19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– The problems in relation to the Hornsby exchange are very similar to those that exist in other parts of Australia and to which I have referred on other occasions. Nevertheless, I shall have an investigation made to see whether the installations which the honorable member desires can be expedited in any way.
– Is the PostmasterGeneralaware of the reason why telephone communication is not available on the Callide Valley coal-field? Because that coal-field is of national importance and because many men are working there who hare no means of communication with the outside world, will the Postmaster-General use every means to expedite the installation of telephone services on that field?
– The matter pf the provision of telephones to areas such as the Callide Valley coal-field rests with the relevant company which must make the necessary application and be prepared to conform to the conditions required by the Postmaster-General’s Department’. If the application has been made by the operators of this coal-field, and they have signed the necessary documents, I shall look into the matter and if possible expedite the installation of telephone services.
– Would it be practicable for the Postmaster-General to obtain a list for me which will show the number of. telephones that have been allotted to different suburbs in Melbourne during the last three months? I ask this question in view of the suggestion that has been made by some people, who may be misinformed, that the department is giving preference to districts in which the wealthier sections of the community reside.
– I do not propose to make available a list of the number of telephones that have been installed in particular areas in Melbourne, or in any other city. Judging by the tone in which the honorable member has asked his question, I believe that he recognizes, that the department does not give preference of the kind that he has indicated. I assure him that that is so. In fact, ample evidence exists of a very strong determination on the part of departmental officials to distribute departmental services as widely as possible having regard to the availability of materials and to provide such services in all areas regardless of whether the residents are predominantly rich or poor.
– I feel that the Minister for National Development did not quite appreciate the significance of a question which I asked yesterday regarding the proposed importation of readymade houses. I should like the Minister to state whether he will secure, if this be possible, samples of the timbers proposed to be used in any ready-cut houses which may be imported from Europe in order that they may be scientifically tested by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia to ascertain what capacity they have for resistance to borers and other pests which destroy building timbers. I ask this question because I fear that the majority of buildings which come from Europe will be constructed of a light pine which would not be as resistant to pests as is Australian hardwood. If this is so perhaps the CommonwealthScientific and Industrial Research Organization could devise some means of increasing the resistance of these buildings.
– In view of the fact that a belief exists among some sections of the Australian population that prefabricated houses which are made overseas are in some way inferior to locally built houses, I am asking my appropriate senior departmental officers to take all possible steps to see that this first batch of prefabricated houses to be imported into Australia is beyond criticism in every way. I have drawn their attention to the necessity for the closest possible inspection of all materials which make up the prefabricated houses which are to be brought from overseas. I appreciate the point which the honorable gentleman has made concerning the timber and shall have inquiries made concerning it. I appreciate, also, the motive which has inspired him to ask his question.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister concerning the arrangements that are being made for the observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. Will the right honorable gentleman consider linking those celebrations with the commemoration of the centenary of the granting of representative government to the Australian colonies in 1850? In view of the nature of the events that are to be commemorated, and of the comparative neglect of political studies in Australia, will he consider marking the anniversary by making substantial provision in all Australian universities for research and teaching in the history and functioning of the modern democratic state, with particular attention to political institutions in Australia? Will he also ensure that the form of any public festivities will be such as to bring home to all Australians, including new Australiana, the individual responsibility that must be accepted by all citizens in order to ensure the successful working of the parliamentary system ?
– I am indebted to the honorable member for his suggestions, which I think are very valuable. I shall have them put promptly before the organizing committee for consideration.
– I ask the Treasurer whether there has been any reduction of the allocation of dollars for tractors and other agricultural implements from dollar areas for the quarter that will end on the 30th June, 1950, compared with the allocation of dollars for the corresponding period of 1949? [f so, what has been the amount of the reduction, and has it been caused by the lifting of petrol rationing?
– There has been no reduction. Overall, there has been an increase.
– Has the Minister for National Development received any information concerning the loss of a freighter off the Queensland coast? lt has been reported that £120,000 worth of tractors, including £30,000 worth of dollar-free imports, has been lost.
– 1 rise to order. I think that the honorable member is taking those figures from a newspaper cutting I want to know whether he is in order in doing so, Mr. Speaker.
– I do not know the source of the honorable gentleman’s information. He has not disclosed it.
– The purpose of my question is to ascertain whether the Minister can say if the tractors were intended to be used for coal production. If so, will he take urgent action in order to try to replace the tractors? Can he also say whether they were intended for New South Wales or Queensland?
– I have no information on the subject, but I shall certainly obtain the facts and will inform the honorable member accordingly.
– Has the Treasurer received any applications from the Government of New South Wales for the granting of financial assistance to local government bodies for the repair of serious damage to roads and bridges that wa9 caused by the recent floods?
– No requests have been received from the Government of New South Wales in connexion with flood damage to roads, but applications have been made to this Government by local authorities and pastoralists’ associations, and they have been referred to the respective State governments.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport. Has his attention been drawn to the fact that there is great concern in New South Wales at the heavy wear and tear caused by huge lorries which transport motor bodies from Adelaide to northern ports of New South Wales. Is this transfer by road which requires the use of great quantities of imported motor spirit due to the fact that interstate steamers are unable to cope with demands for space to accommodate motor bodies? If this is a fact will the Minister examine the possibilities of arranging for these motor bodies to be accommodated on overseas ships which trade to northern port3 and which, I understand, have ample space to accommodate the bodies, the transport of which is at present seriously affecting the main roads of the State?
– I shall refer the question raised by the honorable member to my colleague in another place and shall supply him with an answer.
– In view of the fact that the: budgeted expenditure on age and invalid pensions was £45,500,000 and for the nine months ended March, 1950, only £32,965,000 was spent, and that the budgeted expenditure for widows’ pensions was £4,600,000 and for the nine months ending March, 1950, only £3,353,000 was- spent, will, the Treasurer give consideration to the making of an immediate interim increase to age, invalid and widow pensioners? Will he do so because, from the answers given by Ministers to previous questions, there does not. seem to be- any prospect, of this matter receiving the attention of the Government until the budget is brought down in September? As, in the meantime, considerable hardship is being imposed on the pensioners, I ask whether the Government is prepared to grant an interim increase to cover the present situation ?
– I shall study the comparative figures that the honorable member has brought to my notice. His question does not refer to any reduction in the rate of pensions, it refers only to the quantum of the numerical recipients of pensions. I shall have the matter looked into and have a. reply prepared.
– During the passage of the International Wheat Agreement Bill through this House the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture roundly con demned the agreement but did not ask the House to vote against it. In view of his attitude on that occasion does the Minister intend to take any steps to secure Australia’s withdrawal from the agreement ?
– Australia is a party to the International Wheat Agreement because this Parliament approved of the treaty signed by the previous Government. This Government will not take steps to abrogate such a treaty.
– Bearing in mind the importance of the potato industry to Tasmania, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture do everything, in his power- to rectify the present price anomaly of Tasmanian potatoes existing in the Sydney market. At present Tasmanian growers receive £14 10s. a ton in their own State while the consumers pay £28 a ton in New South Wales. Tasmanian growers’ receive £14 12s. a ton whereas the New South Wales growers receive £20 12s. a ton. The consumers in New South Wales pay £28 a ton.
– Accepting the figures quoted by the honorable member as accurate- it is obvious- that a serious anomaly exists’ as between the producers in the two States. However, the Australian Government is without any constitutional price fixing authority which, would enable it to rectify such an anomaly. All that I have been able to do is to respond immediately to a request by the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture to make available to him appropriate officers of the Division of Agricultural Economics for the purpose of investigating the cost of producing and of handling potatoes in that State so that authoritative and independent data may be obtained to enable the Government of Tasmania to negotiate for what it may regard as more equitable treatment of Tasmanian potatoes by the Government of New South Wales.
– I refer the Minister for Health to reports that 3s. a week will be the amount of money to be paid by persons who will be participants in the new health scheme. Will the right honorable gentleman inform me whether the people will be beneficiaries from the fund that has been accumulated for past health schemes ? If they will not be beneficiaries in that way, will the Minister ascertain whether it is possible to reduce the subsidy that people will have to pay in order to participate in the new scheme by using the accumulated hinds; or, alternatively, will he make representations to the Treasurer to allow those accumulated funds to be used, in part, in offering decent salaries for doctors in the several Commonwealth health services?
– The amount of 3s. a week which the honorable member for Fremantle has mentioned is quite a fictitious figure, and has no official basis. The Treasurer will deal with the matter of the subsidy at the appropriate time.
– As the Minister for Health has repeatedly denied the accuracy of published reports regarding the national health scheme, will he state whether the scheme is merely an imaginary proposition ? If the scheme is not an imaginary one, when can honorable members expect the Minister to supply them with particulars of it and so remove any doubts they may have regarding the regular press reports on this subject ?
– The honorable member may have noticed that the tremendous chaos that has occurred in both Britain and New Zealand in regard to their health schemes has been due to a lack of preparation. Lack of preparation was also the cause of the tremendous mess made by the previous Government of its medical scheme. This Government is taking all the necessary steps to introduce a well-prepared scheme.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether doctors on the south coast of New South Wales have increased their fees for each visit, and so made it more difficult for many persons to secure medical attention? Whilst I do not question the right of doctors to increase their fees, I emphasize that many persons may not be able to afford to pay the new fees. In view of the fact that the general health of the community may, in consequence, he adversely affected, will the Minister either subsidize the medical fee for each visit or appoint Government medical officers in every large town so that all members of the community may be enabled to obtain medical attention at the higher fees?
– Under the Constitution, the Australian Government has not power to control doctors’ fees. I have already promised the honorable member for Shortland and the honorable member for Newcastle that I shall visit their electorates, including the industrial and mining areas, in order to examine conditions there. I shall be glad to accompany the honorable member for Cunningham on a visit to the district that he represents in order to ascertain whether the difficulties to which he has referred may be overcome by incorporating appropriate existing organizations in the Government’s national health scheme.
– I desire to address a question to the Prime Minister. In view of the bitter attacks that are constantly being made against what . is variously called “democracy”, “free enterprise “ and “ capitalism “ - all of which are synonymous terms - by both right honorable members and honorable members of the Opposition, and in view of the particularly vicious attack by the honorable member for Hindmarsh when he attributed all the wretchedness and woe of his most unhappy childhood to the capitalist system, are there any means at the disposal of the right honorable gentleman that would enable him to carry out a comprehensive survey of the upward movement in the circumstances of all honorable members in the course of a single generation with a view to determining the relative value of democracy as a way of life that opens the door of opportunity to all men, regardless of their circumstances ?
– I am afraid that I shall not be able to devote much time to the research that the honorable member has suggested. As I look around the House, most of the facts speak for themselves.
– .Will the Treasurer inform me whether it is a fact, as has been reported, that the Government proposes to remove the subsidies on butter and tea immediately after the forthcoming State election in New South Wales ? Is it not a fact that the removal of those subsidies will cause the price of tea to increase to approximately 6s. per lb. and the price of butter to approximately 3s. per lb? If the Government proposes to remove those subsidies, will the Treasurer say whether that action is in accordance with its policy of putting value back into the £1?
– The Government will disclose its decisions on the matters which have been mentioned by the honorable member for Grayndler at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture noticed reports to the effect that Japan is becoming Australia’s main source of supply of imported galvanized corrugated iron? As Japan is indirectly included in the dollar bloc, and as the importation of iron by Australia is limited because of r,he dollar shortage, has the honorable gentleman considered whether it is possible to trade, say, Australian flour for Japanese galvanized iron, and in that way relieve the shortage of that material in this country?
– I have noticed the press report to which the honorable member has referred. The position is that for trading purposes Japan is not within the dollar area so far as Australia i3 concerned. Internationally, Japan hae what C might call a bi-currency status. It can irade in dollars and in sterling. An overall balanced trading arrangement has existed for several years between the sterling bloc and Japan, and I understand that negotiations are now taking place for ;i continuing trade agreement under which sterling credits may be made available to Japan and, reciprocally, Japanese credits may be made available to countries in the sterling area, including Australia. We do not engage in particular commodity barter transactions with Japan, but I am confident that the negotiationsthat are now proceeding will establish conditions under which Australia will beenabled to purchase whatever goods it may require that are available in Japan..
– Have you, Mr.. Speaker, seen references to the work of the artist, Mr. Byram Mansell, in murals and decorative wall panels depicting Australian aboriginal folk lore? Are you aware that that artist’s depiction of aboriginal primitive art is attracting widespread interest abroad, particularly in the United States of America and France? Will you consider allowing Mr. Mansell to display examples of his work at Parliament House so that honorable membersand foreign representatives may be given an opportunity to view them?
– I can best answer the honorable member’s question by informing him that all aspects of the matterthat he has raised will be considered at a meeting of the Library Committee to be held at 1.45 p.m. to-day.
– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. During the coal strike at the end of last year steel production at the major steel-works in Australia practically ceased, and many furnaces were closed down. In view of the importance of steel production to both primary and secondary industries, particularly to housing construction, will the Minister inform the House of the present position of the steel industry, with particular reference to the following points: - (a) What is the present percentage efficiency of output; (b) are coal supplies now sufficient to permit the operation of all furnaces; and (c) is control being exercised to ensure the equitable distribution of steel products to all States?
– I cannot state the present production figures in relation to iron and steel. I am quite sure that our full production potential is not being availed of because of the inadequacy of coal supplies. That position has existed for a number of years and I understand it still exists. The shortage of coal supplies for the iron and steel industry is one of the important factors that are forcing upwards the cost of living. “We are obliged to import steel at an average price which I believe is double the cost of locally produced steel, solely because sufficient coal is not being mined on the New South “Wales coal-fields.
Regional Town Planning Scheme
– Has the Minister for National Development considered the request of the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. McGirr, for a contribution by the Commonwealth towards the cost of implementing the Sydney regional town planning scheme devised by the Cumberland County Council, which will amount, I understand, to £5,000,000? If he has not done so, will he give it early consideration in collaboration with his colleague, the Treasurer? Has the right honorable gentleman observed the published comments by Sir Patrick Abercrombie, Britain’s leading town planner, at a gathering at Washington recently, in which he spoke of Sydney’s fine regional planning scheme and commended it as a model for the consideration of overseas town planners? If so, will he consider utilizing the services of the expert body of men at present under the jurisdiction of the Cumberland County Council for the larger developmental plans of the Commonwealth, especially as these experts are at present more or less in a state of idleness pending the implementation of the Sydney regional town planning scheme?
– However good the Cumberland County Council’s scheme may be - and I can well believe that it is very good - I do not think that it would be practicable for the Australian Government to make an isolated contribution to one local government area to the exclusion of very many other worthy local government areas in other parts of Australia. I shall investigate the honorable member’s question, which I realize goes beyond the answer that I have given, and I shall endeavour to give him a more comprehensive reply.
– When the budget was being considered last year did the Treasurer say that the Chifley Government’s decision to inflict additional post and telegraph charges on an already unduly heavily taxed community must be examined? If so does the Treasurer propose to make this examination when framing the 1950-51 budget with a view to removing the alleged infliction?
– An examination is proceeding continuously of the economic capacity of the country generally.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether it is a fact that the campaign for the control and eradication of tuberculosis in Australia is being somewhat hampered if not jeopardized by the shortage of specialized staff and by the physical inability of the present staff to meet demands made on it? If so what consideration is being given to overcoming this serious position? Is consideration being given to the development of a scheme of superannuation for nurses who are committed to the continuous care and treatment of tuberculosis patients?
– The matters which the honorable gentlemen has raised pre being considered by the Government.
– In view of the fact li:at I have received correspondert.ee from the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated . pensioned soldier which indicates her difficulty to make ends meet owing to the abnormal increase in prices, will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation state what progress has been made by the committee which has been inquiring into such pensions? Is it possible to afford totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners relief by regarding their case as urgent?
– The points raised by the honorable member have been considered by a Cabinet sub-committee. T shall be pleased to bring under the notice of the Minister for Repatriation the honorable member’s suggestion that special consideration be given to totally and permanently incapacitated cases.
– I ask for leave to make a short statement concerning the committee set up to investigate the cost and organization of road transport for the Department of Supply.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition Members. - No! .
Leave not granted.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Eric J. Harrison), on the ground of urgent public business.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) owing to his absence from Australia.
In committee: Consideration resumed from the 17th May (vide page 2796).
Clause 5 - (4.) If, upon the hearing, the applicant satisfies the High Court that it is not a body to which this section applies, the High Court shall set aside the declaration.
Upon which Dr. Evatt had moved, by way of amendment -
That sub-clause (4.) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following subclause : - “ (4.) If, upon the hearing, the Commonwealth satisfies the Court -
that the applicant is a body to which this section applies; and
that the continued existence of the body would be prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth or to the execution or maintenance of the Constitution or of the laws of the Commonwealth, the Court shall dismiss the application, and the declaration shall, subject to this section, remain in force.”.
.- Last night the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) said that 75 per cent, of the people were opposed to this bill. I suggest that that is a very high percentage. It is very similar to the percentage of people which I estimated were opposed to a bill which was intro duced by the previous Government within the last year or two. On that occasion a considerable number of protest meetings were held throughout Australia and the people expressed very definitely their opposition to the measure. Petitions were presented in this House. On this occasion
– Order ! There is too much audible conversation.
– In relation to this bill honorable members have seen no protests or petitions. I suggest that the honorable member for Blaxland was very much astray in the comment which he made last night. The honorable member indicated that he had convinced the people in his electorate that it was most undesirable to ban the Communist party but there were many Labour candidates at the last election who were unable to convince the people that the banning of the Communist party was undesirable. The vast majority of people -
– Order ! I cannot hear the honorable member because of the noise on my left.
– The vast majority of the people were quite satisfied with the policy enunciated by the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Blaxland also said that the Labour party members and leaderscould be “ roped in “. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) said that this legislation would damn persons and organizations for all time. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said that under this legislation the trade unions could be declared.
– Order ! If honorable members on my left will not refrain from making undue noise I shall take action.
– If you are so particular about noises, Mr. Chairman, you may notice that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) who is seated on your immediate right is talking.
– The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) has been the chief offender. I could hear his voice continually, although I have not heard any noise from the right-hand side of the table. The honorable member for Dalley has persistently ignored my requests for silence. I shall be forced to deal with him if he continues to do so.
– Sub-clause (1.) of this clause states that the clause shall apply to any body of persons “ not being an industrial organization registered under the law of the Commonwealth or a State”. Clause 3 contains the following definition : - “ industrial organization “ means an organization of employers or employees associated for the purpose of protecting and furthering their interests in relation to terms and conditions of employment or for purposes including that purpose.
Therefore, I submit that there is not the slightest justification for the statements that have been made by members of the Opposition about the possibility of trade unions being declared under this legislation. It is time that we made a realistic approach to the bill. What are the organizations and who are the persons to which it refers? They are organizations that are controlled and dominated by Communists and Communists themselves. Sub-clauses (1.) and (2.) have already been accepted by the Opposition, and I believe that they are explicit in their references to the organizations and persons to which the bill will apply. In order to indicate the type of organization that the Government proposes to suppress, I refer honorable members to the following quotation : -
The Russian people cannot realise their dream of freedom and a democratic government on account of cruel terror and persecution. Holding forth at international conferences with voluble statements about peace and security, the Soviet Government is simultaneously preparing secretly for the third world war. To meet this war, the Soviet Government is creating in democratic countries, a fifth column, in the organization of which even diplomatic representatives of the Soviet Government take part … It is clear that the Communist Party in democratic countries has changed long ago from a political party into an agency net of the Soviet Government, into a fifth column, in these countries to meet a war, into an instrument in the hands of the Soviet Government for creating artificial unrest, provocation, &c, &c.
That statement was made by Igor Gouzenko, who was responsible for the Canadian spy trials. Any statement that has been made by him on this subject deserves our very careful consideration.
This legislation is aimed against people who are at war with us, and it is high time that the Parliament made a declaration of war upon those people, who are the agents of Russia. We are concerned not merely with individual acts by Communists but with a conspiracy, which is a concerted movement by thousands of people, against our security. We must consider it on a collective basis, not on an individual basis. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) made a comment about the onus of proof and the relevant provisions in the criminal code. I submit that we are not dealing with ordinary criminals. This bill could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described fairly as a measure against criminals. It is aimed against a subversive movement. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) said that we should realize the enormity of what was being done. The Government and its supporters do realize the enormity of what is being done. The Prime Minister was armed with such a realization when he declared in his policy speech during the election campaign that the present Government parties, if elected to power, would ban the Communist party. We received the wholehearted endorsement of the Australian people on account of that declaration. Members of the Opposition have said that they agree that the Government received a mandate to suppress the Communist party. The Government intends that this legislation shall be effective, but the amendments that have been proposed by the Opposition would make it ineffective. The people of Australia do not want to have on the statute-book a law that couldnot be implemented. They want the Parliament to enact legislation that will deal once and for all with the menace that threatens our Christian community. I believe that at least 90 per cent, of Australians hold the Christian conception of life and believe that their Christian principles are seriously challenged by the Communists.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– First, I wish to correct a statement that was made by the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. Hulme), who quoted the definition of “ industrial organization” in an endeavour to prove that a trades and labour council could not be declared an unlawful association under this bill. The definition reads - “ Industrial organization “ means an organization of employers or employees associated for the purpose of protecting and furthering their interests in relation to terms and conditions of employment or for purposes including that purpose.
The honorable member apparently does not realize the meaning of the introductory words of clause 5. These are -
This section applies to any body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, not being an industrial organization registered under the law of the Commonwealth- or a State -
Any industrial organization, in the terms of the definition, must also be registered under Commonwealth or State law if it is to be exempt from the provisions of the clause we are now considering. For that reason, the fears that have been expressed by members of the Opposition concerning the possibility of the declaration of a trades and labour council have a very substantial foundation. A Communist organization could be declared to be an unlawful association under the terms of the bill. Members of that organization could also be members of the management committee of a trades and labour council. If a majority of the members of the management committee of the council were also members of the unlawful association, or had held such membership during the preceding two years, the council in turn could be declared to be an unlawful association. I do not suggest that the Government would take such action. I agree with the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) that it would be unlikely to do anything to o-Pend the people because it would injure itself in the process. The damage that they would do to themselves would be such that it would deter the Government from taking action which would be an affront to the people. I firmly believe that no matter what the Government does, or wherever the onus of proof lies>. if the Government does something which is an affront to the people then it will suffer the penalty later on. I do not see the danger in that respect that some other honorable members seem to see. However, this chamber is dealing now only with unlawful organizations. Much has been said about individuals, but the amendment of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) deals specifically with unlawful organizations and organizations that may be declared to be unlawful. Honorable members on the Government side have said that the federal executive of the Labour party recently declared that the Australian Peace Council was a Communist body. Honorable members opposite do not appreciate why that was done. Under the rules of the Labour party no member of any other political party is eligible to be a member of our party, no matter whether that party be the Communist, the Liberal or any other party. Therefore, when we declared that any person being a member of the Australian Peace Council could not remain a member of the Labour party, it was done because we believed that the organization concerned was already affiliated with a political party - the Communist party. Therefore its members were not eligible to belong to the Labour party. We do not see that such a ban will have any effect upon the members of the Australian Peace Council in their employment or in any other way. The amendment of the right honorable member for Barton can be viewed in a number of ways. Sub-clause (4.) of the clause states -
If, upon the hearing, the applicant satisfies the High Court that it is not a body . . .
That is the position. If the applicant satisfies the court that it is not an unlawful organization under the terms of the earlier portion of the clause the court may set aside the declaration. The amendment of the right honorable member for Barton states -
If upon the hearing the Commonwealth satisfies the court . . .
The Commonwealth, under our proposal has to satisfy the court and not the applicant. The point is that a person does not need to get a ticket of membership or other token under the amendment. That is something that has merely been thrown into the matter by honorable members to complicate the issue. For instance, as we see it, Bill Brown should not have to prove that he was not a member of the Eureka Youth
League. That must be proved by the Government and it could be proved without disclosing secret sources of information. There should be reason for the belief that bodies are affiliated with the Communist party. Does the Prime Minister think for one moment that the Eureka Youth League could go to court and submit a case in defence of Government submissions? The Government would certainly not have to give away any of its secrets.
I agree that when dealing with a clause affecting an individual the argument can be different from the argument that had relation to unlawful associations. It is a very .serious matter to declare unlawful an organization to which many people may belong. Such people may believe that the organization is quite innocuous so far as communism is concerned. The Government should be very careful in declaring individual members of such organizations. Some stronger allegation must be put before the judge than a mere prima facie statement that a person is a member of a subversive organization. As at present we are dealing only with this particular sub-clause, and the proposed amendments to it. I hope that honorable members will keep in mind what I have said about the declaration of the individual. During the past two years a lot of people have been connected with organizations which they thought were quite innocuous. It is well known that the peace council which has been mentioned here numbers among its members ministers of different churches who are connected with it because they believe it is attempting to do something to ensure peace throughout the world. They may have been misguided and they may have been in bad company, but they felt that they were in a society which stood for peace. Because some other member believes in communism and belongs to that society they consider that that is no reason why they should not also belong to it. To declare such an organization, whether the individuals concerned are declared or not, will wreak great havoc upon its individual members. They will always be known by the people at large as having been members of an organization which was outlawed by the Government. The declaring of such people would be a very grave step to take and I say that we are justified in giving such an organization an opportunity to put forward its views. We have wandered far afield in our discussions of this matter-
– The organization has that opportunity under the bill.
– Perhaps it has under the bill, but has it an opportunity to prove that it is not unlawful?
– I say to the Prime Minister that I know that he, together with many other persons cherishes the right to know what may be charged against him. Under those circumstances he should accept the principles laid down by the right honorable member for Barton.
.- The Opposition has caused so much froth and bubble in this debate that I shall not take time to deal with the minor points they have brought forward. That would only make more confusion because many of the matters they dealt with have no relation to the clause. It appears that the Opposition is making a desperate attempt to try to prove that this clause will have some unjust effect on the people. My view is that any law can be regarded in that manner. It is the administration of the law that counts. The motor traffic laws may be cited as an example. On certain roads double lines are drawn. If a motorist crosses those double lines he can be charged with an offence. Whether an offence has been committed or not depends on the evidence of the constable who watches him driving. The whole matter depends upon the administration of the law. An illustration of that was given to me recently when I noticed a traffic constable on the MelbourneBallarat road using a camera to take photographs to prove whether a motorist had crossed the double lines.
– That was most unfair!
– The right honorable gentleman says it was most unfair, but it was a most novel method of proving whether an offence had been committed. The high standard that British justice Las reached throughout the world has not been achieved alone by laws and rules made by the British people, but by the just administration of those laws. There are laws and rules in Russia to ensure that a democratic right of franchise is given to the people; but in that country the administration of that law makes elections a farce. The clause that we are debating will become law on the passing of the bill, and I believe that every honorable member on the Government side believes that it will be administered according to the high standards of British justice. If we are to assume that the administration of this law is to be in the Russian style then we must appreciate the Opposition’s attitude. If a dictator were in charge of affairs in Australia, he could easily change the law in such a way as to penalize unfairly certain individuals. The two principal questions that we should ask ourselves are, first, has the Government a mandate to ban, and, if possible, eliminate communism in this country, and, secondly, is communism a real menace? Members of the Labour party are trying desperately to defeat the bill by opposing this clause, but, in the final analysis, they regard communism as a greater menace that any of the dangers that, they claim, may arise from it, because although they oppose it, they have stated that they will not oppose the bill. Therefore, all their talk on this clause is so much froth and bubble. If I may borrow a phrase from Adam Lindsay Gordon, one thing that stands as stone is that communism is a real menace in this country. The Government has a mandate to ban the Communist party. It has the pluck to tackle this problem, whereas the Labour Government did not have the courage to do so. The Government is determined to pursue its policy of increasing production and bringing about peace in industry, so that the people may enjoy conditions of great prosperity in the future.
.- The committee has considered this clause for a sufficiently long time to understand the two issues that are involved. The first is the onus of proof, and the second is whether this Parliament is to deny to a declared organization the right of appeal against the more serious part of the GovernorGeneral’s declaration. Much of the comment by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the Opposition’s amendment that is now under consideration, was devoted to the onus of proof. Important though that is, it is not nearly so important as the fact that this bill is deliberately designed to prevent an affiliated organization from having access to the courts of justice when it is declared to be seditious, or disloyal to this country. That is a far more serious infringement of the fundamental ideas of justice than is the shifting of the onus of proof on to the applicant. The Prime Minister’s amendments make no substantial difference) because the onus of proof will still be on the applicant, but even so, an opportunity will be given to an organization to satisfy the court, almost impossible though that is in some oases. The provision under which an affiliated organization will be prohibited from having access to the courts is more serious than that. I emphasize that the declaration will be made on the advice of a number of Ministers, or of one Minister. I need not read the provision; the committee is familiar with it. By definition, a group may well include people, and, indeed, it must include’ people who are not Communists, who are not members of the Communist party, and who never have been members of the Communist party or had any connexion with it. Yet they are in the group, because the group is so defined as to include them. It is defined by reference to some influence and other matters that may be brought to bear on such todies by Communists.
– Has the right honorable gentleman no confidence in Ministers ?
– I have this much confidence - that Ministers will give effect to their own views. I contend that when the result of a declaration is to make the continuance of a body unlawful under the most severe penalties and to dispossess it of its property rights, those consequences should operate only after a full opportunity has been given to the organization to have the matter reviewed by a court of justice. Yet no such opportunity is to be given. I do not think that people understand the implications of this clause. It means that the position of a body will be considered behind its back, and it will not be heard in the matter, or know what is alleged against it. It will have no right to know of the allegation. Ministers will doubtless have reports before them-
– What happened in war-time ?
– The honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) explained almost in a sentence yesterday what happened in war-time. He said that some enemy aliens were interned; but, subsequently, they were given an opportunity to prove their innocence. In other words, the sanction came first, and the hearing later. Yet under this bill, in time of peace - because it is peace, although some honorable members opposite may give a certain description’ to it in order to show that relations between various countries are strained, and there is no objection to their doing so - the Governor-General in Council will declare an organization, and subject it to penalties, and it will not have even the right that was given to enemy aliens in time of war to prove its innocence. That is the greatest possible deprivation, not of any technical rule of law, but of fundamental justice. That such a serious declaration may be made, involving imputations amounting to sedition or treason, without the organization concerned having the opportunity to show that it is not guilty of them, strikes at the very basis of justice. What justification is there for it? The Prime Minister says, in effect, “ Oh, well, you cannot have an appeal on that provision because it would involve disclosing the secrets of the security service “. I submit that it would not do anything of the kind. Security officers might recommend to the Government that a certain body be not declared, yet Ministers could give effect to their own views on the matter. They may think that because a body is, in some respects taking too active a part in industrial matters, it is prejudicial to the defence of the country, yet no one will know the ground upon which they have acted. The allegations might range from that point to a point approaching treason. Organizations are entitled to know the charge that has been made against them. Many people may be bitterly opposed to the doctrines of communism but they will oppose with equal vigour the adoption of the rule providing that organizations shall not have an opportunity of satisfying a court that they are innocent of the allegations that may be made against them. They are not to be given in peace-time the same rights as were given to enemy aliens in war-time. I submit that this bill would not be passed in any other part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, because it is a denial of fundamental justice. I believe that the committee understands that, but the Prime Minister said nothing about it in his second-reading speech. I regard it as the most important feature of the bill.
Onus of proof has been discussed, and that, too, is very important. Let us consider a body of the kind to which reference is made in clause 5 (1.) (d), in which the influence of certain Communists upon an organization, as may be found in a Labour council, may result in its being an affiliated organization, and; therefore, within the group that may be declared. Why should the ordinary rule not apply in that case? It is useless to refer to other cases. For purposes of comparison, the Prime Minister referred to the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act 1949, but the two positions could not be more different. The National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act followed the lines of the National Security Act 1939, which the right honorable gentleman himself introduced, but it was less drastic. In other words, proof that an organization was guilty of an offence under the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act might not have been sufficient, because the officers might not have been covered. The act provided that if the organization were guilty of the offence, those responsible for what it did, namely, the officers, would be deemed guilty unless they showed that they either did not know of it or had -taken reasonable care to prevent it. Similarly the other examples are different from a case of this type.
So far as the onus of proof is concerned, exactly the result that would have been achieved by the clause as drafted, and to which we objected, will be achieved by the amendment that the Prime Minister has forecast. If, at the end of a case, after evidence has been given, the court is in doubt as to what the conclusion should be under the amendment forecast the doubt will be resolved as it would have been resolved under the clause as drafted.
– That is, in favour of national safety.
– In other words against the organization. It is the same thing in the result. The Prime Minister is putting his argument as he put it previously. We say that that right should not be taken away from an affiliated organization. The provision does include Trades and Labour Councils because they are not registered organizations and they are not excluded. I do not imagine that a government would be so mad as to declare such bodies. But who can tell? Ministers change; and there is no provision in the bill that there shall be a recommendation to this effect by the heads of the security service. That means that no safeguard is provided.
Those are the two points at issue : First, the complete deprivation of access to any court either before, or after, declaration so far as the more serious part of any government decision is concerned, namely, the imputation or charge of subversive tendency ; and, secondly, the onus of proof provision remains substantially as it was and reverses what should be the practice in cases of this kind, Those are the issues. They are perfectly clear and the sooner the committee expresses its opinion upon them the better will it be for the country.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I feel indebted to the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) for having intervened in the debate to remind the committee that there are two barrels to the gun that he is proposing to fire. One of them relates to the onus of proof, which has been discussed at length and about which some odd statements have been made from time to time. The other relates to the com plete change that his amendments seek to make in the substance of the appeal. He does well to remind us of it, because I want to emphasize it. Putting the onus of proof argument on one side, the appeal that exists is upon the question whether the organization fits one or other of the descriptions in the bill. To that the Opposition now seeks to add a further matter of appeal, which is whether the organization, assuming it to be one that fits the descriptions within the bill, is an organization which in its activities is prejudicial, or is likely to be prejudicial, to the safety or defence of Australia. The right honorable gentleman wants an appeal on the whole matter. He made that clear. And in that appeal he wants the Commonwealth to have the responsibility of adducing legal evidence, legally receivable according to the laws of evidence, that’ will establish to the satisfaction of the court that both of those things are true.
I have said a good deal about that in my earlier remarks, but I think it is opportune to direct the attention of the committee to some very remarkable circumstances which, I am afraid, have been rather overlooked. We are now told by the right honorable member for Barton that it is contrary to all the notions of justice that an organization should be banned, that it should be declared to be unlawful, that it should be given only a partial right of appeal. But the right honorable gentleman and his colleagues have just voted in the committee for clause 4, which, without inquiry or appeal of any kind, bans and destroys the Australian Communist party. I do not understand this occulting tenderness about the rights of organizations, a tenderness which accepts cheerfully and unanimously the destruction of the Australian Communist party and the expropriation of all its worldly goods by the sheer force of the bill, and then boggles over the next step. What is- the next step ? If honorable members will give themselves the satisfaction of looking at sub-clause (1.) of this clause, they will see in it some provisions which also have been voted for to a man by the Opposition in this committee. They having been approved and passed by honorable members opposite, I take them ae being beyond any criticism on the part of His Majesty’s Opposition. Sub-clause (1.) reads -
This section applies to any body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, not being an industrial organization registered under the law of the Commonwealth or a State -
which is, or purports to be, or, at any time after the specified date or before the date of commencement of this Act was, or purported to be, affiliated with the Australian Communist party;
What extraordinary tour de force of reasoning it is-
– One of the worst features of the provision is that it antedates the proposed law.
– That is entirely different, and I shall defend it at the appropriate time if honorable members opposite challenge it; but so far they have not given any indication that they propose to do so. What I am talking about now is that having swallowed the camel the Opposition is now straining at the gnat; having swallowed the idea that the Australian Communist party should be banned without investigation and without appeal, when it comes to a body affiliated with the Australian Communist party-
– Purported to be affiliated.
– The words of the definition in that instance have been accepted by honorable members opposite. The Opposition has made it quite clear that in its opinion it is right that the Government should declare unlawful a body answersing the description of one that engages in certain activities. Therefore, I point out that although honorable members opposite do not ask for any inquiry, investigation or appeal and do not raise any question with respect to the onus of proof in relation to the Australian Communist party, when it is established that a body is affiliated with that party and is described in these terms, the Opposition suddenly springs to life and says in effect, “ Oh ! But when you are dealing with a body affiliated with the Australian Communist party we want to establish a state of affairs in which you must prove not only that it answers to that description, but also the exact nature of the activities it is engaging in, and prove them with all the resources you will have to draw upon if you are to give first-hand evidence that is receivable in a court of law “. That is one of the most remarkable inconsistencies of approach that could be demonstrated in any Parliament.
What is the second description? Again, it is in language that has been approved by His Majesty’s Opposition. It reads - (1.) This section applies to any body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, not being an industrial organization registered under a law of the Commonwealth or State -
To repeat what I said yesterday, I ask honorable members, in the name of common sense. “ Are we children?” Do we not know as grown-up people that the Communist party takes this protean form - it is one thing to-day and something else to-morrow - that at one moment it masquerades as, for example, the Eureka Youth League, and at the next moment ns a peace congress, or as a body under some other respectable name? Are we not aware of that fact? Is that not the reason why we have put this provision in this clause in order to enable us to pursue the real body politic of communism from one form to another form and from one name to another name? Paragraph (b) of sub-clause (1.) contains words which are appropriate to deal with that very case. We are dealing not with some other body, but with the Australian Communist party under another name and in another form. Let us get that fact into our minds. The moment we do so we shall begin to realize, and the public will begin to realize, what a monstrous thing it would be to abolish the party under its orthodox name, without inquiry and appeal, but give to it all the ways of escape in the world the moment it assumes another name and another form. There would have been a very good case for taking these bodies and identifying them, and destroying them by direct force of law, as we are doing in tie case of the Communist party. The provision, in this bill that enables a declared body to go before the court and undertake, if it can, to demonstrate to the court that it is not a body answering to one of the descriptions in clause 5, that has been unanimously approved by the Opposition in the course of this debate, is, in fact, a liberal provision. There is just one other thing that I want to say, because I .do not want to protract this debate. I am puzzled, and I think many people will be puzzled, to discover what is the real opinion of the Opposition on this matter.
– Not so puzzled as are Opposition members.
– Two entirely different views have been expressed. With characteristic reasonableness and fairness the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) very properly described the security service as the security service of the country. I have no doubt that he knows and believes, as most of us do, that any nation that did not have a security service would be in a pretty fair way to extinction. Every country has a security service. If another country has such a service we may call its officers ypi.es, if we like, but we recognize that the members of our own security service, who frequently undertake investigations into threats to the security of the country at great risk, are entitled to our respect. I know that the honorable member for Port Adelaide accords them that respect. I believe that in his heart he realizes, as I and other honorable members on this side of the chamber do, that if we were required to put down on the table of the court all our information and to disclose its sources, that would be fatal to the security of this country. Let me say this to honorable members: Fortunately for the world we are not all lawyers. Happening to have been one of a kind in my time-
– The right honorable gentleman has often been wrong.
– I have. Has the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) never been wrong?
– After these mutual confessions-
Government Supporters. - Hear, hear!
– The right honorable gentleman has his claqueurs well trained.
– If I were the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) I should not be so ready to speak with contempt of men with the records of those who sit behind me.
– Their records are better than that of the right honorable gentleman. I would match my record against his.
– All right; that is a challenge to which posterity will attend. Let me say a word or two about ‘these procedures. If the amendment proposed by the Opposition were accepted we should have to go to court and undertake to prove that a certain organization had been engaged in activities detrimental to the security of the Commonwealth as defined by the clause. How could we prove it? I hope that nobody has the impression that we should prove it by calling some witness who would say “ In my opinion “. It would have to be proved by legal, first-hand evidence. If one of the investigators had followed a member of the organization, or of its committee of management, tracked him down, watched him and got some evidence of his conversations, that investigator would have to be called to give evidence of what he had heard, not from some one else, but with his own ears, and of the circumstances in which he heard it. He would be subjected to cross-examination. Witness after witness would have to be brought into the witness box to establish beyond doubt a cumulative case that would give proof of the character of the organization. I say that if that had to be done, there would be no security service left. All those remarks are based on the assumption of the correctness of the view expressed by the honorable member for Port Adelaide. What about the views of other Opposition members, in particular of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) who spoke last night? The honorable gentleman made it perfectly clear that it would be nothing in his life if these people were dragged into the daylight because, to him, they are pimps. That is his own descriptive word. He has said, “ To me, the security organization of this country is a pimping organization “.
– That is an exaggeration of the honorable member’s statement.
– Those were his precise words. He described the security organization as a pimping organization. He endeavoured to give the impression that any one connected with the security service of this country is a pimp. If that is to be our attitude towards them, let them be dragged out into the daylight; let them be destroyed. They will not be destroyed with the approval of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), because it is to the credit of the right honorable gentleman that he established the security service and gave it its charter. Indeed, it was under his administration that every person in it was appointed. To the honorable member for Dalley, it is a pimping organization, and, therefore, what does it matter if it comes out into the daylight? Even the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) repeatedly told us last night that we were seeking to protect the secret police. It i9 so easy to give a sinister interpretation to a thing by using certain words about it. Every sensible and responsible Australian realizes that the security of this country is a vital matter. I speak for myself, for the members of the Government, and, I believe, for this committee, when I say that we will not accept any amendment of this legislation which would render the Security Service liable to complete exposure and, therefore, to complete destruction. The Leader of the Opposition has indicated what he regards as the issues involved. I, in my turn, have stated them as I see them.
.- At least the Opposition can be thankful to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for having made it crystal clear that the fears of many honorable members on this side of the chamber that this measure is intended to attack organizations other than the Communist party are amply justified. The right honorable gentleman conveniently avoided answering the questions that have been posed by thi Opposition. He has said that Opposition members have already assented to clauses 1 to 4 which include a provision for the banning of the Australian Communist party without trial or the right of appeaL That is perfectly true. There was no vote on those particular provisions. But it is completely untrue to say that the Opposition is very cheerful about the situation. The Opposition has always considered that this is not the proper way in which to combat some ideology or idea of which one disapproves. A number of honorable members of the Opposition consider that this is an ineffective way of dealing with the situation and the Opposition’s viewpoint is simply that theGovernment, having made a great featureof this issue during the general election campaign, might be in a position to claim that it has a mandate to do something. But whatever the Government might claim as its mandate cannot extend beyond the Australian Communist party and it is quite evident now that what the Government proposes to do is to suppress all progressive organizations in this country.
Let us consider the organization which the right honorable gentleman himself referred to - the Australian Peace Council. Is there any honorable member on the Government side of the chamber who believes that the advocating of peace constitutes a treasonable action? Does a person become guilty of sedition for that reason? Would the Government be prepared to say that every person associated with the Australian Peace Council or with any peace movement in this country was a Communist who was endeavouring to use the organization for some dire purpose which would endanger the safety of the country ? If honorable members opposite care to make inquiries they will find that . the Australian Peace Council originated in a meeting that was called in the home of a clergyman. It was not originated by the Communist party. If this clause is accepted in the form in which the Government wants it to be accepted it will immediately drag into the net a great number of people who are not Communists and who do not espouse the Communist cause. At least when the Government deals with the Communist party, it deals with men who make no secret of their beliefs and associations. But when it deals with what it regards as “ affiliated organizations “ it brings into the scope of this measure a great number of people who have never been, at any time, either directly or indirectly associated with the Communist party. I believe that Mr. Justice Lowe was once associated with Australia-Soviet House. In his recent report he said -
It was in fact supported by many who were neither Communists nor sympathetic with Communists but who simply desired to see better relations with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.
That is Mr. Justice Lowe’s opinion of Australia-Soviet House. Yet that is an organization which most likely will come within the ambit of this clause. Another is the Council for Civil Liberties. I believe that Mr. Justice Lowe was associated with that body also at one time. Mr. Justice Barry, of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and many other prominent men in the community, at one time or another have been associated with these movements and it is ridiculous to suggest that such people, who are not members of the Communist party and many of whom have no sympathy with that party, should be brought within the scope of this bill and given no right to proper redress and no right to ascertain the specific nature of the accusations made against them.
It is rather significant that although the Prime Minister has had unlimited time in which to address honorable members whilst the time available to honorable members of the Opposition has been limited, and although he has spoken on two occasions he has not dealt with the statement by honorable members of the Opposition that a trades and labour council could be declared under this provision. He has not referred to the trades and labour councils at all. Honorable members will find that paragraph (d) of sub-clause (1.) could be applied to trades and labour councils, which are not registered organizations and are not, therefore, in the same position as a registered trade union. If a trades and labour council had one Communist delegate and that delegate spoke on any matter the Government could
Ifr. Ward. decide that that one Communist had influenced the decision of the body and could declare it to be an unlawful organization.
When honorable members of the Opposition have referred to informers they have not had in mind the regular Security Service in this country. Is it not true that the Government proposes to use not only the Security Service - which has not proved itself to be a perfect organization because its first report to the Government on this matter had to be corrected in many respects - but also the informers throughout the community who will supply information by means of anonymous letters and telephone calls? Those anonymous persons will be informing on individuals who should have an opportunity of knowing with what they are being charged. To say that an individual is engaged or is likely to engage in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth is just as unfair as to make such a statement in respect of an organization. Even if the Government considers it to be inadvisable to reveal the source of its information, why should it not have to state the activities in which an accused person is supposed to be engaged? For a person to have a. mere statement of guilt made against him which could cover one of a thousand charges is completely unjust and unfair. The Government should be specific. I am as confident as I have ever been of anything that the object of this Government is to destroy the Labour movement and the trade unions of this country. That is its real purpose. That is why it is trying to bring about an atmosphere of hysteria by alleging that the Communist party is about to make a bid for power in this country by revolutionary action and thus diverting attention from the real intention of the Government.
It is significant that the only investigation deemed necessary as far as I am aware, while the last government held office was made in respect of a fascist organization in which, it was understood, a number of large graziers were interested. These men were buying up equipment that was no longer required by the military forces and were actually training men in military operations for the purpose, if it became necessary, of overthrowing Labour Governments and of destroying the trade unions or taking armed action against trade unionists when there was any industrial trouble. Whenever there is an industrial dispute appeal after appeal is made to country men to act as strike-breakers and scabs and to arm themselves for aggressive action against the workers. When the last government brought down its bank nationalization proposals the present Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) and the present Prime Minister attempted to agitate the people by saying that there would be bloodshed in this country if the Labour Government proceeded with its plans. Were they not guilty of subversive action in attempting to incite the people to resist by arms the authority of the established government? In my opinion, there is a far greater threat to the securityof the people of this country from the fascists in the community than from any other quarter. If the Government’s purpose is to defend democracy why does it not be consistent and try to defend democracy against the forces of the right as well as against the forces of the left?
– Honorable members have just listened to a very characteristic address by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) who has just been putting up a number of objects and knocking them down again. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) has said that the last Government’s coal-strike legislation was entirely different from this. I agree with him except that his point of view is diametrically opposed to my own. The right honorable gentleman endeavoured to save himself from a charge of inconsistency by trying to prove that the legislation which he introduced should be described as dealing with certain circumstances which will not exist under this legislation. The only difference that I can see is that the honorable gentleman’s legislation concerned men who were paralysing a particular industry whereas this legislation deals with men who would paralyse all industries and all activities in Australia.
In that reasonable way of his, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) last night brought forward evidence to show that according to a pamphlet issued by the Communist bodies it would be quite possible to proscribe any person in this community including honorable members supporting the Government and every political party because the objectives set out in the Communist manifesto such as graduated income tax and free education were common to all parties. If the honorable gentleman has read Communist publications he will know that Marx and Engels laid it down that when a graduated income tax had been introduced the next step would be to have it made progressively heavier. When it had been made progressively heavier the Communist aim would be to endeavour to bring it to the point of confiscation of all private property. The propositions put forward by these people are entirely different from their real programme.
The honorable member for East Sydney has mentioned Mr. Justice Lowe’s report. I find that on page166 of that report Mr. J ustice Lowe expressed an entirely different view from that expressed by the honorable member for Bendigo and the honorable member for East Sydney. He said -
I shall, as far as I can conveniently, treat separately -
On page 236 of his report he said -
The aims and objects of the Communist Party in Victoria do not differ from those of the Communist Party in other parts of Australia. The aims and objects are: -
This overthrow will be achieved at the earliest practicable moment.
At page 204 the judge elaborated by saying-
That would include the honorable gentlemen on the left of the Chairman -
When the honorable member for Bendigo quoted that soothing pamphlet last night, he did less than justice to himself in trying to prove a case that cannot be proved to reasonable menn. Unless we can prove the dangerous character of the people against whom the bill is directed, our case must collapse, but plenty of proof is available. I agree with the right honorable member for Barton that the legislation requires the most careful consideration because, unless it is properly administered, certain democratic principles could be abrogated or placed in jeopardy. However, I believe that the critical situation that prevails in Australia sways the balance in favour of taking the action that the Government proposes. I refer honorable members to a noteworthy statement by a gentleman with whose views I have often disagreed, but who has recently passed over the border. I refer to Professor Laski. In that statement, after traversing all the events that led to the entry of Russia into World War II., he declared -
To this there must be added the grave issues created by the ethical ‘behaviour of Communist parties outside Russia after 1917. The passion for conspiracy, the need for deception, the ruthlessness, the centralized and autocratic commands, the contempt for fair play, the willingness to use lying and treachery to discredit an opponent or to secure some desired end, complete dishonesty in the presentation of facts, the habit of regarding temporary success as justifying any measure, the hysterical invective by which they wrought to destroy the character of any one who disagreed with them; these, in the context of an idolization of leaders who might, the day after, be mercilessly attacked as the incarnation of evil, have been the normal behaviour of Communists all over the world. Men of extraordinary gifts ceased to have either a mind or a character of their own ; they placed these in the keeping of their particular party, -which, in its turn, placed them with its own mind and conscience in the keeping of Moscow, until they became automata responsive only to the orders of their leaders. … It would be painful, and it is probably unnecessary,to document this indictment
He said that the Communist system had corrupted people all over the world and that people of great ability had handed themselves, body and soul, to the Communists. According to him, Engels said -
The irony of world history turns everything upside down. We, “ the revolutionaries “, the “ rebels “, are thriving far better on legal methods than on illegal methods and revolt.
In other words, the Communist will use the methods of democracy in order to destroy democracy. While pretending to support law and order, he will destroy law and order. Seizing upon the right of free speech, he will destroy that right. Under the capitalist form of society, as it has been improved over the years and as it will be improved, the people have nothing to fear. Under socialism, they have everything to fear.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Question put -
That the amendment (Dr. Evatt’s) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 27
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sub-clause (4.) -
If, upon the hearing, the applicant satisfies the High Court that it is not a body to which this section applies, the High Court shall set aside the declaration.
.- I move -
That sub-clause (4.) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following subclause : - “ (4.) Upon the hearing of the application, the declaration made by the Governor-General under sub-section (2.) of this section shall, in so far as it declares that the applicant is a body of persons to which this section applies, be prima facie evidence that the applicant is such a body.”.
As I indicated at an earlier stage of the committee discussion, one of the particular purposes of this amendment is to get rid of the word “ satisfies “ about which some criticism has been offered and misapprehension has arisen. It was suggested at one stage by a prominent member of the Opposition that the averment sections in Commonwealth law with which we are familiar might be applied to this case. I indicated that if that gave any satisfaction to anybody it would .have my concurrence. Consequently, proposed sub-clause (4.) is in substantially the same terms as the averment provisions that are to be found in certain Commonwealth statutes. The declaration is to be prima facie evidence of its truth. The declaration having been put in before the investigating court, will raise to that extent a presumption, and the applicant itself in the case of a body such as we are now dealing with, would then be required to submit evidence in order to deal with that prima facie case and, if possible, in the long run to overthrow it.
.- I shall make my remarks as short as possible. In my view the amendment does not alter the position created by the bill as it stands. In one respect it makes it a little worse. The form of the bill, as it stands at present in clause 5, sub-clauses (3.) to (5.), provides clearly that the body, on the hearing, shall have the duty of satisfying the court. If it fails to do so the application is to be dismissed. The whole framework of the present bill, apart from this amendment, is built on the fact that the onus in the case as a whole rests not upon the Commonwealth but upon the applicant body. Our views on that matter which have been put to the committee have been rejected. What difference does this amendment make? Proposed subclause (4.) is before us, but that must be read together with proposed sub-clauses (5.) and (6.). Proposed sub-clause (4.) reads -
Upon the hearing of the application, the declaration made by the Governor-General . . shall, … be prima facie evidence that the applicant is such a body.
In other words the very charge itself is put in as evidence before the court. If it is unchallenged by the applicant body it will operate to convict_that body or at any rate to bring it within the scope of the definition of the body to which the declaration may be applied.
– That happens under the Customs Act, the Excise Act, and the Income Tax Assessment Act.
– I do not want to repeat my previous submission. It happens under certain acts. But this matter goes to the whole case of the declared body before the court, and not to only a part of it. What is the declaration prima facie evidence of - that the applicant is such a body? Only to that extent will there be an appeal before the court. Under the various taxation acts assessments exist which can be challenged, and I realize that there is some analogy in that respect. But none of the statutes has an application so direct and serious as has this provision. I direct the committee’s attention to this amendment in order to show that, far from making the position any different, it reinforces the existing position, because proposed subclause (6.) reads -
If the court does not so find, the court shall dismiss the application and the declaration shall remain in force.
These two sub-clauses by their own language and form of expression will have an effect which puts the onus on the body concerned. They show clearly that if, at the end of the hearing of evidence, the court has any doubt about whether the body comes within the description of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d) of subclause (1.), it must resolve that doubt against the applicant. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) fairly admitted that at an earlier stage. He said that the doubt will be resolved in favour of the national security. The doubt will in fact be resolved against the applicant, and that is a matter to which the Opposition has objected. In such a case it is a perfectly fair proposition that the Commonwealth, before it declares a body, shall investigate the facts and be able to show that ‘the reports which it has received are correct. It must show that the body is a body that fits one of the four descriptions. The argument is that some officers of the Commonwealth may be called upon to produce certain books and so forth. That is an obligation which can be fairly and reasonably discharged without any difficulty if the facts should warrant it.
– -Those facts would have to be disclosed to the court?
– Yes. My point is that the court must decide the issue. The form in which the sub-clause has been drawn makes it clear that the applicant will have to satisfy the court that it is not a body to which the declaration should apply. The applicant may call a lot of evidence, but the court may be left in doubt as to whether or not the body comes within any of the descriptions in sub-clause (1.). The court may say that it “ is not satisfied that Communists, under paragraph (d) had no influence upon the deliberations of the body. There is some evidence before the court, but the court cannot, reach an affirmative decision “.
– Has the right honorable gentleman read Sodemann’s case ?
– Not only have I read it, but I had the responsibility of taking part in it. The balance of probabilities as against reasonable doubt does not come into the picture. If at the end of the case the court is left in doubt about whether the communists influenced the policy of the body it must decide against the body. It should not do so. The doubt should be resolved in favour of the applicant. The body should not, through the activities of a mere handful of Communists have this right taken from it under paragraph (d), which assumes that the body will have amongst its general membership an enormous preponderance of non-Communists. That body will be declared if the court is left in doubt as to whether some Communists influence its policy. That is not fair as a general principle and it is particularly unfair and onerous on those members of the body who, by definition, are neither Communists nor members of the Communist party. For those reasons which cover only the ground that has already been covered, the Opposition considers that this amendment will do nothing to improve the bill. By making the charge itself prima facie evidence of the truth of the allegation in the declaration it reinforces the original sub-clause and is quite unacceptable.
– I add only one thing because it is important that the committee should have clarity upon this matter. The word “ satisfies “ in sub-clause (4.) was regarded by some people as requiring h degree of proof similar to that required to establish a criminal offence in a criminal court. These are not legal problems and I do not want to engage in an academic discussion, but I point out to the committee that in ordinary civil litigation a case is proved, not by removing every reasonable doubt from the mind of the court, but by producing in its mind a feeling that on the balance of evidence the truth lies on this side or that. The court takes into account the balance of probabilities and finally says, “ On the whole of the ease I think the plaintiff is right “ - or the defendant. In criminal proceedings the charge must be established by the Crown beyond reasonable doubt. That is a much higher degree of proof than is required in civil litigation. It was said, bona fide, by some people, although I do not share their view, that the word “ satisfies “ might be treated as requiring a criminal degree of proof which would make proof extremely difficult. I therefore propose to remove the word “ satisfies “ and in place of it insert the words “… the court finds “. The court will therefore make its findings on the balance of probabilities. That is the normal way in which it would decide. because these are not criminal proceedings. This bill provides for the termination of employment of certain persons and it is not to be applied to criminal proceedings. We therefore use language which is applicable to civil proceedings. We have to decide in this place now whether, if the probabilities in the long run are so neatly balanced that a judge cannot say that they weigh down one side or the other, and cannot make up his mind regarding whether, on the whole of the evidence before him, the applicant body is or is not of a certain character, that equally balanced doubt is to be resolved in favour of allowing that organization to run free or in favour of the security of the country. I have never made any secret of my belief, and without any apology express it now that when that state of affairs arises, the security of the country at a time when it is in real danger must be paramount.
, - I think the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has put the position accurately. So far as the onus of proof is concerned the proceedings will not be criminal in character. The Prime Minister has indicated that if at the end of the evidence the court is left in doubt and if it is not, on the evidence, satisfied affirmatively on the probabilities, as in a civil proceeding, that the body is of the described character, then the court, instead of resolving that doubt in favour of the body, must resolve it against the body. That is, in substance, a good description of the final burden of proof on the whole case. This amendment leaves that burden squarely on the applicant. There might be many cases on which such a conclusion would be forced upon the court, but why do it deliberately ? I do not want to canvass the Prime Minister’s argument, but we say that it is not necessary in these four types of cases to use the method prescribed, because the results of a declaration not set aside will be these: First, the body will be declared unlawful. Secondly, everybody taking any part in keeping it alive will be liable to the heaviest sanctions of the law. Thirdly, every member of it, without exception, will become liable to be declared under a later clause of the bill. As I told the committee before, in such an organization the presence of a few Communists on its governing body or at its deliberations may be sufficient under paragraph (d) of subclause (1.) if the court is not satisfied to the contrary, to cause it to be declared unlawful. Those matters are such that the committee should not depart from the general rule in civil cases.
Question put -
That the amendment (Mr. Menzies’s)be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chaibman - Mr. C. F. Aderm ann.)
Majority . . . . 24
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 12.54 to 2.15 p.m.
Question put -
That sub-clause (4.), as amended, be agreed to-
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That sub-clause (5.) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following subclause?: - “ (5.) If, upon the hearing, the court find’s that the applicant is not a body to which this section applies,, the court shall set aside the declaration. “ (6)Ifthe court does not so find, the court shall dismiss the application and the declaration shall remain in force.”.
I am afraid that we are now committed to having a series of divisions on matters that were discussed before the suspension of the sitting.
– The Opposition will demand a division on this amendment.
-I understand that, but will it be necessary to have two divisions’? The amendment which the right honorablemember for Barton (Dr. Evatt ) will move, and which provides for the right of appeal against the decision of acourt, will be, in effect, submitted as proposed new sub-clanse (7.).
– I am much obliged to the Prime Minister. One division will cover the two subjects. The Opposition desires to test the point by a vote.
Question put -
That the amendment (Mr: Menzies’s) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C.F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 27
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the following sub-clause be added: - “ (7.) The applicant or the Commonwealth, as the case may be, may, within twenty-one days after the decision of a court under subsection (4.) or (5.) of this section, appeal against the decision -
where the application was made to the Supreme Court of a State - to the Full Court of that Supreme Court; or
where the application was made to the High Court or to the Supreme Court of a Territory of the Commonwealth - to the Full Court of the High Court, and the decision of the court on the appeal shall be final and conclusive.”.
The object of the amendment is to provide the right of appeal from a single judge to the full court of the appropriate court for an organization that has been declared. Under the bill as drafted the appeal was limited to a single justice of the High Court. The Opposition had circulated amendments to provide for an alternative appeal to the Supreme Court of a State or territory while preserving the right of appeal to the High Court and that part of its proposal was accepted by the Government in an amendment to which the committee agreed yesterday. The amendment now before the Chair involves a separate point which is of general importance because the declaration of an organization may involve the possibility that every single member of it may, under clause 9, be subsequently declared. By having that decision of the court made final, the consequences will not be limited to the organization but, under another clause of the bill, will affect each member. Therefore, the amendment is of great Importance to the individual so far as his employment is concerned. I ask the Government even at this late stage to accept the principle of appeal from a single judge to the full court of the appropriate court to theFull Court of the High Court from a single justice of the High Court or from the Supreme Court of a territory. Everything that has been said previously by honorable members, not only on this side, but also on the other side of the chamber, emphasizes the importance of the amendment when the judicial procedures are to be so limited and the onus of proof is to be placed upon the accused. The final decision should rest with the full court, that is a court composed of not fewer than three judges.
– In order to consider the significance of the amendment it is necessary that I should look at the next amendment that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) proposes to move because they both form part of a. pattern. The effect of the amendment that he has just moved would be that the organization, or the Commonwealth, asthe case may be, may, within 21 days after the decision of a court, appeal against the decision to the Full Court of a Supreme Court or to the Full Court of the High Court, whichever is the appropriate body, and the decision of the court on the appeal shall be final and conclusive. Let us take a particular case. For instance, let us take the Eureka Youth League which, I believe, will be recognized by most honorable members as a Communist body.
– It is a pity to prejudge.
– I have heard honorable members opposite make that statement. If it appears to the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) to be a pity to pre-judge, he should address himself to his colleagues. But, in case honorable members opposite havesusceptible tendencies about the Eureka Youth League, let us take an organization which I shall describe as “A”. It might be regarded by some, if not by all, members of the Parliament as being a Communist body. It is declared, and it makes application to the court. In due course that application is heard. Under the bill, the declaration continues in effect, but the organization makes its application to the court and the court decides against it. Then, under the amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton, the organization would have three weeks within which to lodge an appeal against the decision and the matter would be taken to the Full Court. Depending on the circumstances, the hearing might come on in one or two months’ time, and when it is dealt with, that is the end of the proceedings. But what would be the effect of the next amendment that the right honorable member for Barton proposes to move? That amendment reads -
Where the body applies to a court to set aside the declaration, the body shall not be dissolved where the final result of the proceedings (including any appeal) is the setting aside of the declaration, or before the time specified in this sub-section, and the time of dissolution of a body which has made such an application but which does not succeed in having the declaration finally set aside shall be -
where the application is dismissed but the body does not, within a period of twently-one days after the dismissal, appeal against the dismissal in accordance with the last preceding section - the expiration of that period;
So, in the first instance the organization is guaranteed continuity of life and activity for the period from the declaration and the first application to the court up to the date of the decision of the court, and for 21 days thereafter until the period for notice of appeal lapses or, where the appeal is decided, to the day on which the appeal is decided. I wish to make that clear. A body is declared. It decides to make an application to the court. Under the amendment now moved by the right honorable member for Barton, the declaration would be then suspended and the organization could continue in its activities. The judge would later determine the matter. If his decision were against the body concerned, it would then have a further three weeks of activity unimpeded, because it would have time to give notice of appeal until the period of three weeks has run out. The organization could then give notice of appeal, and then continue to have a further period of activity until that appeal were actually decided against it; and at that point in time, which might be from three to six months after the original declaration, the declaration would become effective.
If we were dealing with ordinary litigation between private citizens, the provisions of the amendment would be admirable. But we are not doing that. We are dealing with what in the unanimous opinion of the committee is a conspiracy against the safety of Australia. I emphasize that point because clauses 2 and 4 and subclauses (1.) and (2.) of this clause have been agreed to without a division in this committee and every member of the Opposition has voted for them.
– Or has not voted at all.
– Does the honorable member suggest that, although some honorable members opposite were against ‘ those clauses. they were not prepared to vote against them? If so, I should like him to go on record as saying, “ No, we have not voted for them; we have not voted at all “. All I can say is that honorable members of the Opposition were present when the Chairman put the question and there were no “ Noes “. If honorable members opposite like to do so, they can explain to their constituents that, although they were against the bill, they did not care to say so by their vote. They can do that if they want to, but I do not think that they will do so. I do not think that the honorable member for Perth disapproves of the provisions of this clause. I am certain that if he did, he would have voted against them.
– We might have if we had had the time on the second reading.
– Am I to understand from that interjection that but for the “ guillotine “ the honorable member for Perth would have spoken against the bill and voted against it?
– I rise to order, Mr. Chairman. I ask whether the Prime Minister’s remarks have anything at all to do with the right of appeal which the amendment presupposes.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).I rule that there is no point of order.
– It is wrong to say that the amendment presupposes that there should be an appeal to the full court. That proposition is put forward in the amendment which presupposes nothing; it proposes that there should be such an appeal. Therefore, I am using what I have gathered to be an uncomfortable argument for honorable members opposite. I have shown that this amendment, if agreed to, would produce a delay of months, and what I ask the committee to consider is whether in matters of this moment, the character of which has received the unanimous support of the committee - unless honorable members are to be heard to say that although they were against the bill they would not say so - we ought to allow a delay of that kind.
There is a second point that is of importance. When we reach clause 9 we shall find corresponding provisions which deal with individuals; and individual saboteurs of very great importance. Clause 9 (1.) reads- la.) This section applies to any person who was, at any time after the specified date and before the date upon which an unlawful association is dissolved by this Act, a member or officer of that unlawful association;
Unless such an individual happens to be a member or an officer of the Communist party dissolved by the force of clause 4, he cannot be declared until after his association has become an unlawful association. Therefore, if the declaration of illegality of the body be postponed for six, seven, or eight months by the law’s delays, it would be impossible, for exactly the same period) to declare any office-bearer of that body under the provisions of clause 9. Therefore this amendment would not merely cause delay in dealing with an organization, but also to make it impossible during the currency of that delay to deal with individuals connected with that body.
– Does the right honorable gentleman think that the time factor is more important than justice?
– I believe in justice.
Mr. Beazley interjecting,
– I do not mind taking on both of the honorable gentlemen as long as . they both sing the same tune. Of course I believe in justice, but I see no justice in allowing the fabric of the lives of the Australian people to be undermined by a conspiracy, and I see no justice in allowing that undermining process to continue under the cloak of the law’s delays for nine precious months at a time when the country is in danger.
– I do not think the right honorable gentleman believes in justice.
– I gathered that that was so. Unfortunately the honorable member for Perth at the moment is in a sort of agnostic frame of mind. He really does not know what he himself believes. In one breath he indicates that he believes in the instant dissolution, without trial and without appeal of the Communist party. Does he not know-
– This seems to hurt the Government.
– Not as much as I could hurt some people if I answered that interjection. Do not wriggle over this business. Let one of the Opposition members sitting on the front bench who is well able to express its views, explain to the committee - and he has plenty of time to do so - why it is consistent with justice to destroy the Communist party, without hearing and without appeal, under the provisions of clause 4, and inconsistent with justice to refuse to allow a period of continued activity for six months or nine months to a body which fits the description-
– Which the right honorable member thinks is attached to the Communist party?
– The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) has not given this measure the attention that it deserves.
– We are supposed to be considering the amendment. Perhaps the right honorable gentleman might return to the matter before the Chair.
– The right honorable member for Barton would like me to say, “Yes, sir; what you say is right”; but what I say to the right honorable gentleman in this instance, as I invariably say to him, is, “No, sir; what you say is wrong”, and I shall demonstrate that it is wrong.
– May we have the ruling from the Chair on the point of order I raised five or ten minutes ago?
– I ruled at the time that no point of order was involved. The Prime Minister is linking his remarks with the matter before the Chair. Interjections must cease and the Prime Minister must proceed to discuss the amendment.
– We may sum up the matter simply. It is idle to pretend that we may not look at the provisions of clause 9, or at the next amendment. The right honorable member for Barton is much too long in the tooth, if I may use that expression, to suppose that we can take one part of his amendments and consider it out of its relation with the others. The fact is that this is the first step. What is proposed is that there should he the right of appeal beyond a judge to the Full Court on a question not of law but of fact, that during the pendency of that appeal the organization concerned should be completely free to carry on its activities, and that until the appeal has been ultimately determined and the illegality of the body established, we may not, under the provisions of clause 9, proceed to declare any individual who happens to be a member or an officebearer of that body. That, clearly, is the position. What I have said cannot be controverted. Opposition members may believe it or not, but that would be the result. When the committee understands the result I have no doubt what it will do.
.- The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has not addressed himself to the point at all. The question is whether there should be an appeal from a single judge to the Full Court in the appropriate court, the very nature of the appeal assuming that the judge’s decision in the first instance was wrong and that the Full Court may correct him and reverse it. Every honorable member knows that the very purpose of an appeal is to set aside a decision of a judge in the first instance on the ground that it should not have been made. Therefore, when the Prime Minister says that that will result in delay,- it is only another way of securing that an appeal shall become effective if the judge was wrong in the first instance. That happens with every appeal.
– An appeal could be effective whether the judge was right or wrong.
– Yes, in his decision confirming the declaration of the GovernorGeneral that the body concerned should be declared. If the court thinks that th© judge was wrong, the provisions of the clause must be carried to their logical conclusion and the dissolution approved by the judge in the first instance must also be. set aside, and with it the decision that by hypothesis was wrong. If the decision had been made by a single justice of the
High Court it must go to the High Court; if it had been made by a single judge of a Supreme Court it would go to the three judges of the Supreme Court. What does the Prime Minister want? The right honorable gentleman has pointed out that under the provisions of clause 6 the dissolution of an organization will be suspended pending the hearing of the appeal. What kind of confusion would exist if the dissolution declaration operated, the property of the organization was taken and the court, on appeal, set aside the judgment of the single judge in the first instance? The result would be chaotic. A right of appeal to the Full Court is of the greatest importance. The Prime Minister has said that it would he dreadful to delay the matter because while the case was before the Full Court individuals could not be dealt with under the provisions of clause 9. That is so because they can be dealt with under those provisions only if they are members of unlawful associations. If the judge in the first instance upholds the declaration and the Full Court subsequently says that the declaration has been wrongly made, the Government should have no right to touch the individual. That is the important point in this matter. I stated this morning that thousands of persons who are neither leaders of the Communist party nor known members of that party are members of associations with large memberships. The Prime Minister has referred to the Australian Peace Congress. I take that body as an example without knowing anything of its organization or control. If the Australian Peace Congress were declared by a judge in the first instance in confirmation of the declaration of the Governor-General, and the Full Court subsequently regarded that decision as wrong and set it aside, its decision would affect every member of the congress. In the Prime Minister’s own persuasive way he has said that if the Communist party is declared unlawful no appeal will be allowed, and that that is a decision of the legislature. He then asked, “ Why worry about the affiliated bodies ? “ The answer to his question is contained in his own bill in which he has made a distinction, and a very proper distinction between the two. Their relationship to the Communist party becomes very tenuous as we go from paragraphs (a) to (d) of sub-clause (1.) of this clause. He has said that affiliated organizations will not be declared unlawful until the Governor-General has decided that they come within the provisions of this clause and that they are likely to be guilty of subversive conduct. He has prevented an appeal from being made to the court on their behalf. That is the position. This principle involves the property of each body which is declared unlawful and also of every single member of it who may be declared under clause 9. Every member of such an organization may be involved in litigation. The decision of the single judge should he open to review, not merely by the organization, but also by the Government. It is a right that should be extended, not only to an organization, but also to the Commonwealth itself. Let us take the opposite case. Supposing a judge wrongly refuses to declare an organization. Why should not the Commonwealth have the same right to appeal to the Full Court to have the decision of the single judge reviewed ? What is right for one is also right for the other. We submit that both the Commonwealth and the associations should have the right of appeal to have a declaration reviewed. In the decisions of the Full Court of either the Supreme Court or of the High Court we get the combined judgment of all of the members of the court. That is the purpose of this amendment. The Prime Minister has made no attempt to answer it.
, - I am disturbed by the admission by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) during the committee debate that he can visualize borderline cases in which an appellant person or organization cannot satisfy the court that he or it should not be declared and in which the court is not completely satisfied to the contrary. The Prime Minister admitted that in such cases the decision would go against the appellant. If such a decision is possible surely common decency and British justice demand that that person or organization should have the right to appeal to the Full Court which would reflect the opinions of more than one judge. The right honorable gentleman has also said that an appeal would be based, not on a point of law, but on a point of fact. With great respect, I dispute that contention, i can very well imagine the lawyers who will appear in these appeal cases having a great deal to say on whether the definition of “ Communist “ as set out in the bill applies only to people who adhere to all the aspects of Communist teachings or whether it applies also to people who only believe in one or more of the Communist policies or teachings. 1 could very well imagine a lawyer - and he would not need to have very much ability - putting up a fairly convincing case that this bill, in actual fact,, does cover any person who supports any one of the teachings of Karl Marx and it would not be for the court to say that that was not the intention of Parliament. If the court carried out its duty as it is supposed to do, it would look at the act. When it did that it would find that the act said that a Communist was a person who supported or advocated, not all of the objectives, but any of the objectives policies, teachings, or practices of communism as expounded by Marx and Lenin. Free education is a classic example of how wide the scoria of the bill is. Not merely points of fact but also points of law would have to be determined. Members of any party and even people who were not members of the Communist party but who opposed communism could easily be brought within the dragnet of the bill and declared to be Communists. If a majority of people on the committee of any association supported free education that association could be declared as a Communist organization because they were supporters of a doctrine which constituted Dart of the teachings of Marx. All this claptrap about these bodies which are going to cause tremendous harm to the country and all this ballyhoo about the terrific danger to the State can be completely forgotten when it is remembered that the Communist party, as such, is already dealt with in this bill. The Government does not want to deal with the Communist party because it has not the courage to do so and it is going to delay this bill in the houe that it will be rejected in another place on this aspect which is trivial compared with the main objects of the hil but terribly important to justice-loving people. Apparently the Government is going to insist on this clause because the Opposition has agreed to the dissolution of the Communist party. The Government is living in the hope that the bill >will be rejected because of this clause.
.- Honorable members of the Opposition have suggested that there should be a right of appeal to the High Court. In support of that contention they have drawn an analogy with criminal proceedings. That is an entirely false analogy. No criminal proceedings are referred to in this bill. The whole object of the measure is “to prevent persons who are likely to be :a danger to the country from holding -office either in the Public Service or in -organizations where they could endanger the security of the country. I suggest that it is quite false to draw an analogy with criminal proceedings. No lawabiding citizen is endangered in any way by this bill, which aims to deal with traitors who are attempting to undermine the defences of this country.
Before a person can be declared under this bill, a report will have to be made by the security service. This security service is not a woolly-headed body of men. It is an expert service which was appointed by the Chifley Government and which is presided over by a very highly respected judge of the “Supreme- Court of South Australia. That service is not going to recommend that any association or individual be declared unless it has the clearest proof that that organization or individual is acting contrary to the interests of this nation. After the report has been received from the security service it will be examined by the Executive Council, ft will be examined by the Cabinet which comprises the responsible Ministers of this country. If those Ministers act in an unjust manner this Parliament has its remedy for it can change the Government at any time. If this Parliament does not choose to change a Government which has interfered with the proper liberty and freedom o” the individual the people have the right to change the Parliament at the conclusion of its term. Honorable members of the Opposition suggest that there should be a right of appeal in order to protect the rights of any individual or organization that might be improperly declared. There is absolutely *no need for the delay that would be caused by such an appeal because there is ample protection under existing legislation for the rights of the people. The first of those protections is the investigation by the Security Service. There is also the examination by the responsible Ministers of the Crown who must accept and who do accept full responsibility for their actions. Then there is the overlordship of this Parliament which keeps an eye on every organization and individual. Finally, there is the protection of the electorate. Every elector in Australia has a member in this House to represent him and that member can voice the opinions of an individual or organization which has been improperly declared. It is clear that an appeal would be nothing but a waste of time and money. It has been held time and time again that a court of appeal will not interfere with the decision of a court of first instance, upon a question of fact. An application to a courtunder this bill could involve nothing but a question of fact. The judge in the first instance has an opportunity of hearing witnesses and of seeing them. A court of appeal would not hear those witnesses nor would it see them. If the right honorable member for Barton reads the judgments which he has given in the High Court time and time again he will see that it is not the function of a court of appeal to upset the decision of a court of first instance on a question of fact. If the right honorable gentleman refers to his own judgments he will see that the fundamental principle of a court of appeal is that unless no man or body of men could have acted as the trial judge decided that he had acted, the court of appeal will . not upset the decision of the court of first instance on a question of fact. Therefore, I suggest that the proposed amendment of the right honorable member for Barton means absolutely nothing. It is simply a sop to the electorate and an attempt to protect certain persons and organizations which are a clanger to this country by giving them time and opportunity to save themselves and to proceed with their actions to the further danger of the defence of this country. As the
Prime Minister has said, by its agreement on the preamble and previous clauses of the bill, this chamber has already decided that the Communist party and its affiliated organizations are a danger to the safety and security of the country. Every loyal Australian will support those who are aiming to secure the defences of this country rather than those who are aiming to undermine them.
,- The honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) passed in a very slippery manner over the objectionable features of this clause as the Government introduced it. In the first place, the honorable gentleman implied, all through his speech, that when the judge with whom the appeal lies has made a decision against a body there should be no appeal against that decision. The honorable member did not face the implication of the clause as the Government has arranged it which is that the judge is not in a position to declare an organization an unlawful association. The onus of proof being on the defendants, if they have not been able to advance facts to prove the negative, the declaration is to be confirmed by the court although the judge would be in a state of doubt. That is the position as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) explained it this morning. When there is a doubt, that doubt is to be resolved in favour of the Crown and a decision having been arrived at, despite that doubt, there win be no right of appeal. Like the Prime Minister, the honorable member for Sturt associated the kind of organization we are now discussing with the Communist party, but he did not attempt to answer the objection of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) that the Communist party under this bill is given no right of appeal. The people to whom the Government is giving a limited form of appeal are treated as being in a different category from the Communistparty, yet every time this category is discussed an emotional feeling against the Communists is invoked against these people in order to prevent a proper discussion of the nature of the bill. If justice can be much more swiftly done by a simple declaration, why allow any sort of appeal ? The Government has allowed a limited form of appeal with the onus of proof lying on the defendant in the first instance but honorable members opposite have said that there is grave danger id allowing a further appeal to the Full Court. The Prime Minister went on to deal with the relevance of the clause which deals with organizations and the one that deals with persons. The Government proposes- to pin down individuals by what might, be called a “ double-banger “ doubt. The Government, may think that an organization ha? some connexion with the Communist party. There may be some doubt, but the doubt will be resolved in favour of the Crown, with the result that the organization will become an unlawful association. A certain person may be suspected, of having some association with the doubtfully unlawful organization. The onus of proof of his innocence will be thrown upon him and, although there will be a double doubt, he will become a guilty person in the eyes of the law. Personswho are definitely members of an organization that is declared to be unlawful, on doubt, will, of course, have no appeal.. The process of conviction that is proposed’ is the most tenuous that has ever been suggested in this Parliament. It is not astonishing, that, when the Prime Minister was confronted with a proposal to grant a right of appeal to three or more judges of the Supreme Court or the Full Court or the High Court, he could only stand like a clown, trawling for interjections, so that he could hit at people personally without discussing the clause at all.
.- Thenumber of cases in which the degree of doubt would be such that the court could not decide, on the facts before it, whether a declaration should be confirmed or not would be remarkably small. It must be remembered that, under the Australian method of law as under the British method of law, there is nothing similar to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In Australia, the courts make their decisions on questions of fact. No intermediate course is open to them. After examining the facts, they say that they consider the defendant to be either guilty or not guilty on the balance of probabilities. Under this bill, they will- decide on the balance of probabilities whether the Government was justified iri making a declaration or whether its decision should be set aside. The argument that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) has based upon jurisdiction in ecclesiastical courts in adultery cases does not apply in Australia and never has applied here, as he well knows. I am sure that if I examined some of the judgments that he had written, I should find one that would support my case. He knows very well that three or four honorable members in this chamber have been his practical students for many years and know a great deal about what he has written and said. There is another point to be considered. Whatever happens, a judicial authority always has a power to add a rider if it wants to do so. In any ease arising under this legislation, if the appropriate court considered that the scales might be just weighed down in favour of the respondent, which would be the Government, it could add a rider to the effect that the evidence available to it had been only just sufficient to justify the continuation of a declaration. In such an eventuality, does it not stand to reason that the Government would be quite willing to re-open the matter, give it further consideration and collect additional evidence and., if it decided that there was anything wrong with its case, to cancel the declaration? Sub-clause (6.) of clause 9 provides that a declaration may be revoked. We can be reasonably certain that the Government would be happy to reconsider the declaration of an individual if the court issued a rider in the circumstances that I have mentioned. Therefore, the argument that has been based upon the neutral position of a court has no validity in relation to Australian or British courts.
Another issue that has been raised relates to the prompt disposal of cases. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has pointed out very clearly that we cannot afford to brook too much delay. A person cannot be declared under clause 9 of the bill unless he is a Communist or a member of a declared organization. If there should be any delay in declaring an organization to be an illegal and subversive association, the period during which the members of that body could operate unhindered could be extended perhaps by nine months. Such delays would be entirely objectionable. They would have the effect of permitting organizations to go further underground and prepare the way for additional undercover subversive activities. That would completely nullify the object of the bill. I am proud to know that the Prime Minister has rejected the proposed amendment and has said in clear terms that any traitorous organization must go and will be dissolved as soon as we can possibly get rid of it. We should be well advised to try to clarify our ideas in relation to sub-clause (4.) of this clause. Under that provision, the security service will produce certain facts on which it will say, in effect, “ We believe (a) that this man is a Communist or a traitor, and (6) that his activities are prejudicial to the safety of Australia “. The case will be submitted to the Executive Council, which, on lie facts, will have the right to declare the individual. The person may then appeal to a judge of the Supreme Court or a justice of the High Court. The appeal will be decided entirely on a question of fact, as was the case with the original decision. As the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) pointed out, an appellate court will not hear an appeal unless there is no evidence on which the case should have gone to a jury or unless the decision was so manifestly absurd that the jury should never have reached it. Obviously, if the Executive Council made a decision that was so manifestly wrong as to be absurd, or in respect of which there were no facts upon which the decision should have been reached, the judge to whom an appeal was made would set aside the declaration. There is nothing whatever to commend the amendment that has been proposed by the right honorable member for Barton, and I hope that it will be rejected.
.- The last three speeches that have been made by supporters of the Government have filled me with dismay. They were made by lawyers, who showed utter contempt for the law. I was astonished to hear such an eminent legal authority as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) refer to the slow processes of the courts as a. reason why justice should not he pursued. The people who have heard his statement will understand that the Government is trying to rush the provisions of the bill into operation with an indecent haste that smacks not of justice but of fascism. This legal gentleman treats laymen with high disdain when he expounds his own narrow point of view upon legal matters. He swept from the chamber after he had made his speech because he was annoyed that his majesty had been challenged by honorable members who questioned his interpretation of the law. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) submitted his very important amendment placidly, decently and calmly, but it was treated with contempt by the Government. The man who argues that appeals to the Supreme Court or the High Court should not be allowed because the processes of the courts are slow, and that the time factor is more important than justice, is not worthy to be a lawyer. The Prime Minister cannot wait to get his way until the “ guillotine “ falls, regardless of the old tag, “ Let justice be done, though the heavens fall “. The amendment that has been submitted by the right honorable member for Barton involves one of the most important issues in relation to those two ugly twins, the onus of proof and the right of unrestricted search, that have ever come before this Parliament. The Prime Minister was strongly supported by the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson), another lawyer, who referred to the waste of time and money involved in appeals. As an explorer of legal technicalities, he does not deserve such fame as rightly surrounds the name of the explorer after whom the honorable gentleman’s electorate is named and who travelled through the deserts of South Australia. The honorable member said that the Opposition’s proposal was an insult to the electors.
Does the Government in its vanity and pigheadedness, believe that there ought to be no appeal from its decisions? Is it satisfied that the courts are ready to do what it wants them to do? That would be an insult to the courts of justice. The laymen in this chamber scarcely dare to question the learned Prime Minister, who regards himself as the legal giant of this community. When the honorable mem-
Mr. Haylen. ber for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) interpolated a valid interjection during theright honorable gentleman’s speech, hewas virtually swept off his feet. ThePrime Minister, fearing that his law was becoming , loose began to act a part. That is always his form in this chamber, and we know just how to deal with him when he behaves in that way. Having finished his speech, the prima donna swept from the chamber. That was the final scene in his act. Apparently he is prepared to do anything in order to hasten the passage of this measure. To deny the right of appeal simply because a court might take nine months to deal with the matter would be a negation of justice that would appal any thinking person anywhere in the civilized world. The most outstanding battles of legal history have been the long drawn out struggles in which simple people who have found themselves in the toils of the law have appealed for justice. The statement by the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon). another lawyer, that he Was proud of this measure was a little too fantastic for anybody to accept. I do not think that he made the statement seriously. I believe that, having been nominated to press a line of argument, he was carried away by his own enthusiasm. I noticed that, like his leader, he darted from the chamber as soon as he had finished his speech. This clause is . so important that it should not be left entirely to lawyers like the Prime Minister, and other legal members on the Government side of the chamber who, perhaps, are not making their way in their chosen profession so successfully as he has done. In this instance, the laymen should be called upon to interpret the wishes of the people, who want to see justice done. Perhaps their concept of justice, in the final analysis, may be higher than the concept of the lawyers, always excepting that brilliant exponent of the law, the right honorable member for Barton. I was appalled to notice what scant attention was given to justice by the Prime Minister in relation to the most important principle in British justice, the right of appeal to the uttermost limit, and I was shocked when his followers sang the same song.
.- I have not spoken previously on this bill, but I cannot restrain myself any further from expressing my views on the amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who has just resumed his seat referred to the layman’s concept of justice. This bill is now before the committee to enable us laymen to exercise our concept of necessity.
– I remind the honorable member that necessity knows no law.
– I thank the honorable member. That is the position to-day. I am surprised to hear from honorable members of the Labour party, particularly from the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and others who have had long experience in responsible positions in this Parliament, that they have decided to ignore the dangerous situation created by communism and the forces behind it. I should not be surprised at that I suppose, when I consider the past history of this Parliament and of the members of the Labour party in it. When this country was in the throes of the last great war and a non-Labour government tried to introduce national security regulations to ensure the safety of Australia, Labour members en masse voted against their introduction. I remind the committee also that about twelve months after that time when the then Leader of the Labour party, the late John Curtin of honorable memory, indicated his support of the National Security Regulations, there were still members of his party who voted against him.
– I hope the honorable member will link this up to the clause.
– This is an amendment to give an organization the right of a second appeal. We say that because of the emergency which faces Australia to-day that right is not necessary. I shall show why the Labour party refuses to recognize that. In 1942, when a brutal invader was almost on the shores of this country, the leader of the Labour Government went to a small clique of the party, the caucus, to obtain from it a decision on whether Australia should defend itself and whether the resources of this country should be conscripted to ensure its survival. The people who pursued that course are to-day attempting to deceive the people of Australia into a belief that there is no necessity for this legislation which provides for drastic measures to be taken against the enemies of this country. Such honorable members are only following the line that they have followed throughout the years.
– “The Brisbane line?”
– There would not have been any talk of “ the Brisbane line “ had honorable members opposite had had their way in 1942. There would have been no line at all. The enemy would have been allowed to walk unresisted into the country. I hope that the people of Australia will realize that the opposition to this clause is for one of two reasons. Either the opponents of the bill blindly refuse to recognize the danger facing us, or they are putting up a sham fight in order to protect themselves against the small number of people who exercise a vote and who are members of a Communist organization or have communistic ideas.
– Has the honorable member ever heard of British justice ?
– Yes, I have. This measure is designed to retain British justice for us, and not to sell it out to some foreign ideology. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), judging by his demeanour, would appear to regard that statement as humorous. If he does, then I suggest that he has no right to be in this chamber while the country is undergoing a critical test. This bill does not attack a philosophy; it states quite plainly the necessity for attacking communism. I should like to tackle the individual Communist in this speech, but unfortunately the committee is now dealing with a sub-clause concerned only with subversive organizations.
– The honorable member cannot continue to discuss the general subject of communism.
– I am discussing the organization responsible for attempting to impose the whole of the objectives of communism on the people of this country, and which is also responsible for attempting to sell us out. The amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton does not grapple with the danger. Whether that is done designedly or unknowingly, I leave to the consciences of honorable members. While this Government attempts to curb sabotage, and the subversive activities of those engaged in Communist organizations, the Opposition would throw a spanner into the works and let the saboteurs carry on for months. I point out to the right honorable member for Barton that a criminal, convicted of a serious crime in a court of law, who cares to exercise his right of appeal is still kept under restraint until his appeal is heard. Surely if that restraint is imposed upon an individual who, at the most, could harm two or three people, it is all the more necessary to restrain as soon as possible organizations which could harm so many more people. If we allow them to continue to exist after they have been declared, and the declaration has been confirmed by a court, we may as well throw the bill straight out. If this amendment is carried, the vote of the Opposition that the bill is necessary, will be of no value. This matter is vital and we must be able to act without delay. I point out to those honorable members who are suspicious of this clause because they think it will act harshly on some innocent body that I do not think there is an organization of any kind in Australia - and I say this with some sense of responsibility - that is entirely free of Communists.
– What about the Liberal party?
– I am not talking about political organizations. From the universities down to humble progress associations, from city councils to rural councils, there is not an organization that is entirely free of Communists. The purpose of this bill is clearly stated. It is to prevent Communists from making use of these bodies as a means of propaganda. The recitals set out the Communist practices quite clearly. It is only when a body is used for such purposes that it will be dealt with under the bill.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The committee has been given a variety of entertainment in the last hour or so by honorable members who have spoken on this clause. The committee has heard the asinine rantings of the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) and has seen something of a ballet-dance entertainment by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). The latter gentleman has certainly great capacity in debate and in speech-making ;. but his capacity ends there. He is not a man with the administrative capacity togovern this country, as has been demonstrated before. I want to draw the attention of the committee to a statement made by the honorable member for Moore in which he said that almost every organization in this country would comewithin the ambit of this bill.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable gentleman said that there are Communistsassociated with all organizations including progress associations, municipal, councils and others. He excepted only political parties. This bill covers any organization which contains Communists amongst its members who are capableof dictating or influencing its policy. Any local progress association or any other body, therefore, according to thehonorable member for Moore, could bebanned; and any member of the organization could come within the provisions of this bill. One has only to listen long enough in this committee to understand what is in the minds of some of the members on the Government side and to get an idea of the bodies that might be banned. One can then understand’ why the Labour party advocates sostrongly a right of appeal. The Prime Minister made much of the fact that the Labour party supported the bill, including clause 4. We did support the clausedealing with the declaration of the Communist party, the appointment of a receiver and so on. No appeal existsfor the Communist organization, and the Labour party accepts that position because it feels that the Government has a mandate to deal with the Communist party, and it is in accord with such action. The Prime Minister made the point that the Opposition supported the clause and did not vote against it. “We do support it, but we claim that there must be greater discrimination between clause 4 and clause 5. Clause 5, which is now being considered, deals with affiliated organizations which may be declared unlawful. “What is an affiliated organization? As the various clauses envisage, even organizations -which contain a few members of the Communist party can be declared. Many innocent people may be caught up under this clause. We claim that they are entitled, therefore, to an appeal.
The Government itself has diacriminated in this bill between the Communist party and other organizations. The Opposition has not introduced the discrimination; the Government itself has done that. The Government says that organizations other than the Communist party should come into a different category. I believe that if the Government is given power at all it should be -given power to deal with the Communist party and to follow that party into other organizations. In exercising that power it should not be given authority to deal willy nilly with anybody at all and to involve any persons who are in any way associated with the philosophy or the party itself.
As I have pointed out, the Labour party has allowed the Government the widest scope to deal with the Communist party itself, but Opposition members place certain reservations upon the Government’s powers to deal with bodies other than the Communist organization. The Labour party has circulated certain amendments which provide that the Commonwealth, or a declared organization, shall have the right to appeal against a decision related to the original declaration. The Prime Minister denies even to the Commonwealth the right to appeal against the decision of the judge who hears an appeal, Perhaps a Communist organization, through practising some form of deceit, may be able temporarily to convince the court that it should not be declared, yet the Common wealth will not have the right to appeal against that decision. The Government is denying the Commonwealth the right of appeal against a verdict in favour of an organization that might be engaged in subversive activities. It is as important that the Commonwealth should have the right of appeal as it is that an organization should have such a right. For that reason, and for many other reasons, I support the amendment which has been submitted by the right honorable member for Barton. Justice can be done only by ensuring that a case shall be properly heard. When Japan entered World War II. the Australia First Movement was declared, and all the persons who were associated with it were interned. Justice was not done to some of them, and had they not possessed a proper right of appeal, they would still be suffering the stigma of being disloyal to their country. But the right honorable member for Barton, who was then the Attorney-General, made provision for the members of the Australia First Movement to appeal against their internment, and they had a proper trial. Some of them were able to clear their names and they were paid compensation. The Commonwealth or an organization, should not be denied the right to appeal against the decision of a court in the first instance, and, for that reason, I strongly support the amendment.
– I desire to mate a personal explanation.
– Order ! Has the honorable member been misrepresented?
– Yes, I was misrepresented by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), who stated that I said that every organization, because it had Communists in its ranks, could be declared under this bill. I did not make that statement. I said that no organization can claim to be entirely free from Communists.
– A distinction without a difference.
– I am entitled to make my position clear. I proceeded to point out in my speech that it was only when the Communists attempted to use an organization, with which they were associated, to achieve their own objectives that that organization should be brought within the ambit of this legislation.
– That is not so.
– Because they are Communists
– I rise to order. The honorable gentleman is entitled to explain why he considers that he has been misrepresented, but I submit that he is making another speech.
– Order ! The Chair will be the judge of that.
– I have been misrepresented, and I claim the right to make a personal explanation.
– The honorable member is lucky to have the right of appeal.
– I am not introducing new matter into my personal explanation. The honorable member for Darling has deliberately misconstrued my statement, and I make it perfectly clear that the mere presence of Communists in an organization will not bring it within the ambit of this legislation. It will be affected only if the Communists attempt to use it in order to attain their objectives.
.- I am astounded that the Opposition is so squeamish about dealing with people like those Communists who, a few days ago, endeavoured to force their way into the Sydney Town Hall. The Labour party, which is advocating that Communist organizations should have the right of appeal against a declaration, was not so willing to grant the private banks the right of appeal when the then Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) introduced the Banking Bill in 1947. That legislation was drafted in such a way that, had it become law, it :ould have been assented to at night time, i-nd the private banks could have been taken over by the Commonwealth Bank on the following morning. They would not have had a right of appeal against that action. If the private banks had not taken out an injunction against the Government, that policy would have been put into operation. Opposition members were so anxious to take over the banks that they did not allow them, or their employees, any right in the matter. The Banking Act even provided for the impo sition of penalties on employees who left their employment without permission. Yet Opposition members are upset because the Communists will not be allowed the right of appeal against a declaration. I am wondering whether their concern is sincere, or whether they are only the dupes of some people who have ulterior motives. A person may not be game to torpedo a ship, but he may be prepared to go aboard and endeavour to drop sand into the works. I believe that Opposition members were net game to vote against the motion for the second reading of the bill, but they have now come, aboard the ship and are endeavouring to put sand into the works.
.- I shall deal first with the remarks of the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar).
– That will not take long.
– I agree. The honorable gentleman expressed surprise about the policy which the Labour party has adopted towards the bill as a whole, and towards certain clauses. I give him an assurance, very firmly and deliberately, that if the Government accepts the reasonable amendments which the Opposition proposes to submit, and which are vital to the proper exercise of the judicial function and to the retention of individual liberty and British justice, the bill will have a speedy .passage. But if the Government does not accept those reasonable amendments, I personally will cause delay until certain clauses can be tested in the only place where they can be finally tested. The onus of delaying the progress of this bill will rest upon the Government.
– Is that a threat?
– The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) can interpret that statement as he wishes.
– Will not the honorable member for Perth lose his seat if he opposes this bill?
– The former honorable member for Lilley, Mr. Hadley, would not have thought for a moment whether his action in supporting a vital principle would cause him to lose his seat He would have retained it or lost i+. on that principle. Apparently, the present member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) does not take that view. At the last general election I had a majority of approximately 75, and if only 3S of the people who voted for me were to disapprove of my attitude to thi3 hill, I suppose that I should be defeated at an election on that issue. However, I am prepared to gamble with my small majority and to rely on the good sense of the Australian people, who demand, above all things and at all times, that the freedom of the individual shall be preserved and that justice shall prevail.
As I have stated, the responsibility for any delays that may occur in the passage of this bill will rest with the Government. Some of the views that have been expressed by Government supporters on this provision present a queer contradiction. Each successive speech which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) makes provides added justification for the Labour party’s point of view. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Fraser), in his second-reading speech, said that the right honorable gentleman was growing more arrogant in outlook clay by day, and more disdainful and contemptuous of opposition, regardless of the quarter from which it came. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond), who was a member of the Parliament of New South Wales for many years, and who had a fine reputation as Minister for Education, has said, in effect. “ This is a terrible bill, and we accept -it only because the emergency is grave and danger is imminent “. We have begun to appreciate the apparent democratic instincts of the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon), but he has said unreservedly that he is proud to be associated with this bill. Is any other Government supporter game to repeat that statement? Is any other Government supporter sufficiently courageous to echo the opinion of the honorable member for New England that he accepts the bill only because the situation is grave ?
– Does the honorable member for Perth accept the bill?
– No, I treat it with complete contempt. Tt will be quite futile in practice. Indeed, the honorable member for Lowe has supported my view with an accidental remark when he said, in effect, “ Unless this legislation is passed, we shall drive the Communists further underground “. Apparently the honorable gentleman fears that the Communists will be driven underground, and that, therefore, this bill must be passed without delay. But Opposition members have warned the Government that the bill will drive the Communists further underground.
I now return to the kernel of the amendment. The Opposition contends that the Commonwealth and an organization which has been declared should each have the right of appeal against the original decision of a court. Let us suppose that an organization succeeds in convincing the court that it should not have been declared. The Commonwealth may not have produced all the evidence in its possession at the first hearing, and may be allowed to introduce new evidence if it has the right of appeal. That right should be preserved to the Commonwealth and to an organization that is declared. However, I desire to make another point. The Commonwealth and State parliaments have passed a variety of laws for the protection of the property of individuals and of the State. Under those laws, a person who acts in a manner which is detrimental to private property or to the Sta te may be prosecuted, and, if he is convicted, lodged in gaol. As the honorable, member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) has stated, that individual may be physically restrained, and therefore, the ordinary laws of the land prevent him from, exercising his power to do further harm. This bill, which has been hastily introduced by the Government and which sacrifices the principles of fundamental justice does not restrain a declared person in the way the public will be told it does. A proclamation may be issued that a certain person is a traitor, a. saboteur, an international gangster and the supporter of an international conspiracy which is working for objectives that no loyal person can possibly support and when he has been proclaimed in that way, he will be branded for all time in the eyes of the people of Australia, but he will still be permitted to roam at large at his own sweet will throughout the Commonwealth. With two exceptions he will he free to work wherever he can obtain employment. Unless he is shadowed by day and by night, he may obtain employment in a vital industry. He may change his name without notifying his intention to do so. He may continue to work in the industry in which he is engaged at the time of the declaration, with the exception of the Public Service.
An honorable member said to-day, in an allegedly serious manner, that the Commonwealth will not be able to declare a person until it has exhausted all the processes of British law, and, therefore a Communist or an alleged Communist will have further opportunities to disrupt Australian industry. That argument is completely invalid. Not one shred of evidence has been adduced to support the contentions of the Prime Minister. It is said that any delay in passing this bill may allow a Communist to carry on his nefarious work. I have already pointed out that a Communist who has been declared will remain at large, and no one may hinder him. The existing law makes ample provision by which a saboteur or an enemy of Australia may be apprehended,- and restrained until he can be brought to trial. There is no need for this provision which limits the ordinary processes of the law. The amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton is sound in principle and practice. Whilst it will not involve any danger to the community, it will ensure that those who come within the scope of the bill shall receive full justice whether they be guilty or innocent.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) has misrepresented me. So far as I can recollect, I did not use the phrase, “ This is a terrible bill “. I did say that it contained certain provisions which can only be justified if the statements set out in the preamble are accepted. I stand by that statement. There is no point of cleavage between me and any other supporter of the Government on that matter.
– I agree with the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) when he implies that the measure does not impose appropriate penalties upon individuals, or organiza tions, who may be declared for helping the Communists in their efforts to sabotage the nation. That is a weakness of the bill. Personally, I liken the measure to a boy being sent on a man’s errand. However, that is characteristic of the British down through history. Usually, when they start to do a job it is a case of too little and too late; but, ultimately, they win the final victory even at tremendous cost due to insufficient provision having been made at the outset. Although the honorable member for Perth has suggested that the bill does not go far enough in the direction that he indicated, he is supporting the amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) which will limit the measure to a still greater degree. If honorable members opposite are sincere in their desire to enable the Government to get to grips with the danger that confronts this country they will be prepared to give to it all the power that it requires to deal with the Communist menace. That is the purpose of the measure and the Government does not intend it to provide a lucrative source of income for the lawyers. We are dealing with facts, and the country cannot afford to take half measures against the Communists. At various times every government finds it necessary to introduce legislation that does not satisfy every section of the community. For instance, it is the Government’s duty to impose taxes upon the people.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).Order! I ask the honorable member to connect his remarks with the question before the Chair.
– Even though we may desire, because of our wish to preserve the principles of British justice, to provide the fullest possible opportunities for appeals, circumstances must ultimately dictate the action that the Government must take.
– Should not the Crown satisfy the court in the first instance?
– Even if that is not provided for, it is not too great a sacrifice to make if, thereby, we can ensure that the activities of the Communists shall be curbed. Indeed, I should like to give to the Crown the right of appeal without, at the same time, giving a similar right to accused persons of the type to which the measure relates. Of course, in normal circumstances one would regard that proposition as being another infringement of British justice; but I repeat that circumstances must ultimately determine what action the Government’ must take to deal effectively with the menace of communism. The Opposition is knowingly, or for merely party political purposes, endeavouring to blind the people to the present emergency that has rendered necessary the introduction of this measure. The bill in my opinion is not sufficiently drastic.
– Why does not the honorable member vote against the clause, or move an amendment to it?
– Under the Constitution the Parliament would be prevented from going as far as I should like it to go. What does one do to combat vermin ? No one can tell me that the Communists are anything but vermin. The object of the amendment is to weaken the measure, but we cannot afford to approve of such a limitation. I doubt whether honorable members opposite really desire to do so. If they were sincere in that respect, why did they support the motion for the second reading? I believe that they wish to enable the Government to deal effectively with the Communists and that they have no desire to amend the bill in any way that would impede its efficiency in that direction.
.- The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) in his earlier remarks gave some indication of the far-reaching effects of the measure. Despite his weak explanation with respect to Communist infiltration into various community bodies, the fact remains that there is no organization of any kind which does not contain Communistsor persons who sympathize with Communists. The honorable member mentioned bodies such as progress associations, parents and citizens organizations and local governing bodies. It is well known that Communists have infiltrated into those organizations in order to further their own aims. That factis important when we are considering the right of appeal to be given to persons who may be declared, because the rele vant clause goes further than to deal with the Communist party and its subsidiaries. No dispute exists between the Opposition and the Government in that respect. But we must bear in mind the effect of the measure upon various other organizations that may be declared because they may be deemed to be under Communist influence. Paragraph (d) of sub-clause (1.) covers a body - the policy of which is directed, controlled or influenced, wholly or substantially, by persons who -
Bodies of that kind may be declared to be unlawful and be prevented from continuing to function. Normally, in respect of matters of fact there is no appeal from a judge to a higher court which in the main deals with matters of law; but very important issues have arisen, from time to time, in respect of the interpretation of terms. For instance, many tomes have been printed which deal with interpretations by the courts of the meaning of the word “ reasonable “. One might ask the exact meaning of the word “ influence “ which is used in the paragraph that I have just read. Under the clause as drafted, the interpretation of terms by a single judge is to be final, but judges very often differ in their interpretation of certain terms. One effect of the measure will be to force the Communists to take refuge in bodies such as progress associations, which are perfectly lawful and will afford an avenue for the furtherance of Communist aims. We know, for instance, of the activities of Communists in advocating reforms such as the establishment of creches, kindergartens and community centres which some people regard as being Communist in nature. Bodies of that kind could be declared under this measure by a judge who shared that view. In that event the declared organization would not have any redress whatever, whereas if the matter were taken on appeal to a higher court the latter might take a different view. The same observation applies to political organizations. The Sydney Morning Herald in “ Column Eight “ of one of its issues last week stated that since this measure was introduced the Communists had adopted a new line and were now advocating unity with the Labour party. The Parliament can be assured that the Labour party will be vigilant and will repulse the Communists. However, should the Communists succeed to any degree in that direction, the way would be open to the Government to use its power under this measure to declare an organization such as the Australian Labour party, or any other democratic body that believes in achieving its objectives by constitutional means; and should a single judge confirm the declaration the organization would have no redress. Such a provision would pave the way for the establishment of one-party government in this country. That provision is most dangerous. Therefore, every avenue of appeal should be left open in order that every person who may be affected shall receive complete justice. A single judge may base his conclusion upon his interpretation of the words “directed, shaped, controlled or influenced”. I submit that the conclusion of a single judge in that respect should be subject to review by the highest court in the land. These bodies should be given the right that was given to the private banks by the Chifley Government under its banking legislation to appeal to the highest court in the land.
– I take strong exception to the remark that was made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) when he said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had swept out of the chamber like a r-rima donna after speaking upon this clause, for I know that the Prime Minister has been in the chamber with the exception of a very short period ever since the debate on this clause commenced. Although honorable members opposite have had much to say about fair play, the honorable member did not hesitate to make a remark of that kind when he must be aware of the fact that the Prime Minister has very urgent matters to engage hi9 attention outside the chamber. When the honorable member made that remark, I interjected that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) was not present in the chamber, but I realize that the Leader of the Opposition also has many important matters to attend to outside the chamber. The remark that was made by the honorable member for Parkes was totally unjustified. I observe that the honorable member for Parkes has himself disappeared. He, too, has swept out of the chamber. [Quorum formed.] The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) has directed attention to the state of the committee and a quorum has been formed because what I have been saying is distasteful to Opposition members. Even now the honorable member for Parkes is not in the chamber. It is hypocritical for him to object to the temporary absence of the Prime Minister when he himself has swept out of the chamber and has failed to return even though the bells have just been rung to secure a quorum. His action in continuing to remain absent shows what a poor sense of fair play he possesses.
The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) has said that the Government should accept this amendment. To those of us who have been members of this Parliament for some years that attitude is, to say the least, exceedingly amusing. When we were sitting in Opposition how often did we listen to a Labour Minister sitting at the table say, “ The Government cannot accept any amendments “. The Labour Government could not accept amendments to any legislation because it was inextricably bound by the decisions of the caucus. The Prime Minister has said that any worthwhile amendments will be accepted. No worthwhile amendments have yet been proposed by the Opposition. In the eyes of honorable members opposite it is a crime for a democracy to attempt to protect itself until it is too late to do so. A democracy must protect itself from approaching dangers. This Government has been vigilant. It has seen the danger of subversive activities and has taken steps to overcome it. In this legislation it is taking action which should have been taken by the former Government years ago when the menace of communism had not grown to its present dimensions. The honorable member for Perth has said that if the Government refuses to accept amendments proposed by the Opposition the passage of this legislation will be delayed. What an attitude for a responsible member of His Majesty’s Opposition to take! No one in this chamber can be proud of any honorable member who would take such a stand. I observe that the honorable member for Parkes has at last returned to the chamber.
– -Flushed with victory !
– It was not by coincidence that, on the very day on which this bill was introduced into this chamber and on which a Communist deputation endeavoured to interview the Prime Minister and other members of the Government, I should have received the following telegram : -
Auxiliary Australian Peace Council wholeheartedly support deputation from Democratic Bights Council and urge you to receive it.
Just imagine such a body asking me, a back bencher, to receive a deputation of that kind! Its purpose was probably to persuade me to arrange for members of the deputation to gain entry into this building.
– The honorable member was not here that day.
– That is quite untrue. I have not missed a single day’s sitting of the Parliament since I was first elected to it. It is of no use for the Government to introduce a bill to drag all the members of the Communist party organization into its net and leave in it loopholes through which Communists may escape to affiliated organizations. The Opposition has endeavoured to tear the net apart in such a way as to leave loopholes through which guilty persons can escape the provisions of this bill. The Prime Minister has said that the proposals in the bill represent the only means by which this country can combat the menace of communism. The honorable member for Perth has said that despite this legislation individual members of the Communist party will still bt free to move round in this country and carry on their activities. Does he suggest that the Government should put all the Communists in gaol without giving them a chance to abandon their subversive activities? They must be given this opportunity. If they fail to take advantage of it, the provisions of the Crimes Act can be invoked against them with more far-reaching effect in regard to the individual than will be obtained even under the act that will result from the passing of this bill. All the arguments advanced by Opposition members against this bill constitute merely an attempt to throw a smoke screen over the real issues that are involved in it. The honorable member for Perth has shown quite plainly ‘that it is the intention of the Opposition to delay the passage of this bill by using every possible means of obstruction at its disposal. It has not the courage to oppose the bill outright and accordingly honorable members opposite resort to tactics of delay. The Government has decided that this measure shall be placed on the statute-book and its determination is backed by every rightthinking man and woman throughout the Commonwealth.
.- There is an old saying of Benjamin Franklin that they who give up their essential liberty in ‘ order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. That represents my attitude towards this amendment. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in opposing the amendment, has based his case on the simple fact that if a further right of appeal is given, delay will occur in the declaration of a subversive organization during which members of the organization will be permitted to continue their subversive work unchecked. He told us the story of Guy Fawkes, with a match in his hand, about to blow up the barrel of gun powder. He said that this amendment could be likened to a person seizing the hand of the watchful policeman and thus allowing Guy Fawkes to carry out his intention without hindrance. That argument would have some merit in it if the Government had not already provided in this bill for a right of appeal which will undoubtedly lead to delay. It certainly will not lead to as much delay as would the further right now proposed but if the situation is as desperate as the Prime Minister has made it out to be, if the match is about to be applied to the gun powder and if the saboteur is about to place the plug of gelignite under the railway line, they will not be prevented from doing so by the provisions of this bill. If desperate acts are about to be committed - the Prime Minister told us that the saboteur is about to blow up essential industries and sabotage essential communications - why should this legislation permit delay of any kind to occur? If this legislation is essential to check the saboteur from immediate action, it should not embody any provisions relating to appeal which could cause delay. By inserting the appeal provisions in the bill the Government has indicated that the element of speed about which the Prime Minister has said so much, is not necessary. If the Government refuses to accept the amendment - and I assume that it will use its numbers to reject it - I shall be interested to know what it proposes to do with respect to a similar amendment that we propose to submit in relation to the individual. The declaration of an organization is simply a part of the general pattern which then proceeds to extend from the organization to the individual. Having declaredthe individual, what will happen? He will be prevented from continuing in employment in the Public Service and from continuing to hold office in a trade union. Those are the only penalties that apply to the individual. Will that check any other work that the enemies of this country may be undertaking? Will it check the activities of saboteurs in any other field ? The provisions of the clause relating to the declaration of an organization are followed by the provisions relating to the declaration of an individual. The only action that could be taken under this legislation in relation to the individual would be to prevent him from being employed in the Public Service and from continuing in office in a trade union. If the Government is not prepared to accept this amendment on the ground that it will result in delay, it can have no justification for refusing to accept the amendment that we propose to submit relating to the individual. The Prime Minister has said that the time factor is important. Under the provisions of clauses 9, 10 and 11 persons may be suspended from employment in the Public Service and be prevented from continuing to occupy an office in a trade union. The argument of the time factor, which was used by the Prime Minister to justify his refusal to grant a right of appeal to an organization can not be applied to the individual. Therefore, I take it that the Government will accept our amendment relating to the individual. Clause 11 provides for the suspension of an individual from the service of the Government or from an office in a trade union from the moment that he is declared. A declared person will not continue in employment in the Public Service or hold office in a trade union in the period during which an appeal against his declaration is being heard. That being so, one would expect the Government to respect the further rights of the individual which we propose to secure for him. I do not share the view expressed by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), which was subscribed to by interjection by the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), that necessity knows no law. That has always been the argument of the tyrant. Every person who has attempted to exercise tyranny over others has been able to satisfy himself of the justification for his action. Some merit can always be claimed for arguments advanced to justify a particular action. I take my stand on the quotation with which I began my speech, that they who give up their essential liberty in order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. The principle embodied in this amendment provides us with the very sinews with which to wage war on the doctrines and philosophies of communism. Anything that takes away our liberty destroys our ability to fight and weakens our case against the Communist party and all its works. People may say to me, “ You are a very suspicious person if you say that you fear that the Government will do certain things”. My reply would be, “No wonder I am suspicious. I know myself very well “. I know the members of the Labour party very well, yet I would not trust a Labour government with the powers proposed to be conferred by this bill.
– The honorable member is wise.
– The people of Australia will also show their wisdom by refusing to give to this Government the right to abrogate their constitutional freedoms and liberties. They are prepared to trust the Government only with certain limited powers which do not include power to destroy the liberty of the subject. The whole basis of constitutional government and of freedom under the law presupposes distrust of governments whether they are Liberal party, Australian Country party or Australian Labour party governments. It is because I distrust the lust for power on the part of any section of the community that I look with distaste on the refusal of the Government to accept this amendment. History shows that, if certain power be given it will be used when the appropriate circumstances arise and panic occurs. Very wisely, the people of the British democracies and the United States of America have framed their constitutions so as to put very severe restrictions upon the authority of the government of the day. It would be unwise to remove those restrictions. When honorable members on the opposite side of the chamber express approval of my statement that I would not trust a Labour government with these powers let them remember that they are not irremovable fixtures on that side. It might well be that, having passed this legislation, they will live to see the day when a Labour party will be administering it and regret that day. Do not trust any government. Reserve for the people their rights and freedom under the laws which have been framed on the basis of the experience of the years.
I should like to put it to the Prime Minister, who apparently is not interested
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- That this is a vital clause of the bill I think has been made perfectly clear by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). It must be plain to all- honorable members who listened to him that the clause is essential for the effective functioning of the bill, the object of which is to put the Communist party out of business. To achieve that end, this clause must stand substantially as it appears now. Consequently 1 oppose the amendment because it must affect the whole purpose of the bill. This is one of those several clauses on which there has been a great deal of debate and of which we shall hear a great deal more..
It is plain that honorable members who> do not want to see the Communist partyor communism in other guises destroyed in this country, will oppose those clauses, of the bill which tend to make it effective and workable. I suggest to those honorable members that they might adopt a reasonable approach to this measure. < AH Opposition members who have spoken have paid lip-service to this bill. Why have they done that if they do not want to see it work effectively? There is no reason why any honorable member should not state that the principles of this bill are repugnant to him and that he will oppose them, but not one honorable member of the Opposition has had the courage to take that stand. Honorable members nf the Opposition lack the courage to take their stand squarely and put their point f)± view before the people. They seek merely to subvert and delay and draw the teeth out of the bill by amendments such as this. I do not class all honorable members opposite in that category because some of them have made it clear that they support the bill to the limit which their adherence to the agreement reached within their own party allows. Other honorable members of the Opposition have been lacking in honesty. I quote what the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said when speaking on this clause.
– I have not spoken on the clause yet.
– The honorable member for East Sydney said that he was quite sure that the purpose of this bill was to destroy the Labour party/. Do honorable members believe that ? In that case, why does not the honorable member for East Sydney vote against the bill? Here is an honorable member who says that he is satisfied that thepurpose of the legislation is to destroy the Labour movement and yet he is not game to vote against it. That sort of argument has been heard also from the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron.) and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), whose only form of opposition to this bill was a personal attack on the Prime Minister. If time permitted I should make certain remarks about the profession of the honorable member for Parkes; but, as honorable members know, such a method of approach is entirely out of character with the way in. which I conduct myself.
– I can see the swastika on the honorable member’s shirt.
– Order ! The honorable member for East Sydney will refrain from interjecting.
– I should like to say a word ortwo about the category of people who will be dealt with under this clause and in respect of whom this amendment is allegedly designed. I think it was suggested by the honorable member for Hindmarsh - if I am mistaken I apologize in advance so that he will not need to rise to his feet presently but it has been suggested - that people could come under the provisions of this clause by virtue of their membership of almost any reasonable corporate body in this community. It has been suggested that any political party, municipal body or progress association could be effected by the clause. That allegation is a deliberate distortion of the effect of the clause. It is quite clear to what class of bodies these provisions apply; it is described in the bill as a body -
Communists are of two kinds. There are those few intelligent idealists, “who, in their own perverted way, inspire and supervise the organization of the Communist party ; they constitute a minority, their names can easily be found and most of them are known already. Then there is the great mass of deluded people who make up the ranks of such organizations as the Australian Peace Council and the Eureka Youth Movement. The bill is aimed not at that relatively substantial body, perhaps totalling some thousands, but against the dangerous men who are in contact with foreign powers and are working quite deliberately, intelligently and consciously for the downfall of this country. Those are the people who will come within the scope of this bill as every honorable member in this chamber knows and the statement that a municipalbody or a progress association might be placed in the faintest danger is arrant nonsense and hypocrisy. Now is the time for honorable members who are not opposing this bill but have been trying to delay its passage on various pretexts to stop and realize that having approved of the principle of the bill they should let it stand in its entirety and cease submitting amendments of this nature, which are merely designed to make the whole measure ineffective. Their attitude is “ Publicly we support the bill. Actually, we support the bill so long as it is perfectly ineffective and incapable of carrying out its job “. That is the attitude of the honorable member for East Sydney and of the honorable member for Hindmarsh. As long as the bill is quite useless they will support it.
– The arguments put forward by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) astonish me. ‘ He - and I am sorry to say the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), also - tried to confuse two issues. The Labour party does not oppose the provisions banning the Communist party and preventing Communists from occupying positions in trade unions. But this clause affects people who might be quite innocent and who are not Communists. Honorable members of the Opposition have already said that Communists are seditious and subversive people. That being so, they do not oppose the Government’s proposal to deal with Communists in the way provided for in the bill. But that is not the matter with which the committee is now dealing. The committee is dealing now and will deal later, when considering clause 9, with people who may not be in any way communistic, although they may be militants. Their actions might be irrational yet innocent of subversive tendencies.
Some honorable members appear to believe that this legislation is novel but it is not, because it is precisely the same as that introduced by the Daladier Government in France in 1939, which was intended to white-ant communism, prevent subversive activities, break up trade unions and remove Communists from them, and facilitate action against all those people who might be fellowtravellers and who might indulge in subversive activities. All persons of that character can be dealt with under the present laws of this country. Special legislation is not required to deal with subversive activities. The previous Government proved that in the case of Burns and Sharkey, who made statements which many lawyers have said were nol subversive. “What did France reap from legislation of this type? There are now 180 Communists in the French Chamber of Deputies.
– France was under enemy occupation for about four years.
– I am glad that the. Minister for the Interior (Mr. McBride) has mentioned that fact, because some of the men who were responsible for the enactment of the law to which 1 have referred have since been convicted of treason. I agree with the Minister that France has suffered under conditions that I hope will never arise in Australia, but it has reaped a bitter harvest from that repressive legislation. The Labour party is concerned about the protection of individuals who are not Communists but who may have been members of organizations with which Communists have been associated. A striking example of the sort of injustice that could occur under the bill came to my notice only this week. A man who had been employed by a conservative university body in Australia as a teacher applied for a position in the Public Service. But somebody reported that some years ago he had been a member of a socialist body, the membership of which had included a number of Communists. As the result of that denunciation, he was unable to secure the post for which he applied. He was branded by an anonymous informer merely because he had belonged at one time to an organization that included Communists. I dc not suggest that the Prime Minister oi the Minister for the Interior would bc parties to such practices, but bitter experience has taught us that deputed powers are often misused.
Under this bill, a citizen could be condemned for life merely upon the word cf so-me man who might hold partisan political views. Is it proper that a man so accused should not have the right of appeal to a court? When hysteria arise? in the community, the gravest possible injustices can be perpetrated upon individuals. I am not greatly concerned abou; the so-called associations. They are collective bodies, and they can fight for themselves. But I am gravely disturbed about the rights of individuals. A man who had never engaged in subversive activities and who had never been a member of any Communist organization, though he might have been associated indirectly with Communists as was the man whose case I have just mentioned. could bc condemned by declaration. 1 agree at once that the problem is not easy to solve. I admit that, even though an accused person might be guilty of many offences, it could be very difficult for a government or its security service to disclose all the information at its disposal. But surely there must be some means by which a citizen who, though completely innocent of any offence might have been foolish in his action, should have the right to state his case to some judicial body. Any accused person should receive the benefit of the doubt if any doubt about his guilt exists. The Prime Minister has probably read more about history than I have, and he must know what happened in France at the time of the revolution. Men and women were condemned merely upon the strength of accusations that -were made against them. Such things have happened in France even hiring the last ten years, and they are happening elsewhere in Europe to-day. Behind the Iron Curtain an individual can be condemned to death or imprisonment merely because a police officer or some other person can secretly produce evidence against him. Such issues as wu are now discussing affect me very deeply. I like to believe that, in this community that we call a democracy, every citizen shall be protected fully against injustice. The Government has declared that all Communists are subversive and are engaged in a conspiracy. I have no objection to that. If such men occupy positions in which they can threaten the community, I agree that they should be removed from their offices. But the ordinary individual should have the right to appeal to a court if he is accused of offences such as those that the Communists have committed. Injustice is more apparent in clause 9 than it is in the clause that we are now considering, which deals with organizations as well as with individuals. I make my appeal to the Prime Minister on higher grounds than those of politics. I seek to preserve liberty and justice for ordinary people - net the big shots, not politicians, but ordinary men and women, perhaps young people who stand at the threshold of life. Nobody can say what the final result will be if the machine of tyranny is started. History has proved that when people are granted the privilege of making accusations without being required to substantiate them in a witness box, a grave blow is struck at the liberty of the individual. That is the liberty that I defend.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) and many of his followers seem to have overlooked two important facts. The first fact is that the difference of opinion between the Government and the Opposition in relation to this clause does not represent the difference between having a right of appeal and having no right of appeal for the bill does provide a right of appeal for a declared association. The difference arises merely over the extent to which the right of appeal should be carried. Under the bill, a declared association may appeal to one judge. The amendment proposed by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) provides that an appeal may be made from the decision of a judge to a higher court. The second fact that has been overlooked by the Opposition is that the proposed amendment is linked with another amendment that the right honorable member for Barton has foreshadowed. The combined effect of those proposals, if they were embodied in the bill, would be to suspend the operation of its provisions for a more or less indefinite period. Having overlooked those two facts, members of the Opposition have been arguing in an inexact and not wholly fair way. Appeals under this legislation will be made simply on questions of fact, not on questions of law and the Opposition have not contradicted the proposition that it is customary in appeals on questions of fact to let the determination rest with the court of original jurisdiction. Nevertheless, they persist in arguing that there should be a right of appeal from one judge to another court. Furthermore, they have not attempted to answer the argument that the acceptance of the amendment now before the committee and the consequential amendment that has been foreshadowed would not involve an indefinite delay in the operation of the provisions of the bill. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) attempted to answer the proposition submitted ‘by the Prime
Minister, who asked in effect why the Opposition, if it agreed to the banning of the Communist party, would not agree to the banning of the new forms that the party might assume. The honorable member asked ironically why, if justice could be done by the simple declaration of a party, there need be any form of appeal at all. His line of argument might seem to be valid at first sight, but, surely, until the original Communist party is banned, nobody can know what new forms will be taken by the organization and which of those forms will be most dangerous to the nation. Only after the originalbanning, to which all members of the Opposition have agreed, can the party be pursued into its new forms. There may be room for doubt about those new organizations that does not exist in the case of the Communist party itself. Therefore, the Government proposes to allow such organizations a right of appeal on questions of fact. As has been amply demonstrated, the right of appeal on such questions is customarily limited in the way that is proposed in the bill.
I refer now to an argument that has been dealt with effectively already by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett). Throughout the discussion of this measure, members of the Opposition have suggested that its provisions may be applied to all sorts of organizations. The most extraordinary propositions have been submitted by them. They have quoted a list of objectives of the Marxist party and have said that anybody who espouses any one of those objectives is likely to be declared. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) quoted from one of the definitions in clause (3.) and quite gratuitously and incorrectly inserted into it the word “any” so as to support his contention that anybody who promoted any of the objectives or advocated any of the policies of the Communist party could be declared. There is no such word as “ any “ in the definition. It simply states - “ Communist “ means a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin.
I ask members of the Opposition to consider their argument on that issue in the light of an analogy. Would any honorable member argue that a man who believed that it was wrong to steal, but who disregarded every other article of faith of the Christian religion, was a Christian? Of course not! A man might believe in one, two, three or four principles of Christianity, but only complete acceptance of the Christian faith would make him, by definition, a Christian. The arguments that have been submitted by members of the Opposition remind me of an example of a fallacy that is frequently cited in logic textbooks. The proposition is in this form - A Chinese has a pigtail, therefore any man who has a pigtail is a Chinese. That is the logical fallacy into which members of the Opposition have fallen.
– That is the fallacy of the excluded middle term.
– Honorable members opposite who have fallen into that fallacy, which the Prime Minister reminds me is the fallacy of the excluded middle term, have said, in effect, that a man who upholds, say, twelve propositions of the Communist manifesto is a Communist; therefore any man who upholds one of those propositions is also a Communist. That is plainly and demonstrably a fallacy. Yet that is the kind of argument with which clause after clause has been opposed.It is patent on the definitions in the bill that the provisions of this clause will not apply except to those bodies which wholly and completely are Communist in character, and which pursue Communist policies and objectives. A man who supports free education or a graduated income tax is not on that account a Communist. He is not a man who will be pursued. An association such as the Henry George League, which has certain ideas regarding land tenure, will not be pursued as a Communist organization. That is because such associations do not come within this definition which embraces the whole principles, objectives and purposes of communism.
-I think that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in his reply to the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who proposed this amendment, definitely proved to the committee the necessity for an amendment of this kind, because the main burden of his argument against its acceptance was, not that there was anything wrong with it, not that it was not a just or reasonable proposition, but that it might cause too long in obtaining even-handed justice for those bodies which might be declared Communist affiliated organizations. Because it would take possibly six or nine months to arrive at a definite decision, he said that the proposal could not be accepted. I believe that in a British community holding the ideals of justice that are held by this community, the matter of time does not affect the argument. The only matter at issue should be the best way of dealing out even-handed justice to all people. It is all very well for the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck) and the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) to say that this or that organization is influenced by Communists or that it is controlled by Communists; statement’s by those gentlemen are not evidence, and they do not prove that such organizations are Communist-controlled. The honorable member for Henty could not be entrusted with the task of making a decision in any of these matters. He has shown time after time in this Parliament that he would like to be a little Hitler. He has expounded many totalitarian ideas, and he would like to see introduced here a totalitarian system similar to that which existed in Italy and Germany, and which to-day exists in Spain and Russia. But he would want to be one of the people who were in control under such a totalitarian system. A similar attitude has been adopted by other honorable member on the Government side. I suggest to those gentlemen that in a totalitarian system they could not all be the dictator, and sooner or later a policy of liquidation would be adopted by their own party similar to the liquidation policy pursued in those countries in which totalitarian systems have been introduced.
This committee must ensure that legislation particularly when it is intended to brand certain people for life and to deprive others of their jobs and possibly place some of them in gaol for periods up to five years, shall deal out justice to everybody who comes within its orbit. To-day the Prime Minister definitely admitted that the system of appeal proposed in the Opposition amendment is just, fair and reasonable. He said that the chief reason why the Government cannot accept it, is that under it from six to nine months might elapse before associations or individuals could finally be proved to be guilty or not guilty of improper practices. When the matter is one of dispensing justice and deciding whether well-meaning or possibly misguided people are criminals or Communist supporters, a delay of a few months should not count. The committee must ensure not that innocent people and organizations shall be branded with the stigma of treason, but that they shall have a reasonable opportunity of proving their innocence. It is a more reasonable proposition that a few guilty men should be able to dodge the net that is being cast rather than that one innocent man should be condemned. The principles of justice must be carefully guarded when dealing with this matter. If we accept the proposal embodied in the bill, we shall depart from one of the principles that Australians hold most dear. It is quite unnecessary to depart from that principle. A state of war does not exist at present, and the Opposition has agreed that the Communist party shall be declared and shall cease to exist. It is the Government’s problem to decide how that portion of the law shall be enforced. The best authority to consult upon matters of law enforcement and liberty is the Constitution of England. In it will be seen how the British system works. The principles of British justice should be observed rather than the principles of law in such countries as Italy, Germany and Russia.
It is well known that the Communist party should be dealt with, but because that party adopts illegal and totalitarian methods in its own organization and spreads totalitarian propaganda, that is no reason why this Government should adopt similar methods in dealing with the Communist party or with any people who may be suspected of having Communist tendencies. We shall have a greater opportunity of demonstrating the efficiency of this legislation if we stand up for the British ideals of justice. The further we get from the totalitarian system the more effective will be our legislation. It is an old axiom that those who rule by force will be destroyed by force. That has been proved over and over again. Honorable members will remember that Mussolini was hanged i y some of his own Italian people. Hitler was forced off the face of the earth. There are numerous other examples that I could cite. If the present Government is attempting to use totalitarian methods similar to those used in other countries only a very short time will have elapsed before it will be necessary to push it and all its supporters into the political oblivion to which they should rightly go.
– Which clause is the honorable member speaking about?
– I am speaking to clause 6. I suggest that the honorable member would not know much about it. I listened to a few comments from him earlier in the day, and I arrived at the conclusion that he does not know whether the bill that the committee is discussing is the Communist Party Dissolution Bill or any other bill.
– Proposed subclause (7.) is now before the committee.
– I am dealing with the correct clause - that which has been discussed at length this afternoon. I suggest that the Government should reconsider its attitude on this clause. The honorable member for Henty informed the committee that because the principle of banning the Communist party had been agreed to the whole of the bill should go through without amendment. I point out to him that the Prime Minister has circulated a long list of proposed amendments to the bill. I do not know whether the honorable member for Henty even knows of that fact.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I cannot allow this discussion to terminate without saying how seriously I view the attitude of the Prime Minister (Mr.
Menzies). I listened attentively yesterday to his defence of the attitude of the Government in relation to the proposed amendment of clause 5. I also listened to the reasons he advanced for the rejection of this particular amendment. Yesterday the Prime Minister .stated that the amendment could not be accepted; that, in the critical circumstances that exist, the onus of proof must rest on the declared person or organization, and that the benefit of the doubt must be given to the all-powerful Crown and not to the other party. To-day he told the story that by virtue of this alleged crisis and of the time element involved - it might be three, six or nine months before the legal processes could be gone through - an accused person must be denied the elementary rights of justice. If a crisis is upon us to-day, and if the country is in immediate danger, surely it behoves the Government to inform the people of the country of the nature of the crisis. It is the duty of the Government to demonstrate also by its deeds that this country is in danger. I am not aware of any exceptional defence activity by this Government over and above the activities commenced by its predecessor. Is there any honorable member who can say that during the period of office of the Menzies Government an acceleration of defence activity has occurred ? What remarkable activity has taken place in the Royal Australian Navy, the Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and industry ? We have not seen the slightest sign of it. That brings me to the point that I desire to make, namely, that this bill is neither more nor less than a political expedient. I should not mind that, if the bill were restricted to banning the Communist party, but the Government, and the Prime Minister in particular, are attempting to deprive citizens of elementary justice on the plea that the time element is important. I have never heard such humbug in all my life. I am not astonished at the Prime Minister’s attitude to justice. During the financial and economic depression in the early 1930’s, a measure was introduced into the Parliament of Victoria for the purpose of reducing governmental expenditure. The right honorable gentle.man. who was then a member of that legislature, supported a reduction of the salaries and wages of the lower paid public servants, but declared that the salaries of judges should he sacrosanct. That is an instance of the interpretation that the right honorable gentleman places upon justice. He speaks of the necessity to deal with dangerous persons. When the banking issue was before the people about twelve’ months ago, ho read in the Ballarat Town Hall a letter that I had sent to a bank officer. It was a firm, civil, decent letter, in which I had stressed in no uncertain term9 my views on the banking issue, but the right honorable gentleman said, in effect, “ The despatch of that letter justifies a bashing “. The Prime Minister actually advocated violence, because I held a different opinion from that of a bank officer. Honorable members opposite have accused the Labour party of inconsistency. Are they immune from that charge? The Prime Minister desires to deprive citizens of elementary justice on the plea that Australia is facing a crisis. From what quarter does that crisis threaten? Are we within six months or twelve months of war? If we are, this Parliament should be devoting its attention to emergency measures. The Government should be introducing appropriation measures to make provision for the expenditure of vast sums of money for defence purposes, and emergency legislation to deal with practical, and not hypothetical, matters.
What will the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 achieve? What will happen when an avowed Communist has been declared? If he is immediately deprived of his rights in the community, a militant unionist, who is not a Communist, will emerge as the new leader of that industrial organization and may engage in causing industrial stoppages just as actively as the Communist had done. Will the provisions of the bill be applied to him? Will they be directed against employers who, by their meanness, provoke industrial strife? Of course, they will not! Does the bill deal with people who, according to the Melbourne Herald recently, are robbing the poor people of Melbourne in a firewood “racket”, and are thereby causing dislocation and unrest in the community? If I were to charge
Ifr. Pollard. the Prime Minister with neglect in that respect, he would reply, “ The ordinary civil processes of the law in Victoria can deal with misdemeanours of that kind “. Very well! Opposition members claim that the ordinary processes of the law regarding sedition and subversive activities may be dealt with by the ordinary processes of the existing law. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), in his second-reading speech, and again to-day, affirmed that to be a fact, and it cannot be denied. The Prime Minister, by his interpretation of justice and the rights of an individual who may be innocent, appears before the public as a man who is taking advantage of what he regards as an opportune political expedient. It is common talk that he is endeavouring to cause difficulties for the Labour party so that should there be a double dissolution, he may be placed in the box seat. He and his- hirelings, with their rabble-rousing, have engendered hysteria in the community. That hysteria is not caused by an international crisis. War is not imminent between Australia and Russia. The Chinese or the Malayans are not about to begin a southward drive from Singapore or from any other part of South-East Asia. Yet the Prime Minister contends that the Government must get to work and deal with every person who may expound a particular political philisophy and may upset industries that are vital to our defence preparations. I warn the Government that there will be militants in the trade unions, regardless of any crisis that this country may face, and that they will cause industrial disturbances if they are provoked, and have justification.
Let us now consider the Communist who is a real internationalist and who, allegedly, is in communication with Russia. Does anybody believe that when a Communist or a fellow traveller has been declared, his activities will cease unless he is clapped into gaol? Can a Communist be imprisoned under the provisions of this bill? The Government may clan him into gaol under the existing law if the peace officers or the police officers oan produce information that will satisfy a court beyond a shadow of doubt that he is engaged in sedition, or subversive activities. If the Government has such evidence against certain persons, it should take proceedings against them in a manly way under the existing law, and endeavour to put them behind bars. If the Government does not take that course, it has not an atom of manliness in its composition.
– Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- I support the amendment that has been moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), and I submit that a cogent reason why the Government should accept it is the peculiarity of the clause itself. As has already been stated, the clause is peculiar in two respects. The first is that the four paragraphs in sub-clause (1.) which define the grounds on which an organization may be declared an unlawful association, become progressively wider in scope until the position is taken much further than has been suggested by the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck), namely, that all the principles of Marx and Lenin would have to be taught or expounded before an organization would be declared unlawful. Indeed, paragraph (d) provides that if members of the Communist party so influence an organization, or use it for propagating the teachings, principles or practices of communism as propounded by Marx and Lenin, it may be declared an unlawful association. That fact carries with it not only the declaration of an unlawful association, but also a declaration that the members are disloyal and are likely to prejudice the security of the Commonwealth. Therefore, two things may happen as a consequence of the clause. An association may be declared an unlawful organization and one that is inimical to the interests and the defence of the Commonwealth; and when that declaration is made, every one of the members of that body are branded forthwith as disloyal persons.
The necessity for the double method of appeal under this clause arises from the fact that individual members of an organization have no right to take any action at that particular stage in order to protect their own characters and reputations. The action that automatically flows from the declaration that an organization is unlawful is provided for in clause 10. If honorable members will read that provision, they will notice that certain sanctions may be imposed upon persons who are members of an unlawful association. Those sanctions may be mentioned in passing in order that the position may be understood. They disqualify a declared person from being employed by the Commonwealth, and prohibit him from holding office in an industrial organization. As a consequence of that. provision, persons who have innocently joined an organization will discover that they are subject to certain penalties. In order to demonstrate that point, I desire to take, as an example, some of the organizations that have been affirmed to be subsidiaries of the Communist party, and have attracted to themselves at various times eminent and respectable members of the community. Many reputable people throughout Australia joined the Council Against War and Fascism, although they had no association with or- interest in the Communist party. Another organization was known as the United Front Against Fascism, and a third, which, I think, is still in existence, is known as the New Housewives Association. At the present moment, the organization that is regarded with the greatest suspicion is the Australian Peace Council. It is quite possible, and, in fact, the history of those associations proves, that many people joined them because they had a strong sympathy or feeling for their particular objectives. Everybody desires that a state of peace shall be preserved, and if a person believed that peace could be achieved by the activities of a certain organization, irrespective of who its founders may be, he would join it and would strive in his own way, and to the best of his ability, to promote the class of feeling that was likely to bring about peace between the nations. If the organization concerned has been sponsored or organized in an underground kind of way by the Communist party, or by fellow travellers, the person who is acting innocently in order to secure the state of society which, he believes, is the correct and proper one, cannot prevent it from being declared unlawful, and, under another provision in the bill, he himself may be subject to sanctions.
When such an extraordinary position arises as is contemplated by clause 5, it is necessary for us to ensure, in the interests of the people themselves, that innocent persons who are members of such organizations shall be protected against the consequences of a bona fide act on their part. I can conceive of no better way of granting such protection than by the double method of appeal, first to a single judge, and, later, to the full court appropriate to the jurisdiction that has been selected. By that method, we shall be able, to the best of our ability, to clear up any possible doubt about an organization. When all is said and done, it is our responsibility to ensure that persons shall be protected. We should not allow people, who have acted innocently, to be placed in a position in which they are unable to protect themselves, merely because this bill does not make any provision whereby an individual, who is a member of an unlawful association at that stage, can dissociate himself from it. Because he had been a’ member of that organization he could be declared under this clause. Consequently, he would be deprived of certain rights and would suffer the penalties provided for by the bill. That would be a serious disability. A very strong case exists for the provision of double protection of persons who may innocently be members of organizations of that kind.
.- Once again I find myself to some degree in agreement with the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) ; but too many honorable members, particularly members of the Opposition, are apt to overlook the fact that the bi 11 as a whole is a defence measure. Therefore, it is extremely important that it should contain provisions that are not embodied in normal legislation. It must be regarded as an urgent defence measure and, as invariably happens under such measure5, it can be expected that some innocent people Wl suffer. That is extremely unfortunate. but it has happened in every country during periods in which a nation’s security has been threatened from without. If we do not consider the bill to be urgently necessary for the defence of this country, its introduction cannot be justified. But honorable members opposite have agreed that it can be regarded in that light, because they did not oppose the second reading.
I disagree on one point with what the honorable member for Bendigo has just, said. We know that there exists in this country apparently innocent organizations that are directly, or indirectly, influenced by the Communist party. Honorable members opposite have said that this measure will force the Communists to go underground. One obvious method by which that party can go further underground is by taking refuge in such organizations or by forming new organizations as a cover for their activities. Therefore, the people generally should be made aware of what is likely to happen, and one of the best ways of awakening them to that danger is to make them realize that if they poke their heads into organizations that, they have not thoroughly investigated they may find themselves within the net of this legislation. That is sound logic. Every citizen must realize his, or her. responsibilities.
– That is the psychological attitude of the police state.
– The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) was also incorrect yesterday when he said that no trouble had been caused in the United States of America, as the result of the Federal Bureau of Investigation being obliged to expose information in its possession at the hearing of charges agains* Communists. The fact i3 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been caused considerable difficulty and embarrassment because of that fact. We must make our citizens realize that seemingly innocent organizations may be dangerous or may become more dangerous, and I believe that this provision will do that. If innocent citizens are members of an organization that is largely influenced by Communist doctrine and teaching and is working in the interests of the Soviet Union, those persons whether they realize that fact or not. lay themselves open to that danger of their own accord. The fact that they are innocent of that knowledge should not entitle them to go completely free. The argument has just been advanced that personsmayjoinanorganizationbecause it has as its objective some innocent purpose in whichthey are keenly interested. Unless such persons regularly attend the meetings of such organizations and take anactivepart in the conduct of their affairs they will not achieve the purpose for which they joined them. However, if they do take an active part in the conduct of such organizations as they join and are sincere in their motives we need have no fear that Communists will dominate such bodies, because any good, solidcitizenwhokeepshimselfup-to-date with what is going on in an organization of which he is a member will quickly perceive the trend of events. But the point is that average people too often allow themselves to be used by the Communists indirectly because they do not make any worth-while attempt to ascertain what are the real motives of the organizations which they join. The community must beware of organizations of that kind and I believe that this provision will awaken our citizens to that danger.
Question put -
That the sub-clause proposed to be added (DrEvatt’s amendment) be so added.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F.
A derm ann.)
Majority .. ..28
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question put -
That the clause, as amended, be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 27
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 5.53 to 8 p.m.
Clause 6 - (1.) Subject to this section, a body of persons in respect of which a declaration has been made under this Act shall, by force of this Act, upon the expiration of 28* days after the publication of the declaration in the Gazette, he dissolved. (2.) Where the body applies to the High Court to set aside the declaration, the body shall not be dissolved upon the expiration of 28 days after the publication of the declaration in the Gazette, but, if the High Court dismisses the application, the body shall, by force of this Act, be dissolved upon the day upon which the High Court dismisses the application.
.- The Opposition’s amendment to this clause that was circulated in my name was to have been consequential upon the amendment of an earlier clause, but as that amendment was not accepted by the committee I do not move the one of which I had given notice that would have been consequential.
Amendment (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That, in sub-clause (2.), the words “High Court “, first occurring, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ appropriate court “.
Clause consequentially amended and, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 7 - (1.) A person shall not - (a.) become, continue to be, or perform any act as, an officer or member of an unlawful association;
. - I move -
That, in sub-clause (1.), after the word “ not “, the word “ knowingly “ be inserted.
This is amendment No. 4 on the list of amendments that I have circulated on behalf of the Opposition. I refer the committee to the clause, which establishes a number of offences. The maximum penalty provided for those offences is imprisonment for five years. The clause is intended to impose duties upon persons in relation to unlawful associations - for example, the Communist party - declared unlawful by the act itself and, particularly, associations declared unlawful by executive act under clause 5, which, with amendments, the committee adopted this afternoon. The purpose of inserting the word “ knowingly “ in this clause is so that the definition of the offence shall make “ guilty knowledge “ in the relevant sense an ingredient of the offence so punishable with imprisonment for five years. I think it simpler to take an example of what might happen by referring to clause 7 (l.)(c) of the bill. As the bill is drafted at present, the provision in relation to that sub-clause is that a person shall not - contribute or solicit anything, as a subscription or otherwise, to be used directly or indirectly for the benefit of an unlawful association ;
In the actual application of that paragraph the making of a subscription or the soliciting of anything in the nature of a subscription is made an offence if the subscription is to be used for the benefit of an unlawful association, directly or indirectly. It has a tremendously wide scope and I think it is clearly intended that such a penalty shall not be imposed except in the case of persons so contributing or soliciting who know that the association has been declared to be unlawful. An association may have been declared to be unlawful without the contributor or the person asking for subscriptions being aware of that fact and I submit that the committee should accept that position in relation to that sub-clause. Paragraph (d) furnishes another illustration of that position. It provides that a person shall not - in any way take part in any activity of an unlawful association or carry on, in the direct or indirect interest of an unlawful association, any activity in which the unlawful association was engaged, or could have engaged, at the time when it became an unlawful association.
They are understandable as provisions that are designed to carry out the purposes of the act after an association has been declared unlawful, but in their application to individual persons it should be made clear that it is required that before an offence is committed the person shall have knowledge of the fact of declaration. That would be easy to show in connexion with the early provisions if persons performed duties as officers. Paragraph (b) provides another illustration. It states that a person shall not - carry or display anything indicating that he is or was an officer or member, or is or was in any way associated with, an unlawful association ;
I, therefore, submit that this amendment should be accepted.
– A very old argument has been debated concerning whether, in the commission of a statutory offence f this kind, guilty knowledge is a necessary ingredient. I do not want to discuss that point. This is a penal provision. It . does not have civil consequences such as are provided for in other portions of the bill. This sub-clause relates to a criminal offence and provides for substantial punishment, and, as the Government does not intend that a man shall be prosecuted for some accidental conduct, I am quite prepared to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
.- A further amendment has been circulated in relation to this clause. That amendment was to have been consequential upon another amendment and is covered already by a more general provision which is to be moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). It is, therefore, unnecessary that I should move it.
– In the last line of subclause (2.) there is a reference to an application to the High Court. In view of what has been said before about the provision for an alternative appeal to a justice of the Supreme Court it is desirable once more to make a similar small consequential amendment.
Clause consequentially amended, and, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 (Property of unlawful associations to vest in receiver.
.- In connexion with this clause a further consequential amendment circulated by the Opposition was to have been applicable to a situation in which an appeal would be possible from a single justice of the High Court to the Full High Court and from a judge of the Supreme Court to the Full Court of the Supreme Court, but in consequence of the rejection of that proposal by the committee this afternoon I refrain from moving that amendment.
. -‘In sub-clause (3.) there is a similar consequential amendment to the one that I have referred to.
Clause consequentially amended, and, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 9 - (3.) A person in respect of whom a declaration is made under the last preceding subsection may, within twenty-eight days after the publication of the declaration in the Gazette, apply to the High Court to set aside the declaration on the ground- that he is not a person to whom this section applies. (4.) If, upon the hearing, the applicant satisfies the High Court that he is not a person to whom this section applies, the High Court shall set aside the declaration. ( 5. ) If the applicant does not so satisfy the High Court, the High Court shall dismiss the application and the declaration shall remain in force.
.- Before moving amendments on behalf of the Opposition in relation to clause 9, T suggest that the procedure be somewhat different from that adopted in connexion with clause 5, which was debated last night and this morning. The committee split clause 5 into various portions. There is an interrelation between portions of this very important clause, which is probably the most important in the bill because it permits the imposition of disqualifications upon persons. I suggest that I be allowed to move all the amendments to the clause that have been circulated in the name of the Opposition, and that after the conclusion of the debate on them, which may take some little time, a vote be taken on them and then on the amendments which the Prime Minister intends to move to the clause. So that the position may be clearly understood, may I statewhatthe Opposition’s amendments cover? There is some repetition in Opposition amendments of amendments which were discussed in the committee in connexion with clause 5. First of all the Opposition proposes an amendment to permit of an appeal to the Supreme Court, the High Court or the Supreme Court of a Territory. That proposal, in substance, is acceptable to the Government, which has circulated an amendment in a slightly different form, as it did in the case of the association. The second amendment concerns the right of appeal and the onus of proof - two points which were debated in connexion with the association. The next amendment concerns the right of appeal from a single judge of the court to the Full Court. All these amendments have analogies to amendments which were proposed to clause 5, but the Opposition proposes three additional amendments. One is that the successful applicant to a court, if he has the declaration set aside by the court, shall be entitled to have his costs paid. The second is that the court may order the payment to the declared person of such compensation as it deems to be proper. Finally, instead of allowing the Government to be the initiating and determining authority in relation to revoking a declaration, we propose to include a procedure that will enable a person who has been declared to applyto the appropriate court under certain conditions for leave to have the declaration set aside and that will empower the court to make such an order.
– The right honorable member may proceed along the lines that he has suggested.
– I move.
That sub-clauses (3.), (4.) and (5.) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof thefollowing sub-clauses : - “ (3.) A person in respect of whom a declaration is made under the last preceding subsection may, within twenty-eight days after the publication of the declaration in the Gazette, apply to -
Supreme Court of a State - to the Full Court of that Supreme Court; or
Justice or Judge; or
Court, as the ease may be, may hear and determine the application for revocation of the declaration and revoke the declaration or refuse the application, as it thinks just, and its decision shall not be subject to appeal. “ (5f.) A declaration which is revoked under the last preceding sub-section shall cease to have effect upon the day upon which the order of the Court revoking the declaration is made.”.
The first purpose of the amendment is to provide that, when a person is declared under this clause to be one to whom its provisions apply and to be engaged, or likely to be. engaged, in subversive or disloyal activities, he shall have certain rights of appeal in order to secure justice. As an alternative to the appeal to the High Court, for which the clause provides in its present form, the amendment proposes that a declaredperson may apply to the Supreme Court of the State or territory in which heresides.That has been agreed to in substance by the Government, and I shall not elaborate upon it. The provision is obviously just and reasonable.
The next two points embodied in the amendment can be discussed together. One affects what is called the onus of proof, and the other affects the right of appeal. I remind the committee that it is now dealing, not with groups of persons possessed only of property, but with individuals who may be alleged to be members of unlawful associations and who therefore may be declared to be engaged, or likely to be engaged, in activities prejudicial to the defence and security of the Commonwealth. Upon being declared to be such a person, an individual will automatically forfeit his position in the service of the Commonwealth, if he holds such a position, and will be excluded from holding office in a trade union. This raises the question of what are the best means of safeguarding justice and providing for appeals. Under the terms of the bill, an individual who is declared will not know, and cannot be told, in what respect he is deemed by the government of the day to be guilty of subversive activities. The declaration will appear in the Gazette at the direction of Ministers who will have certain information before them. The individual will not be supplied with any information concerning the realnature of the charge that is made against him and the facts upon which the declaration is based. But that is not all. After the declaration is made, he will have no right of appeal against it. The right of appeal to the High Court is limited by the bill in its present form to the question whether he is a member of an unlawful association or is otherwise included in the scope of the clause. We are dealing with persons who, because of the definition in clause5that has been approved by the committee, may, and certainly will in many instances, be persons who neither are nor have been members of the Communist party and are not Communists within the meaning of the definition. They will be subject to declaration simply because the stamp of illegality has been put upon an association of which they are members as a result of the activities of a minority of its members. The minority may be a very small one indeed. There may be only 20 or 30 Communists amongst 1,000 members of the association, yet it can be declared to be an unlawful organization on that ground.
The important fact is that not only the Communists, but also all other members of the association may be affected by declaration under the clause. The right of appeal for which the bill now provides will be useless to an innocent person declared by such a process because, having been a member of the unlawful association, it would be futile to say to him, “ Satisfy the court that you are not a member and the declaration will he revoked “. Persons may be declared, even though they have no connexion with communism, simply because they have joined an association that is used by a group of Communists for their own purposes. Such an innocent person will lose any position that he holds in the Public Service or in a trade union and, in addition, the Government will publish to the world a declaration that will mean in substance that he is a traitor to his country. But the declaration will not explain how he is alleged to have acted traitorously. He will not know before the declaration, and he will not be able to find out afterwards, what charges are made against him. That provision is so unjust that no Parliament could regard it without the gravest apprehension, not as to its political aspects, but as to the aspect of the basic interference with justice that it involves. In time of war, in Australia and Great Britain, alien enemies were treated better than the Government proposes to treat Australians under this bill. People who have had uo connexion with communism except thai they have become members of some organization, such as a peace council, because they honestly believed in the announced objects of the body, may be branded as traitors. People can be blamed for using an organization for illegitimate purposes, but we cannot rightly condemn an individual for joining a movement because he believes, for instance, that peace should be encouraged. But, even if a man is alleged to be guilty of subversive activities and is declared on that account, he should be told what charge is made against him.
I submit that no provision in” relation to individuals such as is embodied in the clause as it now stands would be given a moment’s consideration by the Parliament at “Westminster, even if the Government of the United Kingdom happened to be the most reactionary government of the right or of the left. The proposal could never be justified. A man must be entitled to know the nature of the allegations that are made against him and should be granted the right of access to the courts. That is a fundamental principle of justice. I ask the committee to review the provision in relation to individuals in a sense contrary to the decision that it made in relation to associations.
– Where is it stated in the clause that a declared person shall not be told what charge is made against him?
– A declaration will merely state that the person concerned is engaged, or likely to be engaged, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. That could include anything from high treason to the promoting of some strike that the government of the day considered to be detrimental to security. The victim will not know the nature of the act with which he is charged and, in any case, will not be granted the right to have it set aside by a court. The question that the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) -has asked proves that that vital fact is not appreciated even yet by supporters of the Government. I say that that provision makes the important onus of proof provision fade into comparative insignificance.
The amendment that I have moved provides also that appeals shall be made to a full court, whether it can be the Supreme Court of a State or a Commonwealth territory or the High Court of Australia, instead of to a single judge of the appropriate court. It also provides that a successful applicant shall be entitled to costs and, because damage would be done to him by the declaration, to such compensation as the court considers just. The final provision in the amendment will empower the court to deal with the revocation of declarations.
– In order to understand the effect of the proposed amendments, which are somewhat similar in substance to the amendments that the committee discussed when it was considering clause 5, I point out that the bill contains provisions for the declaration of bodies that are intended to be treated as unlawful bodies, apart altogether from the direct dissolution of the Communist party. It provides also for the declaration of individuals. The ultimate effective result will be thai persons who are declared and who are not able to have the declarations set aside upon appeal, will be disqualified from certain classes of employment. I want to emphasize that fact because a great deal of the discussion that is going on in Australia, at present seems to presuppose that criminal proceedings are to be taken against persons and that criminal results will attach to those proceedings. The effect of this legislation, so far as it depends upon declarations, will be that declared persons will be disqualified from holding office or employment under the Commonwealth and from holding office, not in all industrial organizations, but only in industrial organizations in key industries. I emphasize those facts because the bill deals with employment that is relevant to the safety and defence of the country. The clause provides that a man may be declared in certain circumstances. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) has just complained - not for the first time, though I do not blame him for that because the issue has arisen in relation to other clauses - that a man may be an office-bearer in or a member of a perfectly innocent body which, because of the actions of a minority of its members, may be ‘declared under clause 5.
– I said that a man may be a perfectly innocent member of a body that is suspected and may have no connexion whatever with the Communists.
– I thought that the right honorable gentleman had complained, as some other honorable members certainly have, that a body in which Communists were a mere minority might be declared under clause 5, but I am glad to have his disavowal.
– That is what I did say.
– That is what I thought. This clause refers back to clause 5. After all, its operation in relation to individuals, as the right honorable member has pointed out, is affected by the scope of clause 5. Lest there should be any misunderstanding, it is necessary for me to point out that clause 5, which the committee has passed, does not deal with innocent bodies in which the Communists may be a mere minority; it deals with four classes of organizations. The first is an organization affiliated with the Australian Communist party. That does not sound to me like an innocent body. The second class covers the case of an organization a majority of the members of which, or a majority of the members of the committee of management or governing body of which, were at material times members of the Australian Communist party or of the central committee or governing body of the Communist party. That does not sound to me like a body so innocent that a mere minority of Communists would be able to give some taint to it. The third class in clause 5 is composed of bodies which - and this is a reference to the mass of their members - support or advocate the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism. They do not sound to me like innocent bodies. The genuine Communist movement is found in those bodies. The fourth class is the one from which most of the right honorable gentleman’s hopes proceed. It is described in words which have been steadily overlooked. It is the class of body the policy of which is directed, controlled, shaped or influenced wholly or substantially by persons who were at the relevant date members of the Australian Communist party.
– That is a slippery one.
– Nothing could be plainer. One produces a body of people whose policy is substantially influenced by the Communist party.
– The bill says by persons in the Communist party.
– I am obliged to the honorable member for the distinction influenced not by the Australian Communist party, but by members of the Australian Communist party or of the central committee or governing body of the Australian Communist party. The honorable member may have his distinction, but I venture to believe that anybody reading the description of these four groups of people will dismiss as poppycock this idea that an innocent body can be declared because a minority of people in it are Communists, and that therefore a person may be declared because he is a member of it. I refer back to that matter. That should not be necessary, but I do so because after all this clause is to quite an extent affected by clause 5. Let us turn to the clause, with which we are dealing. The Opposition puts five propositions forward. In saying there are five, I lump two of them together. In substance there are five propositions. The first is that the onus of proof, the whole burden of establishing by legally receivable evidence every stitch of. the case, is to be placed upon the Commonwealth; not only in relation to the individual’s membership or office bearing in a particular Communist organization, but also on the question of whether his activities are prejudicial to the security and defence of the realm.
– Or likely to be.
– Or likely to be prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. I think I said “the realm “ just now ; it is, thank heaven, still one of the King’s realms. That is the first proposal made by the Opposition, and on that all I have to do is to repeat something that I said before. Write these provisions into this hill and you may tear it up so far as any efficacy is concerned. It would be more to the point for honorable members opposite to stand up and_ say, “ We are opposed to this bill “, it would be much more to the point for them to say, “We don’t want you to ban the Communist party”, than to put forward this proposal.
– It is only the right honorable gentleman who thinks in that way.
– I am really afraid that the honorable member will be seen to laugh one day. What irony it is that the party opposite has already made it perfectly clear, or at any rate has informed the public, that it is in favour of a ban upon the Communist party without hearing, without trial, and without appeal. It has said that it is in favour of the proscription of these other bodies to which I have just referred, because it did not seek to alter a word of the proscribing clause. It is in favour of a person who comes within the terms of this legislation being removed from the employment of the Commonwealth, and it is in favour of his being expelled from his union office. It says all’ these things, and having said them it comes along and moves these innocentlooking amendments, hoping to beguile people into the belief that there is heresome frightful violation of British justice..
– The Prime Minister mentioned five names that he later withdrew.
– I made some alterations in descriptions of persons. If that little bit of straw is all that the honorablegentleman has for making bricks, then I am certain that there will be no building in his department for a long time. Themethod of a.pproach to this matter depends entirely upon how the problem is viewed. If honorable members thinkthat this is an ordinary domestic law to deal with an ordinary domestic problem, then of course the onus of proof should be on the prosecutor. Of courseall the evidence should be adduced in accordance with the strict forms of law. But no government believes that in timeof war. I repeat, no government believesit in time of war. Nobody knows better than does the right honorable member for Barton himself that in time of war, much as we talk about such things, if a man is interned by order of a Minister and he issues a writ of habeas .corpus, it is sufficient to state in the return to the writ that he is detained by order of the Minister.
– We are not at war.
– That is a matter for debate. I understand the point of view of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). Yesterday he scoffed at the idea of talking about a cold war. He does not admit the existence of a cold war, but most people do. even including-
– What are you sending warm wool to Russia for?
– I am afraid that thehonorable member is becoming quitepugilistic since he became the member foi Lalor. The name of the electorate seemsto affect him.
– The right honorablegentleman will never be a pugilist.
– Order !
– I do not suggest that I am, but I do my best.
– What are you sending warm wool to Russia for?
– Order ! If the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) disobeys the Chair again, I :b all deal with him.
– I am sorry, but the honorable member was being so warmly applauded that 1 could not distinguish what he was saying. It seemed to me that his interjection was, “ What are you soiling warm water to Russia for ? “
– Warm wool - wriggle out of that one.
– Order !
– All this by-play will not affect the matter that we are discussing. Is there a cold war or is there not ? I think that no member of the Opposition will venture to go to the public and tell them that there is no international tension. I hope that no such member will go out and tell the public, because they will not believe him if he does so, that for years now the Soviet Union has not been conducting a’ cold war against the democracies. I hope the Opposition will not go out and try to persuade the Australian people that in the course of the cold war two things are not being done. Those two things are, first, the building up by the Soviet Union of its own economic strength, and secondly, the undermining of the economic strength of the democracies through the activities of the Communist fifth column. Indeed, 1. am staggered by these sceptical interjections, because every member of the Oppotion has already agreed that the activities of the Communist party in this country are so entirely those of a fifth column that the party ought to be abolished and destroyed. Everyone of them has -voted for that. If they do not believe there is a cold war, and that there is a threat to Australia, why do they commit the illiberal act of preventing people from gathering together to practice what they have described as a peaceful political philosophy ? Did the Opposition vote for or against the abolition of the Communist party? What humbug it is for people to vote for the destruction of the Communist party in Australia, and then to turn round and say that there is no reason for doing so; that the Communists are doing no harm ; that there are no fifth column activities and that there is no sabotage. 1 shall wait with great interest to see whether members of the Opposition vote against the recitals in the preamble, because they constitute as formidable an indictment of Communist activity in Australia as was ever written. Will the Opposition vote against those? We shall
FEe. If they do not, then never let them be known to go to the public and say, “ We are living in normal times, we are not dealing with a conspiracy against the security of the country “. I proceed from that point. Of course there is a conspiracy against the security of Australia. What then is to happen to people who are declared as officers or members of these organizations which, in the judgment of this Parliament, should be declared unlawful?
The right honorable member for Barton says that in the first place the Crown must prove by strict letter of the law of evidence that a person is a “ member “. Then, he says, the Crown having done that, must prove by the same strict letter of the law the nature of the activties of this man; what he has been doing. Then the Crown must establish by due evidence and reasonable inference that the things he has been doing are likely to be prejudicial to the security of the country. I repeat, that in relation to such matters, any democratic parliament confronted by a state of affairs such as exists to-day, will properly repose a gre:;.t degree of responsibility in the government, which should have and must have more knowledge of the security affairs of Australia than anybody else outside the Security Service itself can have. Yet, the purpose pf the amendment is apparently to beguile the people into believing that there is some violation of the principles of justice, but more particularly to make it possible in nine cases out of ten for the declared Communist to stay out of the witness-box and to avoid cross-examination. The object is to make it possible, and indeed to make it inevitable, that in all these matters the Commonwealth shall submit not only evidence of Jones having admitted that he was a Communist or a member of the -party, but also call security officer after security officer, and investigator “after investigator to testify, until the whole pattern of the man’s conduct has been made clear.
– And establish the case.
– In other words, establish the case according to the strict rules of legal evidence. Anybody who knows what is involved in proof of that kind will know that I am right when I say that, by the end of the first appeal, the whole security organization of this country would have been laid bare to the Communist party. The Communists would be delighted. They would have their usual contempt- for us, because, make no mistake, they smile when they hear these arguments. They say, “ We use a knuckle duster, but the other man must use heavy gloves and box according to Marquess of Queensberry rules”. I say that when you are dealing with toughs, you must have a tough policy. It is not to be supposed that you will handle problems of this kind by treating these people as if they are offending motorists who are brought before the local police court.
There is a second matter - an appeal beyond the judge. Not only is there to be an exposure of all these matters that so closely touch the security of this country, and, therefore, have everything to do with the safety of the country, which is more at risk at this moment than at any other time that I can recall in time of peace, but also there is to be an appeal beyond the appeal. The man is to be able to proceed from the judge who hears the case to a court of appeal - in the case of a supreme court judge, to the Full Court of the Supreme Court of that State, and, in the case of a High Court justice, to the Full Court of the High Court. I do not know how much consistency is to be expected in these matters, but I shall cite a recent instance in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949 which, I think I am right in recalling, was piloted through the House by the right honorable member for Barton himself. In that legislation, great powers were taken to suspend a man’s licence to work on the waterfront - an exactly parallel case to a man’s right to be an officebearer in a trade union. I notice that under section 25 of the Stevedoring Industry Act, the jurisdiction of the court shall be exercised by a single judge.
– I rise for the purpose of obtaining a direction from the Chair. As the Government has “ guillotined “ this bill, the debate in committee will be restricted. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, was limited to a specified time, and I ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether you can prevent the Prime . Minister (Mr. Menzies) from stone-walling this bill, because he is withholding from Opposition members the right to debate it.
– Order! I can only apply the Standing Orders, which allow the Minister in charge of a bill unlimited time in committee.
– Will you, Mr. Chairman, confine the Prime Minister to the amendment, because he quite frankly spoke at length on clause 5. If he is to roam in that way, he may as well make another second-reading speech.
– The Prime Minister has the right to speak as long as he likes in committee.
– And the right honorable gentleman is the head of a government that claims that it believes in freedom of speech.
– These interludes axe most entertaining. Of course I referred to clause 5, because I answered the remarks that the right honorable member for Barton made upon it. Of course 1 am referring to a variety of matters; but, again, that is not my fault, because five amendments have been submitted to this clause on behalf of the Opposition. If the complaint is that a Minister is not restricted in point of time in committee, all I can say is that I did not hear honorable gentlemen opposite complain about it during the eight years they sat in office.
– Wc never stone-walled.
– I have cited an example to show that the late Government provided for a hearing by a single judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and made no provision for an appeal in a parallel case to the one that is now under consideration, involving loss of employment.
– The hill involves a declaration of treason.
-The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) is bemused. He reads a few words about the law, and deludes himself into thinking that he understands them. What has this to do with treason in the ordinary sense? If we desire to charge somebody with treason, we shall charge him, and the penalty will be, not the loss of his job, but death. Let there be no mistake about that. But we are not now discussing charges of high treason. We are considering the terms and conditions upon which people shall go off the pay-roll of the Commonwealth, and go off the officebearing list of a trade union. It is all very well for Opposition members to howl about that, but they are already publicly committed to approval of both results. Then, of course, there is to be an appeal, and the suspension of the decision during it. I find that it is very interesting to recall that the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949, to which I referred a few minute’ ago, also provides that unless the board that suspended a person or cancelled his licence suspended the operation of the order, it would go into operation.
– The Prime Minister mus* see that the man is suspended from his position pending the appeal. It is quite unlike the case of unlawful association. The moment a person is declared under this bill, he will be suspended from office.
– That is quite unlike the case of association to which the Prime Minister referred this afternoon.
– Is the right honorable gentleman speaking of the bill or of the amendment?
– I am referring to the bill and to the amendment.
– To my amendment, or to your amendment ? The right honorable gentleman must clarify that matter. I need make only one other remark at this stage. First, we have these remarkable amendments that are designed to expose the security service. Secondly, we have the process of appeal that is designed to protract these matters in a time of urgency. Thirdly, we have thrown in for good measure a reference to cost? and compensation. I may say at once that in the terms of the original bill, the only application is to a single justice of the High Court, and no reference is made to costs. Under the Judiciary Act, the High Court may award costs in any matter that comes before it, and, therefore, it was not necessary to provide for costs in our bill. Now that an alternative has been introduced - an appeal to the Supreme Court of a State - it is necessary to provide for costs, and my own amendments that have been circulated provide that costs may be awarded. The right honorable member for Barton goes further, and says that if the court upholds the application, compensation shall be paid. I am open to correction on this matter, but I cannot recall any similar provision in any other act including such legislation as the Stevedoring Industry Act. I also do not recall in any of the criminal codes in Australia a provision to the effect that if a man is so unfortunate as to be tried on a criminal charge, and he is acquitted, he shall be paid compensation. Really the right honorable gentleman is seeking to open a very wide door, particularly as on his own amendments that place the burden of proof on the Commonwealth, a man could escape on appeal, not because there was any proof of his innocence, but because the judge had been left in some doubt of mind, that doubt must be resolved in his favour. So, the whole matter having been brought to the point of extreme doubt, and the appeal according to the Opposition’s amendment having been upheld, forsooth there is some provision for the payment of compensation. That is a novelty to me. We shall need to reconsider the whole of the criminal code and many, many civil procedures of this country if we are to adopt that principle. But the Government does not propose to adopt it in this legislation, in the present circumstances, and when dealing with this problem. There is just one final word-
– It is about time, too.
– I _ understand the honorable member’s point of view perfectly.
– When we were in Opposition, Ministers frequently spoke at great length in committee.
– The Prime Minister speaks four times as long as does any other honorable member.
– I should like to say one final word about the matter that has been referred to so frequently as the onus of proof. In a criminal case, the prosecutor has to establish his charge beyond any reasonable doubt. That is not the onus of proof that is referred to here. These are civil proceedings. What has to be done here is to produce evidence which, on the balance of probability, persuades the judge that his decision ought to go to one side or the other. That is the normal burden of proof that exists in ordinary civil proceedings under any system of English law. The amendment that has been submitted by the right honorable member for Barton means that the matter having been investigated and the evidence having been called on both sides, the judge who tries the case says, “ Well, my mind is in a state of perfect balance. T have doubts that I cannot resolve. I do not know whether this man is engaged in activities of a dangerous kind. I am not prepared to say that he is not. and I am not prepared to say that be is”.
– Well, hang him.
– The honorable member should not allow his mind to run on unpleasant subjects of that kind. This bill makes no reference to hanging. There is in it something of which the Opposition approves, namely, disqualification of a declared person from being employed by the Commonwealth or being an officer of a trade union. Do not let us talk exasperated nonsense about hanging. What I desire to point out is that it would be a strange anomaly if, everything being in a state of nicely balanced doubt on a matter that concerns the security and defence of Australia, the doubt was resolved, not in favour of the security and defence of Australia, but in favour of the individual who has been declared. There are occasions when the safety of the country is paramount over every other consideration, and this bill deals with one of them.
– I rise to support the amendment proposed by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) because I am concerned about the possibility, and even the probability, of injustice being done if this bill is passed as it stands. At the outset I should like to repudiate the unworthy contention advanced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in his very eloquent manner that members of the Opposition who are seeking to improve this bill and to have incorporated in it amendments that will safeguard the fundamental rights of innocent people who are not Communists, are thereby defending the Communists. My attitude to communism is crystal clear. I have always been a vigorous and uncompromising opponent of communism. I draw a distinction between two kinds of Communists. The first kind are those who belong to the hard core of the Communist party, those who frame that party’s policy, and to whom the recitals of this bill apply. I refer to the recital which states -
And 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 . . .
That recital applies to leading Communists who direct the Communist party. The second kind of Communists are people who are members of the Communist party, the kind of people who go round at night disfiguring railway hoardings and walls with signs such as, “Free “Sharkey” and “Repeal the Crimes Act “, and who sell Communist literature and so forth. It is obvious from their very fanaticism that those people must be genuine in their belief, however mistaken they are. They are genuine in that they believe that the Communist party is concerned with uplifting the rights of the ordinary people. That is a mistaken idea, because in my view the Communist party aims at and works for a lowering of the standard of living of the ordinary people; at a reduction of the pay of the ordinary working mau by promoting strikes and at a lowering of production so as to send prices up and therefore to cause discontent among the people as a prelude to the revolutionary uprising at which they aim. I am opposed to communism, but I am not prepared to support the use of the methods of communism in order to deal with communism. That is the dilemma that we are faced with in connexion with the Government’s proposals. We know what methods the Communists would use if they could gain control in this country. There would not then be any argument about the onus of proof or the right of appeal. They would proceed to liquidate the Labour party first of all and to establish a police State. But in combating communism we should not adopt the totalitarian police State methods of communism.
I consider that the crux of the matter, the basis upon which we are moving these amendments, is well summed up in a quotation from that old book, Professor Dicey’s The Law of the Constitution, at page 18S. Professor Dicey says - . . no man is punishable or can be lawfully made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary Courts of the land. In this sense the rule of law is contrasted with every system of government based on the exercise by persons in authority of wide, arbitrary, or discretionary powers on constraint.
I repeat the key words of that quotation - “ a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal, manner before the ordinary courts of the land “. The essential part of the rule of law, which is one of the basic aspects of our constitutional system, is the protection of the individual. When we examine the bill introduced by the Government we find that these fundamental things have not been preserved. The clause now before us provides that certain persons shall be declared if they are Communists or members of an unlawful association. The Prime Minister, in his very eloquent manner, made great play on these unlawful associations and tried to make it appear that all persons who were members of unlawful associations were a part of the Communist apparatus. Those of us who know the way in which the Communist party works can say quite freely that if the Government intends to ban the
Communist party, in order to make this legislation effective it must go further and follow that party into its subsidiary organizations, and it must have legislation to deal with those subsidiary organizations. Clause 5 contains a provision that is designed to enable the authorities to follow the Communists into the subsidiary organizations but - and the Prime Minister, I suggest, completely misrepresented the true position in this respect - all the organizations that fall within the definition of unlawful organizations are not organizations that are tainted with communism. Some of them can be innocent bodies. The Prime Minister said that they are not innocent bodies. I make two points on that matter. The first is that some of the bodies that would fall within the definition of an unlawful association can be innocent bodies and, secondly, a number of persons can be members of those bodies while being definitely innocent persons. Those are the people whom the Labour party is concerned to protect. They are not Communists, but, as we shall see, are members of bodies which through no fault of their own have been captured by the Communists. They are the people who, under the bill as it stands, will be denied the fundamental rights of our legal system. The Communists gain control of such bodies by two broad methods. In many instances they infiltrate bodies that have nothing to do with communism and gain control of them. The fact that the Communists have gained control of them will bring those bodies within the definition in clause 5. I am familiar with the case of a school committee of parents in Melbourne that was captured by Communists and used for the dissemination of Communist propaganda. Under this bill that committee could be declared an unlawful association, and if it were declared under clause 9 as it stands, every member of it, and not only the hard Communist core, or the Communist cell that had gained control of the body, would be liable to become a declared person. Another example of an innocent body that has been captured by Communists and so comes within the definition of an unlawful organization is the Australian Legion of ex-Servicemen, which is a reputable and worthy body of ex-service people.
It is a well known fact that some branches of that body have been captured by the Communists, who have infiltrated them. Their control of those branches would bring the branches within the definition of an unlawful association in clause 5, and that body could be declared as well as every member of it, whether they were members of the Communist cell or ordinary decent ex-servicemen who were in the organization for the legitimate purpose of promoting the interests of exservicemen. I challenge members of the Government to disprove this analysis of the bill.
The second method of Communist infiltration which could bring innocent people within the scope of clause 5, is the setting up of stooge organizations by the Communists as an under-cover means of forwarding their aims. The Communists deliberately bring in outsiders to give these bodies a savour of respectability. An example of that is AustraliaSoviet House in Melbourne. I think there is no doubt that that is a Communist subsidiary. Mr. Justice Lowe said in his report, at page 118 -
Australia-Soviet House is an institution which is legally a separate entity from the Communist party. Among its -shareholders are members of the Communist party and persons who are not.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- This is the first occasion on which I have risen to speak to the bill and I desire to make particular reference to clause 5 and to call the attenton of the committee specifically to matters that have been raised by a number of honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. W. M. Bourke). The relationship of affiliated bodies to the Communist party itself is, in effect, one of the basic issues in this bill. I have heard constant reference made to the findings of Mr. Justice Lowe, but I would earnestly commend to all honorable members opposite a perusal of a volume which contains a report of of the findings of the royal commission into espionage activities of members of the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa. They will find in this volume facts that will refute completely the basis of their arguments, because that basis is the application of something that is to us real and,, to the people who are subverting our nation, unreal. I feel that the members of a great political party are bound within the confines of their own consciences to defend the particular ideals that they hold to be true. “We all know that statements made by individual members of this Parliament are inviolate. No member of this Parliament can be arraigned in courts outside of it for any remark that he may make in it. Therefore, as a member of this Parliament, no honorable member can be declared under this bill. I am firmly convinced that all honorable gentlemen opposite are well .aware that that is the truth.
– What about people outside the Parliament?
– I am referring particularly to members of this Parliament.
– Why should they be exempt ?
– I am not arguing the rights or wrongs of the matter.
– I do not know that that is connected with this clause.
– I mentioned it because it has peculiar relationship to a number of suggestions that have been made in this debate. After all, I am sure that you, Mr. Chairman, will agree that most honorable members have been privileged during this debate to make slight deviations from the particular clause under consideration. I believed it to be worth while to direct the attention of the committee to the point that I wa9 making. The matter has been referred to continually in the past few ways, particularly by men who have had sufficient experience to know that their statements are without a basis of real truth. I consider that the committee should be aware of the fact that this diabolical Communist conspiracy against the welfare of this nation and every other nation in which this conspiracy operates, must -because of its nature be directed into channels which will themselves disguise the efforts of the main, essential, functional body, the Cominform. That is what is happening in Australia and all over the world. I shall give a classic example of it. I urge particularly those honorable members who wish to speak on behalf of democracy to analyse the history of Czechoslovakia which affords a classic example of the need for the terms of reference that are in clause 5. It was a perfect socialist state, established by Dr. Benes and by Masaryk in over twenty years of endeavour. Consider how it was shattered and reduced in the space of months. Observe what happened. We all know that that corporate state was reduced by infiltration and by the efforts of affiliated Communist bodies within it. There is no questioning the efficiency of this macabre and diabolical plan that has worked before and that will work again unless we can destroy it. We must destroy it. No democrat will say that a political opponent is to be declared or classified as a Communist just because he is a political opponent. Members of the Opposition know as well as I do that nothing is further from the minds of members of the Government parties. We are anxious to destroy the tentacles of the octopus. If we do not, then Russia will succeed in its designs. I agree with some of the fundamental statements made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). There will come a time, if the cold war continues, when we shall have to throw out of this country the people who are waging it, not only by their espionage but also through the affiliated bodies at whom this clause is aimed. These are the people who cause real discontent and dissatisfaction. These are the people who masquerade under such titles as peace conferences and take into their grip clerics and representatives of every profession and seduce decent, reasonable citizens. The military files reveal abundant evidence of that fact. If honorable members opposite were to read1 the evidence that the Secretary of the Canadian Joint Services Intelligence Committee gave before the royal commission that inquired into communism in Canada they would realize what we are now fighting. Do they not comprehend that communism is the most diabolical and criminal conspiracy that has been . evolved since the d’awn of civilization? A government cannot deal effectively with it by reasonable measures: Surely, it is reasonable that
Australians who have waged two world wars and whose country has sacrified much of the flower of its manhood in its defence should say to their national government in the circumstances that exist to-day that it must use special measures to protect the nation. If the Government fails in that respect we shall suffer the fate of Masyryk and Benes and that of all the countries now behind the Iron Curtain.
I am interested particularly in the provision relative to affiliated bodies that do not appear on the surface to be associated with the Communist party. Recently I was approached by the representatives of a body which without much deliberation I perceived was of a particular type. So diabolical is communism in conception that no man, unless he is expert in security matters, can say with confidence of many bodies that they are not affiliated bodies. Therefore a government must have the means to act suddenly and quickly in this matter. If the Opposition destroys the efficacy of this measure is will, in effect, destroy the nation. It is abundantly clear that honorable members opposite support the bill in principle. I believe that if this were a non-party issue, the great majority of them would support every clause as drafted.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Having listened to the brilliant oration of the Prime Minister (Mr, Menzies), I assure the people of Australia, particularly the electors of Shortland, that the Russians have not yet reached the “ Brisbane line “ and have not yet, in fact, invaded Australia. During the last two days the right honorable gentleman has repeatedly said that we are not living in ordinary times. He has said that the security of the nation is now imperilled, that practically a state of national emergency exists. If that is so, the Prime Minister should at least tell the people of this country whether the danger that confronts the nation is from without or from within. He should tell them whether war is imminent, ot not: because if war is imminent .he and the Government have failed the nation because they have failed to stamp out communism completely. The fact is that the Government has placed the Communists in a stronger position to play their game of espionage and sabotage than they ever occupied previously.
– Why does not the Labour party fight them?
– If the honorable member had fought communism as hard as I have fought it in the industrial field he would have something to talk about. I oppose communism because its philosophy is repugnant to the ideas that I believe in. It is clear from this bill that the Government does not really wish to destroy communism. This measure is the most abstract piece of legislation that has ever been introduced into this Parliament. In theory, the Government’s purpose would appear to be the banning of the Communist party, but, in fact, it will not achieve that objective. The Government is allowing Communists to continue their activities in the mines, railway workshops, dockyards and every other sphere of industry. The Prime Minister has repeatedly asked why members of the Opposition voted for paragraphs (a) and (&) of sub-clause (1.) of clause 5, and yet are opposed to the principle of declaration. I shall give the reason for our attitude in that respect. Prior to the recent general election the Communists knew where they were heading. They realized that if a nonLabour Government were elected it would do something ostensibly to ban the Communist party. For that reason the Communists assisted in the election of the present Government and, at the same time, worked for the defeat of the Chifley Government. Thus, the Communists are really responsible for the introduction of this measure.
But something must be done to protect the interests of innocent people who are not Communists but happen to be members of organizations that may be declared. The Prime Minister has stated that the object of the amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) is not to protect persons who are not Communists. There are numerous organizations and branches of organizations similar to the workshop committees that exist throughout the rail way services in this country. Because some of the executive officers of those organizations may be members of the Communist party, rank and file members of them, such as members of the branches at the Honeysuckle workshop and the Zara-street workshop, can be declared under this measure although they are not and never have been Communists. Persons will be declared by peace officers, special constables and other officers in the security service. Supporters of the Government should be aware of the technique employed by certain peace officers, and police officers. There have been many case? in which police officers have framed private citizens. They will be the type of persons on whose advice the declarations will be made under this measure. Therefore, every effort must be made to protect innocent people. Apparently, the Opposition is the only party that is prepared to do so.
Supporters of the Government ridiculed the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) when he said that the principles of graduated taxation and free education were included in the teachings of Marx. They said that it was humbug to pretend that people who uphold those principles can, for that reason, be declared. The preamble to the bill includes the following recital : -
And whereas the Australian Communist Party, in accordance with the basic theory-
Not the practice - 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-
The term “ revolutionary situation “ can be used to describe practically any set of conditions. In fact, this country has gone through an economic revolution during the last ten years with the result that Australians enjoy much higher standards of living to-day than they did a decade ago. Many persons who were or are members of bodies such as the Aid to Russia and Sheepskins for Russia committees, the Australian Peace Council and the Council for Civil Liberties are not Communists. Would any one say that any of the following persons are Communists : - Reverend Alan Walker, Reverend Ralph
Sutton, Very Reverend Rabbi I. Morris, Reverend Victor James, Reverend F. J. Hartley, Mr. R. Everett and Mrs. M. Martin? Yet, because the Australian Peace Council and other such bodies can be declared to be subsidiaries of the Communist party those persons although not Communists can be declared because they are members of those bodies. Bearing in mind the retrospective provision in the bill, it will be possible to declare a man who, perhaps, was a member of the Communist party two years ago, but had resigned from it. Supporters of the Government should know that no person is ever allowed to resign from the Communist party because that party will not accept a resignation from any one but insists upon retaining in its membership list the names of people who, perhaps, after being hoodwinked into joining the party, subsequently left it.
Why have some people been more or less forced to adopt the philosophy of communism? The reason is that, due largely to their environment, they have been glad to accept something that offers them some hope of security for the future.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I assure the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) that the measure is not directed against innocent people. It is directed solely against those who by lies and treachery and by all other means in their power do serious harm, politically and physically, to the people of this country. The measure is not directed against the trade union movement. Should any member of a trade union be declared, he will incur declaration solely because of the nature of his activities as an individual. In Australia and in every other English-speaking country, trade unions are enabled to function as genuine organizations only when their members and officers are free from outside control and domination. It is not a mere accident that in other countries the trade unions have been among the first targets of both Communists and fascists. During the last few days, particularly yesterday and to-day, I have listened attentively to the discussion of the provisions of this bill that relate to the declaration of organiza tions. The clause now before the committee relates to the declaration of individuals. Let us consider the sort of thing that happens in the trade union movement on occasions. I propose to cite an example of what happened during the coal strike last year, about which a good deal has been said during this debate, both by Opposition members and by honorable members on this side of the committee. I cite it because I believe it indicates the sort of thing against which this bill is directed. Although, for obvious reasons, I shall not be able to state the names of the persons concerned, I ask the committee to accept my words as a true description of an actual happening. Two men whom I know, a father and a son, were summoned to attend a meeting of the branch of the miners’ federation of which they were members, at which a vote was to be taken to ascertain what action the branch should take in relation to the threatened strike. They informed me that before they had left home both had decided to vote against strike action. As they approached the meeting place they met three friends and discussed with them the matters that were to be placed before the meeting. All five agreed to vote against a strike, but at the meeting all of them voted in favour of the strike. The father told me that he was ashamed of his action, but that the pressure brought to bear on him had been so great that, against his own judgment, he voted in favour of the strike. This bill is designed to fight those who apply pressure of that kind.
I reply to the challenge that was issued by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) this afternoon by saying that I am proud to be associated with the introduction of this measure. After listening to the arguments that have been advanced by Opposition members I find it hard to believe that they realize the size and the enormity of the conspiracy with which this bill seeks to deal. We have to fight the organization that is responsible for that conspiracy with all of the power at our command, remembering that it has not only a front line of attack and defence, but also second and third lines which at all times are propared to take over. This bill is designed to destroy it.
.- Despite all the endeavours of honorable members opposite to bolster up an untenable case, the fact remains that the arguments advanced by Opposition members in favour of the amendments -which have been submitted have not been successfully answered by our opponents. All sorts of innuendoes have been bandied across the chamber. It has been suggested, for instance, that the Opposition has submitted a series of amendments solely with the object of destroying this legislation and that it is attempting to put all kinds of obstacles in the way of the Government in order to prevent this bill from being translated into a worthwhile act of Parliament. All I can say is that if the Labour party can be indicted on a charge of that kind it is in good company, because many other organizations agree, with it that the bill is capable of substantial improvement. No one could say that the great organizations of public information in this country, the newspapers, wish this bill to be defeated. The daily newspapers in every capital city throughout the Commonwealth support this Government in season and out of season. They are solidly behind the Government in its attempt to get rid of the Communist party, but they do not endorse the machinery clauses in this measure which the Government is now attempting to foist on the committee. I propose to quote the views of reputable newspapers which by no stretch of the imagination can be regarded as the allies of the Labour party. If the Labour party as representing a responsible body of public opinion can be indicted on the charge of endeavouring to kill this bill, surely the metropolitan daily newspapers which are responsible organizations of public opinion can also be indicted on the same charge. I propose to quote first from a leading article that appeared in the Melbourne Age, which is certainly not a pro-Labour journal.
– Ob, no!
– Certainly not since the last federal general election. T-he leading article in the issue of that journal of the 11th May, is headed “ Concern for Civil Rights “, and reads as follows : -
Although the central purpose of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill is generally approved, second thoughts have induced a widespread conviction that dangers are implicit in the measure as drafted, and could be removed if some of the amendments suggested by the Labour party were adopted.
Mr. Chifley’s speech strengthened the feeling, gathering force since the measure was introduced, that while the main objective merits support, the machinery provisions of the bill could with advantage be modified. By this means, it would be possible to make the legislation more acceptable to huge numbers of people who, far from harbouring any solicitude for Communists, share the Government’s view of the Communist party as meriting the fate reserved for it by the legislation. At the same time, their concern is that the way should not open to injustice and wrong.
Without doubt, the criticisms, arguments and warnings have created a serious mood in a host of people. The effect of discussion has -been to raise misgivings not only that some of the proposals of the bill are repugnant to common law and Australian concepts of justice, but that these novel provisions are not essential to achieving the major aim.
Within a few days of his opening speech, designating 53 individuals as Communists and setting forth the offices they hold, the Prime Minister found it necessary to make several emendations, and to admit that further inquiries were being made, following a denial by one person that he was a Communist. Such things suggest the fallibility of officials, and exemplify the risk inherent in a power to declare and to impose penalties, without having to substantiate the case before a court of law when the person concerned appeals.
On the basis of the arguments advanced by honorable members opposite an article of that character would constitute an attempt to defeat the bill and if those honorable members are logical they must also indict the Melbourne Age. Let us see what the Melbourne Herald, which no one would accuse of being pro-Labour, had to say on this subject. That journal is, indeed, the most bitterly anti-Labour newspaper in the Commonwealth. In a leading article entitled “ Safeguards to Anti-Red Bill “ published in its issue of the 12th May, the Melbourne Herald stated -
The placing of the onus of proof on a charged person is standard practice in some classes of prosecution, but there is the strongest feeling that it should be used only when it is absolutely unavoidable. Mr. Menzies contends that its use is essential if the bill is to be effective. His arguments will be closely examined. At the same time, the Labour Opposition will he expected to produce a practical alternative if it presses its objections to this provision.
The problem here is to retain every established safeguard for the individual against unfounded accusations and, at the same time, to prevent these safeguards from being exploited by Communists to the danger of the nation. Most people would like to see the dangers of the averment principle safeguarded in the strongest possible way.
If honorable members opposite are logical they must also accuse the Melbourne Herald of wanting to torpedo the bill. The same journal, in its issue of the 17th May, published a leading article under the heading “Vital Part of Anti-Red Bill that reads as follows : -
These are useful safeguards against any hasty and ill-considered use of powers. The outstanding point of criticism, however,” concerns the Government’s insistence that the onus should be on declared persons to prove that they are not Communists.
While this provision already applies in some classes of prosecution, there is strong feeling that it should not be extended unless it is shown to be unavoidable in the public interest. This will be the vital point of debate in the committee stages of the bill.
The country would be happier if the Government’s objectives could be fully attained without extending the averment principle.
These are the considered opinions of journals which by no stretch of the imagination could be termed pro-Labour. They represent a large body of opinion in this Commonwealth. Because the Opposition is attempting to amend the provisions of this bill so that they will meet with the wholehearted approval of the majority of the people it is vilified and abused by honorable members opposite and charged with attempting to stab the bill to death. Nothing is further from the truth. We have a perfect right to submit the views of not only those whom we directly represent but also the large body of opinion in Australia which is not represented in this chamber by the Government parties. The tenor of the leading articles from which I have quoted proves that the views that we have submitted are completely justified. Under the provisions of this clause the onus of proof is placed on the declared person. We have been told that the Government has framed these provisions very reluctantly and only because of the present state of emergency. I very much doubt whether the emergency is sufficiently grave to warrant the adoption of the course proposed by the Government. It is true that we are at present engaged in a cold war; but if the emergency is as great as the Government would have us believe it to be legislation should be introduced immediately to enable the Government to deal with it without delay. In present circumstances what the Government proposes to do under the provisions of this clause might well bring about a state of affairs very much worse than that which now exists. The Government claims that it is endeavouring to prevent tyranny by the left. Under the provisions of this clause it might quite well bring about tyranny by the right. The Australian people do not want tyranny of any kind, from either the left or the right. They want the Government to pursue a middle course. In submitting these amendments we are pursuing a middle of the road course which I am sure will meet with the approval of the majority of the people. We have not submitted them without due deliberation. Our sole purpose in doing so is to safeguard the civil liberties of the people, which have been gained only after years of struggle and persecution and must be jealously guarded. The Communists can be effectively dealt with by this measure only if the amendments proposed by the Opposition are accepted by the Government.
.- The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) has said that if, as we allege, this country is virtually in a state of emergency, we should have introduced emergency legislation ; yet when we introduced this bill, which is essentially such a piece of legislation, Opposition members have conducted a sham fight on it. They pretended to support it at the second-reading stage and then by amendments introduced in committee are trying to destroy it. They cannot have it both ways. This is a bill which is designed to meet unusual and difficult circumstances. Those circumstances either justify the adoption of unusual methods or they do not. If Opposition members concede, as I believe nearly all of them do, that we are living in a time of emergency, it is difficult to understand why they are not prepared to accept emergency legislation that is necessary to meet those conditions. The committee is dealing with clause 9, which is complementary to clause 5. Clause 5 applies to organizations and bodies of persons which may be declared. Clause 9 deals with the declaration of individuals. Under clause 5 bodies or organizations may be declared and have rights of appeal. An individual who is asserted to be a member of such an organization is dealt with under clauses 4 and 5. The Government is suggesting certain amendments which will ameliorate the original proposal. It has, in effect, adopted a suggestion by the right honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway), by having inserted something in the nature of an averment provision. By that amendment the Government proposed that the provision should be somewhat modified and the word “ satisfied “, which seemed to have offended the right honorable member for. Barton (Dr. Evatt) and others, was replaced by the word “ find “, which puts it beyond doubt that no person who is declared under this section will have cast upon him what has been wrongly termed the “criminal onus”, but will merely have to tip the balance of evidence in his favour. On the other hand, honorable members of the Opposition have suggested amendments which do virtually destroy the effectiveness of the whole bill. The right honorable member for Barton has now adopted the word “ satisfied “ which the Government originally used, has suggested that it means “ beyond all reasonable doubt “ and has said that it is for the Commonwealth to satisfy the court beyond all reasonable doubt that the person who is declared falls within these categories.
During this debate I have heard more nonsense talked by honorable members of the Opposition than I have heard in any debate for a long time. Although they accept the Government’s premises that the Communist party is engaged in a conspiracy against the Commonwealth and that the country is in a situation of great danger they claim that the provisions of the bill, which are the minimum provisions required to make it effective, are a betrayal of civil liberties. I heard the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) put forward an argument like Blond in tottering his way across a shaky wire. He stated a proposition concerning what he called a double doubt, which was, in effect, that an association could be declared because of a doubt in the mind of a court, and that an individual could be declared if there was a doubt in a court’s mind concerning him and it considered that he belonged to an association about which another court had had a doubt. I have never heard such stuff. “What happens in courts of law in similar cases? I ask honorable members to consider the wellknown case of a man who is charged with having goods in his custody, reasonably suspected of having been stolen. The police prosecutor proves two things: that the goods had been stolen and that the defendant had them in his custody. Under the relevant legislation the onus 19 then cast upon the accused of showing that he did not know that the goods had been stolen. At that stage the Crown’s case ends and the defendant either goes into the witness box or he does not. If he goes into the witness box he says, “ Your Worship, I did not know that the goods were stolen. I came by them honestly “. If the magistrate accepts that proposition he goes free. If, on the other hand, his story is not believed he does not go free. I could cite 100 or 200 cases from the law reports of the States which are of a similar nature. Under the Queensland Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act any person who, without lawful excuse, proof of which shall be upon him, is found in any dwelling house, outhouse, 9table, or enclosed yard under certain circumstances is liable to prosecution. If he proves that he was there innocently he is freed. If he cannot prove that he was there innocently he is convicted. An honorable member of this House was involved in a prosecution under the Customs Act in the course of which an averment clause was used. The averment having been used in the complaint, the onus was on the defendant to go into the witness box and prove that he was innocent. This type of provision is not new to the law. There are hundreds of such provisions in English law and to suggest that this clause represents a betrayal of civil liberties is nonsense. There is provision in the Crimes Act for the Crown to make averments in appropriate circumstances. Under section 4 of the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act, which was drafted by the right honorable member for Barton last year, if an organization did certain things such as making specified payments it committed an offence, and section 11 of the act provided that if the organization paid the money every member of it was deemed to be guilty unless he proved that the payment was made without his knowledge. The onus of proof was cast upon the defendant. That piece of legislation was a parallel of the present measure and it was put on the statute-book last year. Yet the right honorable member for Barton and his colleagues now shed crocodile tears and talk about British justice and civil liberties.
I desire now to deal with the matter of appeal from one court to another. Where, on a pure question of fact a person could have the right of appeal to a judge-
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
.-I am not very conversant with the niceties of the law. I do not understand the legal jargon that I have heard to-day, but I claim the right to speak as an ordinary citizen of Australia. I want to put the point of view of the people of Australia, not that of a few blatant fascists whom I have heard speaking on the other side of the chamber to-night.
– Order! That is not the way in which honorable members should be referred to. I ask the honorable member to withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw the statement, in deference to you, sir.
– I ask that in future, Mr. Chairman, you insist that Opposition members shall not be referred to as proCommunist.
– I have never heard of such attempts to shackle the people _ of Australia by means of the Hitlerian methods of which so much has been heard in years gone by. I feel keenly when I see the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) walk to the microphone, puff out his chest and talk like a storm-trooper. Honorable members of the Opposition are not to do what they want to do, but what he tells them to do, I have never heard. such dictation in all my life. In the year 1938 the Prime Minister was abroad, studying closely the methods of Hitler. The right honorable gentleman has not forgotten what he learned in those years and what he proclaimed when he returned to Sydney and said, “What we want to do in this country is to renounce democracy and follow the Hitlerian methods of dictatorship That idea has been reborn in the right honorable member’s mind. To-night, honorable members see the Prime Minister trying to shackle the people of Australia with the Hitlerian methods which he learned from that dictator in 1938, with the very able assistance of other honorable gentlemen who follow Hitler’s methods very closely. I refer to the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale) and the honorable member for Henty (Mf. Gullett), who is a super follower of Hitler.
– I rise to order. I object to that statement. The honorable member for Henty is not able to defend himself because of his temporary absence from the chamber.
– Objection having been taken to the honorable member’s statement, I ask him to withdraw it.
– The honorable member calls us Communists.
– Order! Objection has been taken and I ask the honorable member to withdraw his statement.
– I withdraw the statement, in deference to the Chair.
– I submit that an unqualified withdrawal is necessary.
– I do not worry about the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon). I withdraw the statement in deference to the Chair. I have heard a diatribe from honorable members opposite about the Labour party being allied to the Communist party. Honorable members of the Opposition are being insulted in this chamber from morning to night., When such insults are thrown back in their teeth, honorable members opposite want to have statements withdrawn, just like the cringing individuals they are. A couple of days ago I heard the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) talk about what a great country Australia is. 1 agree that Australia is a great country. He asked honorable members to consider what he had been able to achieve in it. What a paragon of virtue to hold up to young Australians! This right honorable member has flitted from State to State. He was residing in West Sydney when he was a revolutionary, but revolutionaries have their price and he flitted to Bendigo and then back to North Sydney, and now the great revolutionary is safe in Bradfield.
– Order! The honorable member cannot continue to abuse one honorable member after another. He must deal with the clause before the committee.
– -I am particularly concerned about the sub-clause that provides that a person may be declared if the Governor-Genera] is satisfied that he is- a person to whom this section applies and that that person is engaged, or is likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth . . .
That provides for the use of Hitlerite tactics. Who is to decide what activities young Australians are likely to engage in? I definitely oppose any scheme for the establishment of a system of informers to roam the countryside searching here and there to find out what activities young Australians are likely to engage in. The Prime Minister to-day accused the Labour party of trying to undermine the security system of the nation. The security service will not be worth a snap of the fingers if this clause becomes law. We have every confidence in the security organization and in the police force, but we know that the security service cannot function, if this clause is passed, without numerous additions to its ranks. The legislation will involve the establishment of a network of pimps and informers, and I offer no apology for using those words. I hate the very thought of pimps and informers, and so do all healthy Australians who indulge in sport on Saturday afternoons. Spies will stalk the land if this clause is passed.. Concentration camps will be established and our sons, our daughters, our brothers and our sisters will be thrown behind barbed wire into them. Honorable mem bers opposite grin and sneer, because the reward for their grins and sneers will be their selection as candidates for the Government parties at the next general election. They have to vote for this measure or be dropped from their parties. I appeal to the Australian people to view the bill in its correct perspective. Everybody laughed at Hitler at one time and treated his pretensions as a joke. I warn the people not to laugh at the Prime Minister. He has many ambitions, and the chief of them is to rule Australia as a dictator.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired,
– The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) has just informed the country that the purpose of the bill is to shackle the people by the use of Hitlerian methods. He has made that charge against the freely elected and democratic parliament of the people of Australia. Later in his speech, he urged us to view the measure in its proper perspective. After some days of listening to the sort of nonsense that we have just heard from him it is time that we did try once more to examine in true perspective the issues that arise from the bill. We are dealing now with one of the most critical clauses in the measure, and we have been told that it opens the way to all sorts of dangers and provides no proper safeguards for the individual citizen, despite the fact that the safety of the Australian people is, of course, our first consideration. What are the safeguards that are available to us and what is the purpose of this clause ? In the first place, the clause provides that certain persons may be declared. Who are those persons ? They constitute a very limited group in Australia. It is not sufficient, under the clause, that a man shall be a Communist in order to be declared. Before he can be declared, not only must he be a Communist, or a member of an organization which, in the view of the Government, is so closely linked with the Communist party as to have a Communist significance attached to it, but also he must be a person who, in the opinion of the Governor-General, is engaged, or likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. That restricts the number of persons who may be declared under the bill to a very small group of individuals. What is the effect of the inclusion in the clause of the phrase, “ in the opinion of the Governor-General “ ? In practice, the effect will be that no single official and no single Minister will be able to declare a person. Before a man can be declared under the terms of the bill, the Governor-General, presiding over a meeting of the Executive Council, which is a representative group of Ministers, must express his satisfaction that that man is a Communist or is associated with one of the organizations declared to be linked with communism and, at the same time, is engaged, or likely to be engaged, in activities prejudicial to the security of the Commonwealth. That is the first safeguard.
What will happen after a person has been declared? The only penalty that will be imposed under this legislation will be the disqualification from office of the individual if he happens to be a member of the Commonwealth Public Service or an official of a limited number of trade unions. Will any honorable member seriously argue that a person who, in the opinion of the Governor-General, is acting in a manner that is prejudicial to the security of the country and who, at the same time, is a Communist or a member of an organization closely linked with communism should remain in the service of the Commonwealth? The provision is so reasonable that the matter is not worth arguing about for one minute. Why has the Government stipulated in the bill that officials shall not be allowed to remain in office in certain trade unions if they have been declared to be Communists or members of unlawful associations and also to be engaging in subversive activities ? The unions mentioned in the bill are those that are associated with the coal-mining industry, the iron and steel industry, the engineering industry, the building industry, the transport industry, the power industry, or any other industry which, in the opinion of the Governor-General, is vital to the security and defence of Australia. The reason for that provision should be abundantly clear, but, for the further en- lightment of honorable members, I direct attention to an official publication of the World Federation of Trade Unions. It is entitled the World Trade Union Movement and is described as a monthly information and documentary review of the World Federation of Trade Unions. That federation has been condemned by the official trade union movement of Australia as being a Communist organization. The copy of the publication to which I refer is the December issue of 1949, and it contains a report of a conference of delegates from all parts of the world that was held at Peking. Incidentally, I remind honorable members that, two prominent trade union officials,. Thornton representing the ironworkers,, and Elliott representing the seamen, recently left Australia to attend another meeting convened by the World Federation of Trade Unions. The bulletin to which I refer contains the following interesting passage under the heading, “Resolution on the Work of the Trade Unions Internationals “ : -
The Executive Bureau of W.F.T.TJ. takes note of the activity of the Trade Unions Internationals of Seamen and Dockers-
The equivalent of the Waterside Workers Federation and the Seamen’s Union in Australia !
The Don Thomsons of Australia ! - and Metal and Engineering Industries Workers-
The Ernie Thorntons and the rest of them ! - aimed at creating powerful international solidarity campaigns at the time of the Canadian seamen’s strike, the London dockers’ movement and the Finnish timber workers strikes.
If any honorable member wants to have proof of the international nature of the world Communist conspiracy organized through the trade union movements of the democracies as well as of the Communist dominated countries, he may find it in instance after instance in publications such as the one from which I have just quoted.
The Communists in Australia have made determined efforts to fasten themselves on to our vital industries. They have ignored the unions that do not really matter from their point of view, and they have concentrated their ablest and most intelligent men in the key coalmining, metal, engineering, building and transport industries for the purpose of taking control of them and using as dupes the trade unionists who, in the sacred name of solidarity, have been led by the nose until at last they are rebelling against such treatment. I take up the challenge of the honorable member who has said that we are striving to impose the shackles of Hitler upon the people and I assure him that we, who were recently given a mandate to govern by the people, are prepared to go back to the people whenever the Labour party cares to exercise the power that it commands in the Senate and justify the legislation that we have brought down for the purpose of destroying the Communist menace in Australia. All the tinkering arguments that have been used in this discussion cannot disguise the fact that the real safeguard of the people is the fact that they live in a parliamentary democracy and that no parliament in the world is more sensitive, more immediately available and more responsive to public opinion than is this Parliament. Every member of the Government is available, at any hour of the day on almost any day of the week, to the press, to the public and to private members of the Parliament. That is the real safeguard of the people.
– Order ! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- After listening to the first part of the speech that has just been made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt), I am more firmly convinced than ever that the Labour party is on the right track and that the Government has failed miserably to justify the injustice of this clause. The Minister talked about the safeguards that the bill provides for the people who may be affected by its provisions. I remind him that the Communist who may be caught up in the toils of this measure and declared will have the right of appeal, but that the person who is not a Communist but who may be a member of an organization that includes a majority of
Communists will have no right of appeal if he is declared. It is those people for whom we are fighting in this amendment. They are the people who belong to an organization, the majority of the members of which are Communists, but who themselves are not Communists and who might easily have to face a judge as declared persons. To say that there is any safeguard for such people is to beg the question. We have proved that the onus of proof clause is a vicious thing. We are not the only people who believe that, but listening to the Prime Minister to-day one would have thought that everybody in this country believed the statements that he made in defence of himself when in actual fact some of his strongest supporters have definitely drawn away from the Government on this issue and are now supporting the contention of the Opposition. The onus of proof clause is in our opinion a vicious thing. May I point out to the Minister who has just resumed his seat that there are three crimes in this country which are regarded as the greatest that can be committed by any citizen. The first is murder, the second is rape and the third is treason. In each one of those three crimes the onus of proof lies upon the Crown. I should like the parties opposite to prove to me that any action now being legislated against is worse than those three crimes. The Government claims that the purpose of this bill is to deal with traitors. In effect the Government is aiming this bill at traitors. If the ordinary laws of the land put the onus of proof on the Crown in the case of treason, why under this bill should it be switched to the person who is declared ? There is no logic whatsoever in that part of the measure, and I am convinced that the Government now desires a double dissolution as it is peeved because the Labour party has a majority in another place. Therefore the Government believes that it should seize any pretext for making an appeal to the country.
I take up the challenge of the Minister who has just resumed his seat. We are prepared to go to the country on any day that the Government chooses. The sooner a double dissolution can be arranged over this clause the better. I am tie only Labour member from Tasmania, but I am prepared to go to the country on this clause of the bill because, although we approve of the banning of the Communist party, we definitely do not approve of the onus of proof clause. I am quite sure, from my work amongst the people during the last few week-ends, that if the Government did go to the country it would come back with a reduced majority. I do not say that the Government parties would not be returned as a government, but their majority would be considerably reduced. I challenge the Government to take us to the country. We are game to go to the people on this clause. The attitude of the Government is one of intimidation ; it is trying to show that the Opposition is not game to face up to the Communist issue. We gladly take up that challenge. I do so myself, although I am not in a particularly safe Labour seat. T repeat that .the three greatest crimes under our law are murder, rape and treason. In each case the onus of proof lies on the Crown. Yet this bill puts the onus upon the individual. That is a complete reversal of the principles of British justice as they apply generally in this country. The Prime Minister said, “ If we had to prove they were guilty we should have to lay bare our security system and the sources of our information “. That is a very childish statement from such an eloquent gentleman as the Prime Minister. I direct attention to Sharkey’s case which was tried in the courts last year. Sharkey was charged with having made seditious utterances. Was the security system of this country laid bare before the judge when the Government had to prove that Sharkey’s utterances were seditious? Certainly not. Nor would it be laid bare in any case in which a person had to be proved to be a Communist. The Government’s attitude on the matter is just eye-wash. It is pulling the wool over our eyes to try to convince us, and the people of Australia, that some great security principle is involved in this matter. The Prime Minister’s statement, which, in my opinion, places him in the Hitler class, was this, “ If there is a doubt in the mind of the judge on any case that comes before the court under this bill then the defendant is guilty “. If that is not a complete reversal of ordinary British justice, as the layman - not the lawyers - understands justice, then I completely misunderstand the ordinary meaning of justice. I am a layman, and I speak for the ordinary Australian. After hearing the lawyers in this chamber during the last few days, I am glad that I am not a lawyer, because they could hardly agree on one phrase. The ordinary man sees in this clause a complete reversal of ordinary British justice. Where there is a doubt the defendant is guilty, and the security service must be protected. I shall quote from an article that appeared in the Hobart Mercury of Monday, the 15th May. The Mercury is one of the most consistent opponents of Labour in this country. The article reads -
But there are provisions in the bill to which the Labour Party has legitimate and reasonable grounds of objection. In all but one case the Prime Minister has met these objections. The one still in dispute is the clause transferring the onus of proof from the Crown to the suspected communist.
Instead of the State being called upon to prove that a person is a communist - and therefore subject to. the new law - the suspect is assumed to be a communist and must prove that he is not. This of course reverses a principle which has been the basis of British law for centuries.
The Labour Party itself sponsored laws which prejudged people as guilty and placed on them the responsibility of proving their innocence. But that was done in time of war when long established standards often have to give way. The question now is whether in time of peace the menace of communism is such that it justifies setting aside a primary rule of law which is a protection for the subject. This drastic provision apparently is designed to meet the convenience or methods of the security service. But there is certain to be a very strong public feeling that thesecurity service, not a centuries-old principle of law, must suffer a readjustment.
That article claims that where justice must be done in connexion with an individual, we must protect the individual and not the security service. The security service must be readjusted to. meet that situation, and an innocent person must not be deemed to be guilty. I mention also the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who is the chief informer of the Government at this time, and no doubt would lead the informers
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has just made a comparison between the position that will obtain under this clause and the case of Sharkey. The comparison is not a legitimate one, because the only thing that had to be proved in Sharkey’s case was that he had made the statement that was published in the newspaper. That was proved, and there was no need for any security service to enter into the case. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) quoted from several newspapers. His implication was that the newspapers were against this particular clause, but there was one qualification of that statement, namely, “unless it can be shown to be in the best interests of the country”. I believe that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that this clause is in the best interests of the country. I respect the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) for his fight against communism and Communists, but even if he does not love them there is no need for him to throw them to honorable members on this side of the chamber. With rather peculiar logic he argued that the Communists voted for the present Government parties at the last general election so that they could bring down this bill. Quite a number of Communists were disturbed when this legislation was projected, and they led deputations to Canberra and poured in wires and letters about the bill. If their original scheme was as the honorable member for Batman stated it to be, then apparently it has misfired. The Opposition’s policy appears to be to vote for the bill in the first place, and then to deny that communism constitutes a danger to Australia’s security and that there is any need for strong measures. Perhaps not all honorable members opposite consistently adopt that attitude, because a division of opinion among them has become apparent during the debate in this chamber. If this danger is proved to be impending and real, if a cold war is in existence and is really a danger to Australia, then some of them will change their opinions and outlook and will accept this bill, including clauses 5 and 9.
We are prepared to believe that there is a danger to Australia, and a number of honorable members on this side of the committee would not be here now if they had not fought against such a danger as communism at the last general election. That is why we consider that this bill cannot be tampered with, .and should become law so that the power of communism will be reduced to a minimum. If honorable members opposite claim that there is no cold war, then they should try to ascertain what are the views of the man who is now in Heidelberg hospital with a smashed face, having been sent there from Malaya ; the relatives of the crew of a privateer, an American plane, that was shot down; the United States itself, which recently put into operation a radar and aircraft defence screen over the strategic part of America. I ask honorable members opposite to say whether they consider all those people are hysterical. I suggest that honorable members opposite should ask the air crews, who conducted the Berlin airlift for months and months to bring food to a starving city, whether there is any cold war in existence. I submit that there is ample evidence to show that drastic and extreme action against communism is necessary.
Close to us are Malaya and Burma,, which are in a, chaotic condition caused by the machinations of the Communists. I suggest that honorable members opposite are fiddling with legal quibbles whilethe Communists are burning us out. Our main objection to the Opposition’s amendments is that they would cause delay.. History proves that the enemy moves fast.. It proves that the enemy first softens and then attacks. If honorable members will think back to the commencement of the last war against Japan they will realize with what speed the enemy struck. Therefore, we must be constantly on our guard, and we must prepare our defences now. One of ourmain defences is opposition to the Communist party. The Opposition alleges that the Government wants to catch innocent people. That will not be done.. We have a conscience and a genuine desire to protect the public, yet honorable members opposite charge us with the intentionto look for innocent people and declare- them. There will be a screening process. Certain legal formalities must be observed. Opposition members are perfectly well aware that that is the position. Those of us who have studied the curse of communism know that it is deadly and dangerous. The honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) described very lucidly the situation in Czechoslovakia. France is another example of how communism white-anted a wonderful country. When La Marsellaise was played before the outbreak of World War II., one-half of the people present would rise and whistle in an endeavour to drown it. Visitors to France in those days could see how communism was affecting the morale of the country. When World War II. began, France had been weakened by the activities of the Communists within its borders, and during the so-called “ phoney war “ communism infiltrated that country to such a degree that it fell a comparatively easy prey to Hitler’s armies. We know how the Communist worked from 192S until 1939, and we must recognize that they may be able to achieve similarly destructive results in this country unless they are checked. Nobody had heard of Quisling before the Germans invaded Norway. Unless the provisions of this bill are invoked, and the security service is afforded every possible assistance, we shall not uncover the quislings in Australia.
– The quislings were not among the workers.
– They were among the higher strata of society.
– The Communists white-ant every branch of society. An Opposition member declared this evening that communism was caused by certain economic and industrial conditions. If that is true, how do honorable members account for some of the intelligentsia espousing the cause of communism ? We have to get all the Communists. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) referred to the trials of Communists in the United States of America and contended that they exhibited justice in the highest degree; but I point out that tho.se trials dragged on for months and their actual value was reduced considerably. In the same way, the trials of Communists in Australia would be protracted, and their value would be reduced if the amendments that have been proposed by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) were accepted. We have not yet had time to estimate the setback that those trials have given to communism in the United States of America, but, if anything, they are a warning to us that we should not follow the same methods. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) described this bill as a measure to smash the trade unions. I strongly disagree with that statement, and assure him that not one honorable member on this side of the chamber desires to smash the trade union movement.
– We believe that the unions need sane and sensible men, who have logical and analytical minds, to present their cases to the industrial tribunals, where they should be articulate, but we have no desire to smash them. We wish to help them, and to cleanse them of the Communist element. Opposition members may laugh at that statement, but a member of a union executive in Geelong did not laugh when he asked me, shortly before this bill was introduced, whether I considered that it would become law. I replied, “ To the best of my knowledge and belief, it will become law.”
– Who was that union executive ?
– I shall not give the honorable member for East Sydney that information, because the man would be victimized, as the honorable gentleman knows. I said to him, “ Why do you ask me that question ? “ He replied, “ Because the ‘ Commos ‘ have us beaten, and we need the Government’s help. They are too clever for us “.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- It is time that we saw this bill in the proper perspective, since we were led away from it by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who- employed his customary forensic style with many rhetorical flourishes. For purposes of simplicity, the bill may be divided into three parts. The first is that which bans the Communist party of
Australia as such, and the Opposition does not object to that proposal. The Communist party will be disbanded, and its assets will be taken over by the Commonwealth. Such matters as fundamental justice, the right of appeal and the onus of proof do not arise. The party will be abolished when the bill becomes law. The second division deals with the auxiliary bodies of the Communist party and any other bodies that may be deemed to be under its influence or control. The committee considered that in clause 5. The third division relates to individual members of those auxiliary bodies, or persons who may be classed as Communists within the definition in clause 3. A Communist is defined as - a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin.
The Prime Minister, in his second-reading speech and again this evening, said that the purpose of the bill is to deal with militant revolutionary communism. Ho referred extensively to the recitals, but if he is sincere, he should make it clear that the enacting clauses of the bill are designed to deal with militant revolutionary communism, and he should accept the reasonable amendment that has been suggested by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), according to which only bodies and persons advocating the application of the doctrines of Marx and Lenin by means of force and bloody revolution shall be dealt with under this bill. The matter of the onus of proof does not arise except in a secondary way under this provision. The main point for consideration is the right of appeal on the substantive nature of the declaration that will deprive persons of certain citizen rights. It is quite clear that the declaration, once it comes into operation, will deprive them of their right to earn their living, although no specific charge has been laid against them The matter of a hearing by a court does not arise at the time a person is declared. He will be branded on the say-so of some official. On the issue whether he has been disloyal, or is engaged or is likely to be engaged in subversive activities, no right of appeal is provided, and the Govern ment does not hold out any hope that it will accept any of the amendments that have been suggested by the right honorable member for Barton for the purpose of correcting that anomaly. The pretext for that decision is that the reports of the security service should not be made available to, or be challenged in any way in a court, or be made subject to crossexamination by counsel for the individuals or the organizations concerned. The appeal will relate only to whether or not a person is or has been a Communist or a member of an auxiliary organization. On the main issue of whether the person is disloyal or is likely to be disloyed, he is not given the right to be heard. If the Prime Minister will give further consideration to that matter, the impasse that has arisen between the Opposition and the Government on that point may be dissolved.
It is nonsense to claim that the security service shall not be open to scrutiny by an impartial court of law that will hear appeals. The individuals concerned will be at the mercy, and in the hands of, their political opponents, who must necessarily be biased judges of the situation. Why should the security service be sacrosanct? Why should not its reports be tested and its agents examined? Obviously, the security service will be above the law, and its agents will be a class unto themselves. Their activities must not be challenged in any way. Naturally, the agents will endeavour to please the government of the day, and to strain a point in its favour, particularly when they are dealing with political opponents. An excellent example of that is provided by the Australia First Movement.. Honorable members who were in the Parliament at that time, will remember the atmosphere of hysteria that was engendered on that occasion and the sensational way in which the report was made to the Parliament by the then Minister for the Army about that organization. An attempt was made to stir up a mass fear regarding its activities. Obviously the security officers of the Army at that time were endeavouring to please the government of the day, and to gain a certain measure of notoriety and perhaps even promotion for themselves. They contended that they were dealing with alleged fascists, and with the supporters of our nearest enemy, Japan. It was ultimately proved that many of the members of the Australia First Movement, who were interned, had attended the meetings of that organization out of curiosity, or at the invitation of friends. Some of them had thought that they were being asked to participate in a patriotic movement. Yet they were interned, and their businesses were smashed and their lives were ruined. They had no real redress. Subsequently, some of them were proved innocent of subversive intent, and were awarded compensation, but the amounts were as nothing compared with the irreparable damage that had been done to them.
Another classic example of the lengths to which a security service will go in an endeavour to please the government of the day is afforded by the Independent Workers of the World conspiracy during World War I. Those honorable members who recall the circumstances know that that body was regarded as a subversive organization at that time, and the activities of its members came within the purview, not of an embryo body such as our own security service, but of the established police forces. Members of the Independent Workers of the World were convicted, and many of them were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. After the war had ended and the hysteria had died down, those men were given an impartial trial. A royal commission inquired into all the circumstances, and the evidence revealed that many of the men had been deliberately “ framed “. That experience should be borne in mind as an illustration of the lengths to which a security service or even established police forces may go when their activities are not subject to scrutiny in the courts. The royal commissioner who inquired into the conviction and imprisonment of the members of the Independent Workers of the World found that some of them had been “framed “. Evidence such as inflammable material had been planted on their persons, or in their homes, and false evidence was given against them by criminals and perjurers - men such as the Goldsteins, who were implicated in the forged notes case, but were given immunity against prosecution for giving
King’s evidence against members of the Independent Workers of the World.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I desire to refer to a point which, I feel, should be taken at this juncture. Whether or not Opposition members intend it, something like a deliberate attempt is being made to engender in the public mind a feeling that this bill makes no provision whatever for an appeal against a declaration by either organizations or individuals. I reiterate the point that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) so eloquently made earlier in the evening that an individual or an organization has a definite right of appeal.
– Only a limited right of appeal.
– There is only one section of this community which has no right of appeal as an organization and that is the Communist party itself, the body that is to be dissolved by the measure. The Labour party has concurred in the proposal to dissolve the Communist party. The bill makes abundantly clear that affiliated organizations may be declared unlawful and that they shall have 28 days in which to appeal to the High Court or to a Supreme Court. The first thing that is done is that the government of the day, through the Governor-General, declares an asociation to be an unlawful association. Within a period of 28 days that association can use its right of appeal. I emphasize that again because amongst all the verbal smoke and dither that we have had regarding this particular clause there has been something like a concerted attempt to mislead the Australian public regarding that point.
– The honorable member is attempting to mislead the public now.
– This clause gives the right of appeal to either the High Court or a Supreme Court.
– On one point only.
– Let me reiterate that. Once a person is declared he has 28 days in which to exercise his right of appeal. But what the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) proposes is that there shall be not only a right of appeal, but also a further right of appeal to the Full Court of either the Supreme Court or the High Court.
– What is wrong with that?
– As the Prime Minister has pointed out, there is in the proposed amendment now before the committee not only a proposal for a further right of appeal, but also a proposal in respect of costs or compensation if the person wins his case, an obligation that the Government is prepared to accept.. I do not want to pursue that matter further because I have made the point that I set out to make. Honorable gentlemen opposite, possibly through misapprehension - I should be loath to believe that they do it deliberately - are attempting to give the impression that any person at all can be the subject of action under, this bill.
– So they can.
– That is rubbish. Clause 4 provides for the complete dissolution of the Communist party and clause 5 is designed to deal with the “ rabbit warren “. Every Australian understands what a rabbit warren is. As soon as you start to pump smoke into it at one end all the rabbits bolt out of it at the other end and make for another one. I venture to say that the “ rabbits “ envisaged by this bill are bolting for warrens now. The Government has introduced a method of stopping the warrens and capturing them before they destroy the prosperity of this country. I am using a colloquialism that can be understood by everybody. The Communists are getting under cover as fast as they can. They are calling themselves messengers of peace or anything else you like. That is obvious to anybody who has common sense. Sensible people will support the principles of clause 5, which covers the kind of organization to be dealt with. That clause reads -
This section applies to any body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, not being an industrial organization registered under the law oi the Commonwealth or a State - (a.) which is, or purports to be, or, at any time after the specified date and before the date of commencement of this Act was, or purported to be, affiliated with the Australian Communist Party;
a majority of the members of which, or a majority of the members of the committee of management or other governing body of which, were, at any time after the specified date and before the date of commencement of this Act, members of the Australian Communist Party or of the Central Committee or other governing bod of the Australian Communist Party
which supports or advocates, or, at any time after the specified date and before the date of commencement of this Act, supported or advocated, the objectives, policies, teachings’, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Man and Lenin, or promotes, or, at any time within that period, promoted, the spread of communism, as so expounded . . .
Those are the kind of people against whom the clause is directed. If such people consider that they have been unjustly declared they will have a right of appeal. I reiterate that, because I know perfectly well that poisonous propaganda is being disseminated in an effort to delude the people that the Government is trying to rob declared persons of the right appeal. Nothing of the kind is contemplated.
I desire to refer now to a statement made by a Government supporter in respect of Czechoslovakia. About fourteen years ago I stood in the British Embassy in Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia, speaking to a man who was one of the finest men that I have ever met. He was the son of the first President of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, Thomas Masaryk. He said to me, “As I look out over Germany I am greatly attracted to the way in which the Germans are getting things done. But there is something in me that demands that, if I want to call Baldwin a damned fool, I shall be able to do so without being shot at dawn or having to spend the rest of my life in a concentration camp “. When I read that that man had been found in the street outside his dwelling, dead in the square in Prague, I knew, despite the lying propaganda of the Communists, that he had not committed suicide. He had taken the only course left to a free man because he had defied the Communists as they had murdered him. I say to honorable members in all seriousness that the war was long over when that occurred. When the Communists with Russian backing, took charge of that fine little country they started to crush it by destroying one of the first among its great men, Jan Masaryk. They destroyed him so that they might proceed more easily with the business of destroying the freedom of that country, as, indeed, they will destroy the freedom of this country if they are permitted to do so.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I consider that there was a remarkable contrast to-night between the remarks made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and those made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt), because the Minister for Labour and National Service, despite his great ability, obviously made very heavy weather of supporting the measure, for which he has little heart, whilst the Prime Minister enjoyed eating his own words. The Prime Minister told us that the cold war has now been waged against the democracies by the Soviet Union for several years. It is less than four years since the right honorable gentleman made a long public statement that completely contradicts every one of the arguments that he put before this committee to-night. That, of course, is something which he greatly enjoys. He delights in showing his cleverness by being able to argue on one side to-day and on another side to-morrow. He is an extremely clever man., His fatal weakness is that he is not so clever as he thinks he is. His fatal weakness is that in his overwhelming arrogance he believes that the Australian people will follow him in-
– I rise to order. I ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether it is proper for an honorable gentleman, while discussing this clause, to indulge in personal abuse either of the Prime Minister or of any other honorable member?
– It is highly disorderly in respect of any honorable member.
– The Prime Minister makes a mistake in thinking that, when he chooses to abandon the principles upon which British democracy is established, the people of Australia will readily follow him in his desire to line up this country instead with Venezuela, Panama, Monaco and Dr. Malan of South Africa.” Another extraordinary feature of the Prime Minister’s address to-night was that he was not prepared even to quote his own legislation correctly, because he made a great point about innocent organizations and guilty organizations, yet went through each of the sub-clauses of clause 5 to show that it was not intended to declare any organization unless members of the Communist party had at least a substantial influence in its deliberations. He left entirely out of account the fact that the Government intends to take power by this legislation to declare organizations in which no member of the Communist party has any influence whatever. It is taking power to declare organizations of which no member of the Communist party is a member. When he quoted clause 5 (1.) (d), he omitted to quote the words “ or are Communists”. The tyranny of words i3 of course very important. In this bill the word Communist relates not solely to members of the Communist party, but also to persons who have advocated or supported any of the objectives of Marx and Lenin. He left that point entirely untouched by his remarks. He devoted some of his remarks to the establishment once again of the argument that this country is at war in everything except the technical sense. If it is at war in everything but a technical sense then the right honorable gentleman will soon find himself again in difficulties, because this legislation proposes to deal with persons who are engaged or are likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. This man who is now at the table was Prime Minister of this country once before when it was at war and he was removed from that office. He was declared by the members of his own party on that occasion. They removed him from office and declared him in their opinion to be a person whose activities, or inactivities, were likely to be prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. If this country ib virtually at war to-day and if it will be actually at war to-morrow, then honorable members who sit behind the
Prime Minister now will find it necessary once again to declare him in that capacity.
One of the most disquieting features of this discussion has been the attempt by the Prime Minister and by those associated with him to show that only persons who are rascals, fools and traitors come within the ambit of this bill, that all of them are traitors, villians and rascals because they are capable of being declared under the measure, and that there is no possibility that any one who is declared could be innocent. Therefore, all legal processes and rights are to be denied to them. That attitude of appealing to passion, hatred and prejudice is dangerous. The effect of it has been clearly seen on the simple followers of the Prime Minister, particularly the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), when he rose in his place in the “ hill billy “ corner of the chamber earlier to-night. The honorable member, having taken keen notice of the words of his leader, and being a little less guileful than the right honorable gentleman, made clear how quick he was to learn what the Prime Minister was driving at. The honorable member said, in effect, “ My criticism of the bill is not that it is too drastic, but that it is not drastic enough. I would take much more drastic action against these pests beyond what the Constitution would permit”. When the honorable member was asked what kind of action he would take, he replied, in effect, “ What sort of action do you take against any pests ? “ His colleague, the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), answered that question by saying, “ We will exterminate them ; “ and the honorable member for Moore accepted that answer.
That is the atmosphere that the Prime Minister is endeavouring to engender in this country. It is an atmosphere in which no one can expect justice or fair play once he is declared at the instance of the Prime Minister to be a traitorous person. But the Prime Minister asserted, of course, that no one could imagine that the bill would be used against any persons except those who are really members of the Communist party. Who is a Communist according to the definition embodied in the bill? If these powers are not required for use against any persons who are not members of the Communist party, why doe9 the bill apply to all who advocate, or support, the doctrines or objectives of Marx and Lenin? The Prime Minister says that there is no difference whatever between the objective of the Communist party and that of the Labour party. He recognizes the objective of Marx and Lenin as the objective of the Communist party and he states that the Labour party’s objective is identical with it. In making that statement he has shown the extent of the powers that he is taking, and he will be the man who will form the mind of the Government in having these declarations made. It will be sufficient that any man should have supported any of the aims or principles of communism. Everybody knows that communism in that sense is not something that is entirely apart. Its aims and principles differ only in degree from those held by a number of progressive people in the community; and it is chiefly in its methods, not in its objective, that the Communist party reveals its distinctive and objectionable character. Take, for instance, the principles of state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I raise the matter that I have in mind with considerable diffidence, because 1 have had difficulty in deciding whether I shall be in order in dealing with it on the motion for the adjournment. I came to the conclusion that, although the subject touches to some degree the fringe of a matter that is at present before the Parliament, nevertheless it imports certain new matter. I refer to reports published in the press to-day regarding certain occurrences in the Postal Department and the improper use of racing information which had been obtained by telephone linemen by listening in to conversations over telephone lines. Those reports are well substantiated, but they have not, as yet, been proved. However, it has been proved that a large number of linemen have Communist affiliations. It has also been proved that the Communists maintain a racing organization that is centred on a newspaper known as the Newsletter, which is published in Sydney. That newspaper is owned by a man named Chandler, who has passed in and out of the Labour party. He is a rogue and a consistent Communist, and he owns that newspaper purely as a blind for the Communist party. Perhaps many honest people in Sydney do not know that whenever they buy a copy of that newspaper they; in fact, aid the Communist party not only financially but also in other ways, because it has been used as a means of getting newsprint for Communist organizations and of maintaining gangs which, though nominally race-course gangs, are organized by the Communists for other purposes. I have raised this matter because I do not know whether any connexion exists between the events that have been alleged to have happened in the Postal Department and those that have certainly happened with regard to the Newsletter. I ask the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) to investigate this matter in order to see whether there is any connexion between the alleged leakage of racing information to which I have referred and activities of the Communist party. Proof exists of the infiltration of Communists into the linemen staff of the department and of the maintenance of a Communist racing organization that controls the Newsletter and uses it for Communist purposes in the ways that I have described.
.- T wish to raise a matter that concerns the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony). The Fremantle City Council and the Western Australia Historical Society have made representations to me concerning a departure in practice on the part of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Early in June there is to be a ceremony in connexion with the foundation of the Swan River colony which in the past has always been broadcast. When the bodies that I have mentioned took up the matter with the Australian Broadcasting Commission after the commission had refused to broadcast the ceremony, it replied that it did not regard the ceremony as being of national importance and that it would be repetitive to broadcast it again. This ceremony would be a proper subject to be broadcast on the State programme in Western Australia, because whether or not people in the other States regard the event as having any importance, Western Australians do so because it commemorates the landing of the first colonists in Western Australia. I should like the Postmaster-General to arrange for an instruction to be given that the cenemony shall be broadcast on the State programme.
– I .point out to the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) that a few days ago the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck) also brought to my notice the matter to which he has referred, and I arranged an interview between that honorable gentleman and the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr. Boyer, when the latter was in Canberra on the day before yesterday. I also discussed the matter with Mr. Boyer, who naturally was not familiar with what had been done by the commission’s officers in Western Australia. I expressed the opinion that the request seemed to be fair and reasonable and that, if possible, the commission should accede to it. I have just been handed a telegram from Mr. Boyer, which reads -
Reference Hasluck, Commission has agreed to record portion speeches Foundation Day ceremony and .broadcast with description on ceremony at good broadcasting time same evening. Feel this preferable to full broadcast of six speeches during morning as can reach mixed audience. This accords procedure similar circumstances in other States.
That should meet the request that has been made by the honorable member for Fremantle.
In reply to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr.. Wentworth), I have to say that irregularities of the kind to whichhe referred with respect to the leakage of racing information have recently been reported to have occurred at the General Post Office in Sydney. The Criminal Investigation Branch and the Postal Department’s detectives have been engaged on a probe of that matter for several days. It appears that certain employees of the Postal Department - a very few - in conjunction with certain outside racing interests, have engaged in something of a racket on a fairly considerable scale. At this stage, while investigations are taking place, I am not prepared to say more than that. However, I inform the honorable member that, so far as my information goes, there has been no evidence of any Communist connexion with the matter. The Postal Department hopes to clean up the matter. It is having extreme difficulty in that connexion because the “ birds “ have flown and have shut up their houses and offices. I trust that we shall be able to bring them to justice, and clean up the matter completely.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act -
Repatriation Commission - Report for year 1948-49.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department of Works and Housing
D. F. Major, P.N. Self.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations - 1950 -
No. 24 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.
No. 25 - Commonwealth Medical Officers’ Association.
No. 26 - Australian Workers’ Union and others.
House adjourned at11. 15 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Canberra : Home for the Aged and Infirm.
h asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable members questions are as follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 May 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500518_reps_19_207/>.