too frightened to say where we stand on this legislation. T have never been afraid to say where I stand in relation to communism. The Government has sufficient support to pass this measure in this chamber, and I believe that it has a right to expect the Senate also to pass it, but only insofar as the bill implements the promises that the present Government parties made in their joint policy speech at the last general election. Any party that gains a majority in the lower, or popular, house has a right to give effect to legislation for which it receives a mandate from the people. However, I remind supporters of the Government that parties politically akin to the present Government parties have used majorities in upper chambers to defeat the will of Labour majorities in lower houses. Of course, I have not been astonished at that fact because the non-Labour parties to which I have referred make no secret of their representation of special interests which they seek to preserve. I repeat that the party that has a majority in the lower house has a right to expect a hostile majority in the upper chamber to give effect to its legislation.
From 1939 to 1941, when the Communist party was banned in this country, Communists did great damage to the trade unions and to the Labour party. As the Communist party was then an illegal organization its members were able to operate without any restriction, no tag being placed upon them. They were able to do much damage to the Labour party.
– That is true.
– Yes; and I could give many instances of that fact. Whilst
I admit the Government has a right to give effect to this legislation I do not believe that it will be as effective as the Government claims that it will be. This issue must be fought in the open. The honorable member for Lyne spoke about the loss of coal production. Did he not read in the newspapers that employees in the motor car manufacturing industry in the United States of America were on strike for weeks in a fight for the provision of certain pension rights upon their retirement from the industry? They returned to work a few days ago after having gained recognition of those rights. During that strike the loss of production in the industry was tremendous. But the Government of the United States of America did not blame the Communists for that strike, and it did not seek to ban the Communist party on that ground.
In introducing this measure the Government has one purpose only and that is to rid the trade unions of officials who are Communists. Immediately the bill is assented to by the GovernorGeneral the Communist party will be dissolved and its assets will be taken over by a receiver on behalf of the Government. The Government will then commence to implement the various provisions of the measure.First, any person who has been a member of the Communist party during the last two years can be declared. Next, the Government can proclaim the Waterside Workers Federation, the Seamen’s Union or any other union to be a declared organization. At that stage a person who has been declared will be prohibited from holding office in an organization that has been declared; and any declared person who attempts to act as an officer of a declared organization will be liable to a fine or imprisonment. The real purpose of this measure is to safeguard the community against persons who preach Marxian doctrines and persons who are considered to be danngerous to the community. The bill also provides that a declared person cannot engage, or continue to engage, in Government employment. I am at a loss to know to what degree that provision will apply to employees of State governments, particu larly officers of departments that are partly Commonwealth departments and partly State departments. That point will have to be cleared up. Under the provisions to which I have already referred the Government will act within its rights. However, whilst I do not oppose the measure, the Government should ensure that no injustice willbe done to any person under it. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) said that it would be a defence for an accused person simply to declare that he was not a Communist and was not a member of any association under Communist control, and that the court would accept such a defence as proof of innocence. However, thebill, in fact, goes further than that. Of course, we do not know how the Government will obtain the information upon which it will act under this measure. All that we have been told is that any person who has been a member of the Communist party during the last two years or who is a member of any organization covered by this measure will be declared. He will then have the right to appear before a High Court justice to prove that he is not either a Communist or a member of a declared organization. If he is able to prove to the satisfaction of the High Court that he is not a Communist or a person who should be declared he will be free to accept office in a declared organization.
My experience of the Communist party has shown that if a Communist official in an organization is removed from office he is replaced by another. The Communist party always has a substitute under cover about whom nothing is known. The Government will not be able to take action under this legislation against the substitute unless it is satisfied that he is either a Communist or a member of a declared organization. Whilst I appreciate the good intentions of the Government in introducing this measure to curb the activities of those who are obstructing the progress of this country, I deprecate the manner in which it has set about its task. I have no love for the Communists. Whilst they may advocate some of the principles in which I believe, and in which honorable members opposite also believe, they are expounders of a philosophy which is alien to the Australian Labour party and the other great political parties in this country. As has been stated very dearly in the preamble to this bill they are opposed to our way of life. Some years ago the Communists were fond of using the phrase “ the dictatorship of the militant minority “. Some time ago a gentleman told me that there was in existence in my electorate a group of Communists which included many men who were in the poorest of circumstances. He said to me, “ You need not worry as long as men of that kind control the affairs of the Communist party but you will need to worry when educated men are attracted to their ranks “. The Communists have abandoned the use of the phrase “ The dictatorship of the militant minority “ in favour of some expression which sets out their aims and objectives in less forthright language. Their aims and objectives, however, remain unaltered. I am sure that if they gained control of this country they would give me scant consideration. I should be immediately cast into the discard and probably be forced to work where I did not want to work and thus be kept out of the way. They would treat the great bulk of honorable members on this side of the House in a similar fashion. Some time ago I was approached by a man who said to me, “ Thompson, I want to warn you. A Communist group is holding a meeting close by my home. I overheard the remarks of several speakers. Your life is in danger “. [ replied, “Do not worry, old man; one thing that will stop them is the fear of the penalty in which they would be involve ! if they attacked me “. The Communists in this country are pledged to the same revolutionary methods as have been adopted by Communists in other countries. If they could destroy our democratic institutions without fear of the consequences, they would unhesitatingly do so. Their philosophy is based on the principle of sole dictatorship by the Communist party and they regard any means as justifying that end.
I do not think that I could state my attitude to communism more plainly than I have already done. I do not believe that this bill will cure the evil of communism in our midst. I trust that the Government will be able to curb the activities of the Communists and whilst I am prepared to support this attempt by the Government to dissolve the Communist party, I claim that the methods which it proposes to adopt should be strictly in accordance with the ordinary practices of democracy. Honorable members opposite cannot claim that they are doing anything to promote the interests of democracy if, in their attempt to curbthe activities of the Communists, they reject the very tenets and principles upon which this democracy has been founded. Any abandonment of the ordinary principles of British justice must inevitably react against the success of this legislation. If the Government adhered to the accepted principle that the onus of proof of the commission of an offence should rest on the Crown the people would rally to its support in this attempt to rid Australia of its Communist enemies. Instead of doing so the Government proposes to establish a system of inquisition which is a negation of the principles of justice accepted in all British countries. Clause 20 of the bill provides that an authorized person may, if need be by force, and with such assistance as is necessary, break open, enter and search any house, premises or place in which he suspects ‘that there is any property of, or document or papers relating to, an unlawful association, and may search any person found in the house, premises or place and take possession of any property, book or books which the authorized person is satisfied belong to that association. It will be observed that this power is to be vested, not in a Minister of the Crown but in an authorized person. An authorized person is denned as -
A peace officer appointed under the Peace Officers’ Act 1925 or a person declared by the Attorney-General to be an authorized person for the purposes of this act.
As honorable members know, many hundreds of peace officers were appointed during the war to carry out guard duties at munitions establishments. All of them will come within the category of “ authorized persons “ under this legislation. A peace officer who has a grudge against another man might say to him, “ I suspect that you have Communist literature in your house. I propose to search it.” He would be authorized to break open, enter and search the man’s house and to search any person found in the house. To vest such wide powers in the hundreds of peace officers scattered throughout this country would be the grossest folly. That is one of the weaknesses of this legislation to which honorable members opposite might well devote their attention. As we know, members of the police forces of the Commonwealth exercise very wide powers, but no police officer may break open, enter and search any premises without first having obtained a warrant to do so. Such a warrant is issued only if the police officer concerned has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the house is being used for improper purposes or to provide sanctuary for a person who has broken the law. Such a safeguard has not been provided in this bill. Instead the Government has adopted the Russian Communist technique about which it has complained so much.
Reference has been made in this debate to the visit of Mr. Maloney to Russia as Australian Minister in Moscow. His predecessor, Mr. Slater, had with him Mr. Duncan, as a liaison between the Australian trade unions and trade unions in Russia. He furnished me with full information concerning conditions in Russia long before Mr. Maloney returned to this country. Mr. Duncan described Russian communism as the absolute negation of everything for which the Australian Labour movement stands. Notwithstanding that, honorable members opposite have persistently claimed that there is a link between the Australian Labour party and the Communist party. Do honorable members opposite seriously believe that if such a link existed I should continue my membership of the Australian Labour party? I agree that the Government has a mandate to give effect to its election promise to deal with the Communist party in this country, but I urge it to observe in any legislation having that purpose a proper regard for the rights and privileges of the individual. I am well aware that if the Communists serized control of this country the rights of the individual would be completely lost. We claim to be a democratic country and we should not sully our democracy by emulating the example of Russia.
In discussing this bill I have endeavoured to avoid personalities. I believe that honorable members opposite are imbued with a desire to do the right thing. If they can effectively curb the activities of the Communists and prevent known Communists from influencing the decisions of industrial organizations, they will do much to foster the progress and prosperity of this country. We are prepared to assist them to curb the activities of the Communists, but only if their legislative proposals conform strictly to the principle of the preservation of the liberties and rights of the individual.
.- It has been refreshing to hear some of the utterances of the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson). After listening to some of the contributions to this debate made by Opposition members one would think that we were playing some sort of game and that this bill had something to do with the banning of the playing of marbles ot some similar minor sport. In order to gain a proper perspective of the menace of communism we must turn our thoughts to the recital of facts contained in the preamble to the bill. This measure deals with a most serious menace and its provisions will, no doubt, have an effect on posterity and the Australian way of life. Tt is essential that we should know and fully appreciate the reasons for the introduction of this measure. They are set out very clearly in the preamble, one of the paragraphs of which reads as follows : -
And whereas the Australian Communist party, in accordance with the basic theory of communism as expounded by Marx and Lenin, engages in activities or operations designed to assist or accelerate the coming of a revolutionary situation, in which the Australian Communist party, acting as a revolutionary minority, would be able to seize power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat:
Those serious words should be weighed very carefully in order to discern whether the views to which they give expression are true or false. But more serious still, the Australian Communist party engages vi activities of a violent nature that are designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system of government in Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices. The preamble to the bill states -
Whereas the Australian Communist Party is an integral part of the world Communist revolutionary movement which, in the King’s dominions and elsewhere, engages in espionage and sabotage and in activities or operations of a treasonable or subversive nature and also engages in activities or operations similar to those or having an object similar to the object of those, referred to in the last two preceding paragraphs of this preamble.
I have been waiting to hear what honorable members opposite have to say about this preamble. I want to know whether they believe these statements! that are set out here and what their thoughts are in regard to them. Is the preamble to this bill a statement of fact or is it false? If it is a statement of fact then it is very necessary that this bill should be regarded as a measure which has been designed to deal with a great emergency in the community. If it is false then it deserves to be rejected. Honorable members on this side of the House believe - and I am sure that the majority of honorable members opposite believe - that every word and every phrase in the preamble to this bill is absolutely and positively correct. Many of the honorable gentlemen opposite have spent a long time in fighting against communism and they must be aware that all that has been said in the preamble is absolutely correct. If it is correct communism is a danger and a menace, not only to the Australian way of life, but also to the existence of every individual in this community. Therefore, this talk about, not creeping into the house of a suspected Communist and looking through his papers and thi9 talk about protecting the Communist because he holds a high office in a trade union and must be given every possible facility becomes so much poppycock and nonsense, and it is time that honorable members fixed their eyes on the main objectives and faced the problem, because if they fail to face it to-day to-morrow will be too late. There can be no compromise with Communists, for they are not even now compromising with the Government. Is it possible to believe that even at this late hour of the evening the Communists are at home, sleeping safely in their beds, with pure minds and un9oiled hands? Somewhere, some of them are planning against this nation. They do not compromise with the Government and the Government cannot compromise with them. They would not give the Government the benefit of the doubt. They would not say, “ Oh, well, we shall be tolerant. We shall accept you in good faith. We shall observe the common decencies of free men “. If they give way or appear to give way on any -issue it is only to allay suspicion so that they may work and increase their strength against the day when they can strike, and when they strike they will strike hard. They make no distinction. There is no shading of belief so far as they are concerned. I remember reading of somebody having said that the Communist doctrine was akin to the teachings of Christ. If there is one of the utterances of the Master they believe in it is this: he that is not with Me is against Me. They say, “ If you are not a Communist you are a fascist, a stooge or a reactionary and, as such, you have no rights and no hope and no identity above the lower animals. Your fate is to be consigned to the outer darkness without hope or cheer “. The Communist, because of his doctrines and the inflexible rule that governs him, cannot be a good anything; he cannot be a good Australian, a good American, a good Canadian, a good Christian or a good citizen because he is bound inflexibly by the rule of his bosses overseas. These are very hard words, but there are many reasons I could give for uttering them. My statements are not based upon the mere flutterings of a scared mind, the algebraic sum of all suspicious utterances. Many people have heard the rumours that have clustered during the last ten or so years round the name of communism. I do not speak from the flaccid testimony of the timid nor from the florid contentions of the Communist who has turned betrayer, nor from -the haphazard beliefs of the ill-informed. There is no need to hear these mumblings, much less to analyse them for sense of credibility or good or evil intent. The case against communism can be proved from
Communist text books, from their own utterances, their own deeds and the practices they put into effect not only throughout this community but also throughout the world. They deal in treachery and deceit and are masters of mob psychology and they clamour for the day when they shall involve the world in Moody revolution. Treachery, deceit and revolution appear on page after page of their books. These they preach and practise as their aim and their ambition. They show how to fascinate a person and how to ensnare someone in their coils. It is a sliming process, a crushing process and, finally, a swallowing process. Many countries have been swallowed up behind the Iron Curtain. Communists pretend to be nothing else but what they ;are and their policy is to set up in any “victim state traitor cells which will work <ta govern the lives of the men, women and children in that community. They make in® pretence about that. Their books are in” every library. Their story is told daily. There is no pretence about it. They go on fascinating this one, ensnaring that one, and crushing somebody else until inevitably comes the final drastic swallow.
Honorable members opposite have read, perhaps more than I have, of this sort of thing and they must believe my statements. They know that the Communists’ one aim is world domination through revolution and that their babble of justice for the under-dog and the romancing which they indulge in over the rights of man within a community are all part of the sliming process. They make no pretence about it. The nations must all be swallowed up and destroyed and come under the domination of the Communists’ world-wide revolutionary force.
Realizing, as they must, the seriousness of the situation, what is the attitude of honorable members of the Opposition to this bill? Honorable members opposite who have spent years in fighting communism, instead of talking as they should have of this menace, have babbled about the rights of man. They have babbled about the sanctity of the nome of some Communist. It is very easy- to imagine that there would be dupes outside this House who would fall into the snare of communism, but it is very hard to believe that here, in this House, men have said what the Communists must have been delighted to hear them say. They have played into the Communists’ hands because they are playing the Communists’ game. They are doing what the Communists want them to do, whether wittingly or not. Other honorable members opposite who ought to speak on this measure may remain silent. I leave that to their consciences. I believe it is a dreadful thing not to speak when one should - not to condemn when there is something which needs condemnation. I have had some fine talks with Australian Workers Union men on various stations and it was their proud boast that they were men who stood against communism and that their president and secretary fought the Communists wherever they found them. They had gone into the staging camps, the shearing sheds and the cane-fields and had fought Communists wherever they found them, and their leaders had set an example. A couple of honorable members of the Opposition hold very exalted positions in the Australian Workers Union. One has spoken and I hope that the other will speak. I wonder how my friends on the cane-fields and along the roads and the people to whom I spoke who were very proud of their Australian Workers Union leaders will feel when they read in the press of the weak and timid arguments that have been put forward in this House by these men.
I listened yesterday to an excellent speech by the right honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway), whom I believe to be a most capable gentleman. Yet, despite his intelligence, ability and long experience in politics, we find, upon examining his record, that he is the man who, playing into the hands of the Communists, perhaps unwittingly, once said that he rejoiced in the acceptance of the Marxist policy by the Labour party. In November, 1939, after World War TI. had commenced, he also joined prominently in the chorus that was conducted from Moscow calling for peace so that communism could be allowed to grow. I believe also that the same right honorable gentleman on one occasion wrote with his own hand, “ Long live the Russian revolution “. He is the gentleman to whom full credit mud bo given for this infamous statement that has appeared over his name -
If I were to permit myself to be drawn into a philosophical discussion, I could show that every aim of the Communist movement throughout the world is based on the teachings of Christ.
An organization that can get hold of a man of his education, ability and experience and use him as its tool must be dangerous to the whole community. The time has come for members of the Opposition to put themselves onside on this issue so that their actions will accord with the dictates of their consciences and they may speak as true Australians instead of with their tongues in their cheeks.
T should like to see every member of the Opposition to-day display the determination, and calmness of purpose that were exhibited by a Labour Government during the war when it attacked the Australia First Movement. There was no talk by the Labour party then about not entering bedrooms in the middle of the night and putting men in gaol without any right of appeal. Innocent men were imprisoned, and only the most strenuous efforts of the anti-Labour parties brought about the appointment of a royal commission to inquire into the circumstances of their detention. I believe that the Communists provided the evidence upon which those men were flung into gaol. On the issue that we are now considering, we have plenty of evidence from the same source to support the Government’s proposal. The Communists have condemned themselves over and over again in their books and pamphlets and in their public utterances. Some people are so blind that they cannot see the truth. Let us be realistic Some people may claim that, because of our distance from the centre of events and the possibility of inaccurate newspaper reports, the recent spy disclosures in Great Britain should be discounted. They may also dismiss similar disclosures in Canada and the United States of America. But, if we put those revelations out of our minds, we must also discard all the stories that are told to us about wonderful achievements in Russia. Those people cannot have it both ways. Either both sides are true or both sides are false. There is still time for members of the Opposition to read once more the books that they must already have read over and over again, books that must have impressed indelibly upon their minds the horrible significance of the existence in our midst of the Australian Communist party, this dreadful cancer that is eating into the nation and threatening not only the present generation of Australians but also* posterity. They should study the facts, anew and defend the beliefs that they have held over the years. They should support the Government on this issuewith all the power at their command, and I remind them that their influence in this community is considerable. With their support, we need no longer fear that Australia will suffer the fate of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland and! we could say unanimously, “Australia must be saved for posterity”. Ten years ago, the countries that I have mentioned were free states enjoying sovereign rights. Their peoples lived in freedom according to their beliefs. Let it never be on the conscience of any free man or woman living in Australia to-day that Australia should fall as they have fallen. This is a vital issue. Let us face flue facts and unite to make Australia free for posterity.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Bum) adjourned.
Electoral : Liberal Party PreSelection - Communism - The Parliament : Standing Orders.
Motion (by Mr. Holt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
..- T refer to a subject that was raised in this House by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) in a question that he asked on Tuesday, the 2nd May. In the question, which was directed to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the honorable member referred to the selection of a Liberal party candidate for th New South Wales State electorate of Waverley to oppose the present N*w
South. Wales Attorney-General, Mr. Martin. The honorable member for Watson referred to the candidate who had been chosen as a well-known Communist. At the time, his remarks touched a chord in my memory, and I was horrified to discover, upon my return to Sydney at the end of the week, that the gentleman concerned was none other than Mr. Ross McKinnon, who is well known to Australians as an international footballer and who also is an ex-serviceman of some repute. In the circumstances, I consider that I should refute completely the imputation against him that was contained in the question asked by the honorable member for Watson. I believe that the honorable member could not have had Mr. McKinnon in mind. I have known Mr. McKinnon for some years, and others who are acquainted with him will agree with me when I say that it would be an absolute and utter absurdity to imply that he was a Communist. I trust that the House will accept my statement that he is by no means a Communist.
– Having regard to the fact that I apparently repeated what was said by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin), I wish to make it clear to the House that Mr. Ross McKinnon was not the man to whom I referred. The endorsed candidate of the Liberal party that I had in mind was a man named Hurley. I said that the man who was first selected as candidate was a Communist insofar as his industrial activities were concerned. His name is Hurley, and my statement was correct. I also said that the Liberal party withdrew its endorsement of this man within a few days, when it realized what had happened. My statement was intended to show how little attention was paid by the Liberal party to the activities of its candidate. It made a bad mistake. I did not say anything against Mr. Ross McKinnon, nor, I think, did the honorable member for Watson. We wished only to direct the attention of the House to the carelessness of the Liberal party in selecting its candidates and to show how dangerous it would be if honorable gentlemen opposite were allowed to exercise the power that will be conferred upon the Government if a measure that is now under discussion is passed.
– I had not intended to speak on the motion for the adjournment of the House, hut 1 feel that perhaps some confusion may have been caused in the minds of honorable members by the fact that Mr. Clarrie Martin, the endorsed Labour candidate for the Waverley seat in the New South Wales Parliament at the next State general election, and who is also the sitting member and the Attorney-General in the New South Wales Government, has himself in the past had considerable Communist affiliations. I am prepared, if necessary, to produce documentary evidence to support that statement. When Mr. Martin re-entered the New South Wales Parliament in, I think, 1939, after an absence of some years, having previously been the member for Young, he did so under the active patronage of the Communist party and in opposition to the selected and endorsed Labour candidate. He subsequently paid off by being associated with prominent Communist speakers in the Domain in the early months of 1940. That was a time when, one would have thought, any loyal Australian would have wanted to dissociate himself as far as possible from Australian Communists who were the agents of Russia, which at that time was in active alliance with our enemy, Hitler.
Government Members. - Hear, hear!
-Order ! There is no need for an ovation.
– I take advantage of this opportunity to refer to the selection of a Liberal party candidate for the Waverley seat in the New South Wales Parliament. What I have heard in this chamber from day to day about communism has made me feel rather ill. The honora’ble member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) must have been touched by a very red sun at one period of his life and suffered a stroke that has resulted in a form of Communist paralysis. He can talk of nothing hut communism. During the last general election campaign honorable members opposite tried to influence the people in their favour by uttering, parrot-like, cries of “Labour and communism “. -Soon after the general election, a ballot was held to select a Liberal party candidate to contest the Waverley seat, which is now held by Mr. Clarrie Martin, the Attorney-General in ohe New South Wales Government. Lo and behold, a well-known trade unionist who was noted for his communistic activities was selected. After a few days the security service of which Mr. Menzies has boasted so much-
– Order ! The honorable member for Watson must refer to the right honorable gentleman as the Prime Minister.
– The Prime Minister has boasted of the efficiency of the security service, but in this chamber he had to excuse-
– Order ! The honor able member must not refer to a matter that is the subject of a bill before the House.
– The security service discovered that the endorsed Liberal party candidate, a man named Hurley, was an active Communist in trade union circles, whereupon he was very quietly dropped. The press, which at all times is very active in castigating members of the Labour party in this and other Australian parliaments for their alleged Communist activities, was conspicuous by its silence in regard to that matter. I desire it to be recorded in Hansard that the Liberal party selected a well-known Communist to contest the Waverley seat on its behalf at the forthcoming New South Wales State general election.
.- I rise only to reply to the vile and unparliamentary insinuations that have been made by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). One of the most deplorable features of this Parliament has been the constant attacks that have been made upon persons outside the Parliament. The attacks can be described only as attempted character assassination. They have been directed against persons who occupy high positions in the community and who have held them with honour for years. They have been made by an honorable gentleman who should know better, having regard to his associations and education. The vile insinuation that he has made to-night does little credit to him as a member of this House or to the party to which he belongs. The Honorable Clarrie Martin occupies one of the highest positions in New South Wales. He re-entered the New South Wales Parliament in 1939. He has distinguished himself in every sphere of activity in which he has engaged. He has won the commendation and support of an increasing number of the electors of Waverley. The speech of the honorable member for Mackellar is a further indication, if one were needed, that if a man of his warped mentality were ever in a position to administer the provisions of the measure that the Government has introduced it would be a sorry day for the people of this country.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. I believe that I am entitled to direct the attention of the House to the fact that I made no vile insinuations. I said that Mr. Martin had associated with Communists. That was not an insinuation, but a statement that I am willing to prove. If it be true, it is not my statement but the conduct of Mr. Martin that is vile.
– Order ! The honorable member for Mackellar rose to make a personal explanation. He must not refer to Mr. Clarrie Martin or to any other Martin.
– I have made no insinuations. I have only stated facts.
.- The only comment that I have to make upon the unfortunate remarks of the honorable member for Mackellar (M. Wentworth) is that Mr. Martin served in New Guinea. This gentleman is an ex-serviceman. The Government parties have formed an association of exservicemen to protect ex-servicemen in general. It protects them, both in their characters and in their careers. If a charge that a man has been associated with leftist activities is bandied about, then some protection should be afforded to the person charged. I make that comment to members of the Government parties, who should realize that this gentleman, who was not a youth at the time, did what he could in New Guinea during the war. I comment that such a character assassination is one of the Communist lines of attack. Some protection from attack should be afforded to persons who ar,e not members of this House. Honorable members -can protect themselves inside the House. This gentleman has bean maligned in the House and I leave it to his fellow ex-servicemen on the Government side to giro him some protection. :Mt. WARD (East Sydney) [11.21].- Mr. Speaker, I desire to raise the matter of a reflection upon my conduct in this chamber arising out of jour .decision this evening. I have held the belief that every honorable member of this House lias the right at any time to direct your attention to the fact that the number of members which the Constitution stipulates shall be present while the business of the House is being conducted, is not present. *The Constitution provides that a quorum shall be one-third of the total number of representatives, or 41 members. This evening, upon counting the members in the House, I found that there were 87. T believe mat the ‘Government, having a large majority, should keep the requisite number in the House so that all its business will be properly considered and discussion will be conducted in a proper manner. At that time you -were in. con.vei-ea.tion with an honorable mem.ber and were unaware of the fact that I had called for a quorum until you asked me lie nature -of the motion that I desired to submit. I again directed your attention to the state -of the House. When you made the count you decided that a quorum was present. I noticed then that since I “had raised the matter a number of members had entered the House. You accepted my statement to that effect and said- that as there was some doubt you were prepared to give me the benefit of it. The point t at I raise is concerned with the . interpretation of the Standing Orders, because you directed, before you had decided that the benefit of the doubt should he given to me, that under Standing Order 363 I should be asked to leave the chamber and remain out of it during the remainder of the sitting. I have since studied the relevant standing order and have found that it refers to “ grossly disorderly “ conduct. I fail to see how, even under the widest interpretation, my conduct in merely calling attention to the state of the House when 1 honestly behead that a .quorum was not present, could ‘be regarded as being grossly disorderly. If this matter is not corrected it may be generally -believed ;by people who ‘have studied the Standing Orders that I was guilty of s&me grossly disorderly conduct. In my opinion that standing -order was intended to -deal with a menner who might enter the chamber in a drunken condition and actually become -grossly disorderly. I believe that it was never intended to deal with the situation that occured this evening. Therefore, it is my opinion -that you should reconsider your proposed -action, because I understand .that one of my colleagues was escorted from the House this afternoon after a somewhat similar occurrence.
You also indicated that in .the future when a member had Deen suspended ‘he must leave the precincts of. the House, and -amongst the facilities that you said would not be available to him were the billiard-room, the “bar, and the party rooms. Deprivation of the use of the bar would not worry me at all because I am not a frequenter of it, hut at the same time in raising the point, I ask whether it is not .a fact that the ‘bar happens to be on the Senate side, and that, before denying that amenity to an honorable member, you would have to consult Mr. President. I say that because I believe that you would not De in charge of that side of Parliament House. However, I consider that no honorable member of this House, merely for exercising his rights, should have those facilities barred to him. Such a ban could be used as a form of intimidation to prevent honorable members from drawing attention to the state of the House so that its business might he conducted in a proper fashion. I resent -very much the fact that you used against me the standing order which refers to “‘grossly disorderly” conduct, of which, I consider, T was not guilty.
.- In regard to Ae matter referred to by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward)., I desire to -confirm that part of his statement which referred to the state of the House. At that time the honorable member was in conversation with me, and it was clearly obvious that sufficient members were not present to constitute a quorum..
– Only seven Opposition members were present.
– It was obvious that a quorum was not present because we counted the members, and it is quite clear that when one can count past ten a certain conclusion can be reached. We performed that operation which is usually done when one counts members; one starts to count and goes on. At that time there were 37 members in the House. The honorable member for East Sydney thereupon raised the point that a quorum was not present. I rise to confirm what he said in that regard because in a matter of this nature confirmation is sometimes required. I do not say anything- about the point of order, because that is for you to determine, Mr. Speaker, but I do confirm what he has said in regard to the quorum.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have listened to what the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has said, and in reply I inform him that the Constitution provides that a quorum is necessary to conduct the business of the House. I do not call attention to the lack of a quorum unless that is the state of the House when I take the chair at the commencement of a sitting. I shall always assure myself that a quorum is present before I read prayers to the House. Once the House has been formed it has the responsibility of ensuring that quorum is present. This responsibility devolves as much upon the Opposition as upon the Government, because the obvious conclusion is that if the Opposition is not interested in keeping a House then it is not interested in opposing the legislation that the Government brings before the House. That seems to be only fair horse sense. So far as calling for quorums is concerned, I am an old hand in the Parliament. I am not a novice, and I know how benches are emptied. I watch the benches from here and I have seen on more than one occasion certain things occurring. I have been in opposition myself and there are very few standing orders through which I do not know the way. Therefore, I am able to speak with some actual experience of such matters. It is not a fair thing to- interrupt an honorable member who is addressing the House, even a thin House, simply for the purpose of calling- for a quorum when- a quorum is actually present. If an honorable member believes that a quorum is not present he has the responsibility of satisfying himself that such is the case before he calls attention to the state of the House.
I have had the experience several times since I came to the chair, in fact I had it a few days after assuming office, of having to count the House and finding that there was a quorum and a few members to spare. I do. not propose to allow such incidents to. continue, and if honorable members take the responsibility of calling for a quorum and it is found that there is a quorum in the House then I propose to put into force what I believe to he- s fair interpretation of the Standing Orders. The honorable member for East Sydney has referred to the bar. I have not met him over there myself, and I am prepared to accept his assurance- that h& does not go there any more than I do, I say this to all honorable, membersthese facilities come under the House of Representatives as much as under the Senate and if we are to have a state of affairs under which an honorable member can disobey the rules of this House, be suspended from the service of the House, and yet have the use of all the facilities and amenities which are a part of the House, then it is just too silly to suspend him at all. That is my view, and that is the policy that I shall carry out until such time as the House rules otherwise.
– Can you forbid a member to use the bar without the consent of Mr. President ?
– We shall fight that out, if necessary.
– In such a fight the weight would be against you.
– Weight does not always prevail. Sometimes science is a deciding factor. I simply say that that is the ruling I shall give. If the House does not like that ruling it can rule otherwise, because, after all, the House is the superior authority. If the President of the Senate decided to act against a ruling that I had given here - and I do not suggest that he would do so - that matter would have to be resolved at the proper time and in the proper place. However, I assure the honorable gentleman that that is the line that I have decided to take. I have not arrived at the decision hastily, and I hope that in future when quorums are called for there will not be any incidents.
.- I intended to take up with the Standing Orders Committee the interpretation of Standing Order 301, because I believe that the Standing Orders Committee, or those honorable members who were responsible for incorporating this particular standing order in the Standing Orders of this House that have been adopted, never intended that it should be used in any cavalier fashion to deal with members when there, was a state of disorder in the House. This standing order was originally adopted from the Standing Orders of the British House of Commons. It is designed to deal with very rare cases of grave disorder on the part of a member, when a member might completely lose control of himself and resort to abuse of the Speaker or any other member of the House. It was designed in the House of Commons to deal with such a case because it took a deal longer there to have a division in consequence of a member’s conduct. In fact, there were incidents when a member not only lost control of himself but also threatened to attack the Speaker. It was for the purpose of dealing speedily with a member who had completely lost control of himself that that standing order was incorporated. The following is a relevant extract from May’s Parliamentary Practice: -
When, however, a Member conducts himself in a grossly disorderly manner- and I suggest that talking during a division is not gross disorderly conduct- the Speaker is enjoined by Standing Order No. 19, instead of merely calling the offender to order, forthwith to order him to withdraw from the House, or, if he thinks the authority and dignity of the House would not be sufficiently vindicated by excluding the offender from the House for the remainder of the sitting, either to name him or to call upon the House to adjudge upon his conduct.
Thus, when, after the Prime Minister had replied to a question regarding the treatment of certain political offenders, a Member loft his seat below the gangway, and, walking to the end of the ministerial bench above the gangway, addressed the Prime Minister in grossly discourteous terms, the Speaker at once ordered him to withdraw from the House.
Again, a Member who used insulting language to the Speaker from beyond the bar or to the Chairman during the progress of a division, and a Member who seized the maro and carried it away from the table, have been named for grossly disorderly conduct.
May’s Parliamentary Practice makes it very clear that this is an emergency power given to the Speaker to deal with a member who has gone berserk and is absolutely uncontrollable. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to give deep consideration to this aspect of the Standing Orders. I suggest that such a threat of summarily putting an honorable member out of the House should not be held over the membership of the House. I agree that circumstances might arise when that might be necessary, but I think that it would be entirely humiliating both to an honorable member and to the good name of the House if, in circumstances that did not warrant treatment of that description, this threat was carried into actual practice. Honorable members could be debarred from the House simply by being told to “ Get out “ without the House adjudging on their conduct. We on this side of the House take a serious view of this matter, and I suggest that our views should be considered. If you, Mr. Speaker, cannot see your way clear to give a more liberal interpretation of the standing order, I think that the Standing Orders Committee should be called together to consider the matter.
– If the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) cares to ask for a meeting of the Standing Orders Committee he can have it. In the meantime my decision stands. Of course, the House is always at liberty to upset it.
Mr. JEFF BATE (Macarthur) [11.371. - T think the question of whether the unfortunate person who was selected by the Liberal party to contest the State seat of Waverley, and afterwards resigned, is a Communist, should be again dealt with, in fairness to the gentleman concerned. There has been a lot of talk about character assassination-
– Order ! The honorable member is referring to something that was said in debate last night and which is not now under discussion.
– I apologize. However, I feel- that within the “” coward’s castle “ of the Parliament-
– Order ! The honorable member should not refer to the Parliament in that way.
– I apologize for that, too, but I should like to say that if it goes out that the gentleman concerned was a Communist, an injustice may be done.
– I rise to order. The present Liberal candidate for Waverley
– What is the point of order?
– That is it.
-The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) will resume his seat. He has not raised a point of order.
– Two members of the House, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) and the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Gordon Anderson) have stated a person - to remain unnamed - who was selected by the Liberal party as a candidate for the State seat of Waverley, was a Communist. The honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) has said that the. person was not Mr. Ross McKinnon-
– I rise to order. Mr. Ross McKinnon-
– No point of order is involved.
– This is a propaganda speech.
– Order ! The honorable member for Watson will resume his seat.
– The honorable member for .St. George said that that did not refer to Mr. Ross McKinnon. His assertion was borne out by the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith. Only one person can be involved, namely, the gentleman who was selected prior to Mr. Ross McKinnon-
– Tell us his name.
– There is no need to mention his name.
– Tell us about him.
– Order ! The honorable member for Watson has already spoken, and should not interject now.
– If I do not make this point, the statement may go out unchallenged at a time when great care should be exercised in naming Communists under the cover of parliamentary privilege. The House should not adjourn to-night without a doubt being raised. I believe that the gentleman concerned was a trade unionist, and that his name might have been used by Communists at some time or other. He might have appeared on the Communist platform, but on fewer occasions than have many other people about whom we could speak, although we shall not do so at this moment. However, because of that, two honorable members have said that he is a Communist. I believe that if they cannot produce documentary evidence to prove it, they should apologize, to the House and to the person concerned - -
– What about the onus of proof now?
– Order !
– I do not know the gentleman in question, but I raise this matter because we have been asked to be moderate, and to exercise great care in naming Communists. The honorable member for Watson and the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith should be asked to prove the statement that that man is a Communist. f.f they cannot do so, they should apologize to him and to the House for having made that statement under the cover of parliamentary privilege.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Appointment
Certificate - R. G. Reeves.
Commonwealth Pv hlic Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Commerce and Agriculture - K. 0. D. Davis.
Works and Housing - A. N. Duff-Gordon, H. L. Jones, L. L. Simon.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 21.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - Regulations -
Statutory Rules 1950, No. 20.
House adjourned at 11.42 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
D asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
What was the passenger load factor carried by the following airline operators: -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 46.4 per cent., total 46.7 per cent. Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited - Paying 62.7 per cent., total 63.8 per cent.
Trans-Australia Airlines - Paying 64.3 per cent., total 65.1 per cent.
For the six months ended 31st December, 1949-
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 39.0 per cent., total 39.3 per cent. Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited - Paying 58.6 per cent., total 59.6 per cent. Trans-Australia Airlines - Paying 60.7 per cent., total 61.6 per cent.
For the three months ended 31st December, 1949-
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 42.5 per cent., total 42.7 per cent.
Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited - Paying 59.9 per cent, total 60.9 per cent.
Trans-Australia Airlines - Paying 62.3 per cent., total 63.0 per cent.
In the case of Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited, the passenger load factor is related to D.C.3 type aircraft with a capacity of 28 seats, whilst in the case of Trans-Australia Airlines and Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited, the D.G.3 type aircraft which those companies operate have in the main, a capacity of 21 seats and 24 seats respectively.
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 75,512, total 75,764.
Australian National Airways Proprietary
Limited- Paying 589,277, total 598,989.
Trans-Australia Airlines - Paying 499,354. total 505,676.
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 33,195, total 33,366.
Australian National Airways Proprietary
Limited- Paying 277,992, total 282,556.
Trans- Australia Airlines - Paying 247,292. total 250,970.
For the three months ended 31st December. 1949-
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Paying 18,658, total 18,699.
Australian National Airways Proprietary
Limited - Paying 145,558, total 147,986.
Trans-Australia Airlines - Paying 128.281. total 129,857.
Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited -
Four Douglas D.C.3, one Lockheed Electra (not airworthy since 24th August. 1949).
Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited - Seven Douglas D.C.4. 25 Douglas D.C.3, two D.H.89.
Trans-Australia Airlines - Three Douglas
D.C.4, five Convairs, nineteen Douglas
D.C.3, four D.H. 84.
t- On the 27th April the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked me a series of questions relative to the conditions under which surveyors who have obtained their qualifications in other countries may practise in Australia. I now inform the honorable member as follows : -
The conditions vary from State to State, but each State has a Surveyors’ Act which provides for the setting up of a Board for the registration of surveyors. In New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, the act requires the registration of land surveyors, and this includes all branches of surveying. In Queensland, hydrographic, mining and engineering surveyors are not covered by legislation and are free to practise without restriction. In South Australia, the act applies to land and marine surveyors; the
Western Australian to land, mining and hydrographic. In all States except Tasmania, applicants for registration must be Britishborn or naturalized British subjects.
The position as regards the recognition of overseas qualifications is given below -
New South Wales. - There is no recognition of overseas qualifications and, regardless of degrees or experience, it would be necessary for any migrant to serve four years’ Articles in New South Wales and pass the Registration Board’s .examination.
Victoria. - Certain qualifications of a high order might be accepted by the Board, but a period under Articles in local conditions would be necessary. In other cases, the applicant would have to complete a four-year period of indentures with a registered surveyor or take the degree course at the university.
Queensland. - The Board has the power to decide whether the qualifications of the applicant are equivalent to Queensland standard and whether the applicant must pass further examinations before registration will be granted. The training period is four years either under Articles or at the university.
South Australia. - Reciprocity exists only with New Zealand, but registration in a British dominion would, in most cases, assure licensing under the State act provided the applicant satisfied the Board of his ability to practise under local conditions. No foreign qualifications are known to be acceptable to the Board, and a migrant would have to be articled to a registered surveyor for four years and pass the Board’s examination.
Western Australia. - All migrants must produce qualifications as licensed surveyors and evidence that such qualifications still aTe and have been in force over th« past six (6) months and they would also be required to pass some examination set by the Board.
Tasmania. - The Board decides whether the qualifications of the migrant, British or foreign, are equivalent in standard to the Tasmanian. Further experience and training way be prescribed and examinations required.
There is a shortage of qualified surveyors throughout Australia at the present time, and the possibility of having restrictions eased oil the entry of qualified migrant workers into this profession, as well as a number of others, is being examined by my Departments of Labour and National Service and Immigration. The matter is obviously within the competence of State Parliaments, and it is natural that the public should be protected. While I suppose the principles of surveying are fairly standard, -each country has its laws relating, «.g., -to property, and clearly these must be thoroughly mastered before a surveyor from overseas could practise here.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are a? follows : -
. The announcement to which the honorable member refers has not come to my notice.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
z asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
All factors relating to the introduction of television into the Commonwealth are now under investigation by the Government including the participation of private enterprise in the provision of the service and the practicability of its extension to country areas. As soon as the policy has been determined a public announcement will be made on the matter.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport has supplied the following information : -
The Commonwealth Government has decided to import a limited quantity of coal from overseas by arrangement with the Victorian and South Australian Governments. A similar quantity of coal which would normally be received by those States as their sales share of New South Wales production will be diverted to certain essential heavy industries in New South Wales principally the steel industry. The cost to the Commonwealth Government in respect of imported coal will be the difference between the landed cost of imported coal and the cost which would have been incurred by the Victorian and South Australian Governments had a similar quantity of coal been imported by those governments from New South Wales. Tenders for the supply of coal were received from a number of firms in various countries but having regard to quality and cost certain tenders from South African and Indian firms only were accepted. The quantities of coal involved are still the subject of negotiations but they could amount to 855,000 tons as follows: - (a) South African coal, 575,000 tons; (&) Indian coal, 280,000 tons. The component costs in the successful tenders is not known. The tenders were accepted on a c.i.f. and e. basis Adelaide or Melbourne, but providing for certain variations in freight charges. The charge to be finally borne by the Commonwealth therefore cannot be determined until the final overseas shipment has arrived but the estimated cost of the subsidy on the quantities ordered is approximately £1,700.000.
s. - On the 21st April, the honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn) asked me the following questions, upon notice -
The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
The figure of 154,711 total employment at the 31st December, 1949, compares with a figure of 151,092 supplied on the 15th March. The latter figure did not include a group of new Australians, who have been temporarily employed by the Department of the Army for work in Army camps. This group is employed under exemption from the terms of the Public Service Act.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 May 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500510_reps_19_207/>.