16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. Cunningham) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minis ter representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Does the Commissioner of Taxation administer section 24 (3) of the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Actas not applying to a company which has purchased its business or assets from another company, or does he administer it as applying irrespective of whether the vendor was an individual or a company?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer : -
Section 24 (3) of the War-time (Company) Tax Assessment Act is administeredas applying irrespective of whether the vendor is an individual or a company.
asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice - 1.Has any aluminium been produced in Australia by the company registered as the Australian Aluminium Company Proprietary Limited?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. The Australian Aluminium Company Proprietary Limited is equipped with rolling and extrusion plant and is not Deducing aluminium ingot.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and and Customs, upon notice -
What action does the Minister propose to take to remedy the present method of retailing cigarettes and tobacco?
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answer: -
The distribution of the rationed quantities of cigarettes and tobacco available to the trade has been the subject of investigation by my department. It is now proposed to set up State committees with a departmental chairman to hear and investigate complaints of alleged inequitable distribution of tobacco products. ‘J he committees would be empowered to correct the position in any case where unfair distribution was found to have occurred. Draft regulations are in the hands of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
When will the Minister he in a position to make a statement in regard to the future of the Commonwealth apple and pear acquisition scheme?
– The Acting Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answer: -
The policy for the 1942 season willbe stated as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers: -
Rates of Pay
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice-
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
SS. “ Dellie “.
asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
Enrolment of Rifle Club Members
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
Owing to the rifle clubs having been placed in recess, it has been found difficult to obtain accurate and complete reports.
It is anticipated that the approval which has recently been given for rifle club members to be enrolled supernumerary to the establishment of the Volunteer Defence Corps may result in further substantial numbers joining the corps.
Cashiering during 1914-18 - Enlistments.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answer : -
Inquiries are being made and a reply will be furnished to the honorable senator as soon as possible
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Has the Government issued any instruction or regulation which would allow any young man under the age of 21 years to enlist as a member of the Australian Imperial Force without the consent of his parents?
– The Minister for the Array has supplied the following answer : -
No. The instructions provide that men below the age of 21 years must obtain their parents’ consent to their enlistment.
– I lay on. the table the following paper : -
Apple and Pear Organization Act - Third Annual Report of the Australian Apple and Pear Board, for year 1940-41, together with statement by the Minister for Commerce regarding the operation of the act.
I suggest that, in order to conserve stocks of paper, the report be not printed: a.- a parliamentary paper this year. The Apple and Pear Board referred to is not the marketing board which is at present dealing with the apple and pear crop, but a “body which was appointed- some years ago to control the export marketing of apples and pears.
Use of Intelligence Service Funds: Appointment ok Secret Funds Royal Commission’.
Debate resumed from, the 24th September (vide page 424), on motion by Senator MoLeay -
T.hat the following paper be printed: - “ Special Funds - Use for Security Purposes - Ministerial Statement.”
– During my membership of the Senate, it has fallen to my lot on more than one occa sion to have to accept a task which I would ‘rather not have had thrust upon me. Fortunately, that has not happened very often; but incidents have occurred recently in connexion with the government of this country which require a good deal of comment and investigation. Yesterday J witnessed, in the House of Representatives, proceedings which, in my opinion, were in every way unsatisfactory. Australia is an important part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and is at the moment engaged in one of the greatest crises in the history of the world. This country is participating in a struggle which is more terrible than anything in the nature of warfare that has previously been experienced by man. All of the participants in the struggle, at least, those on the side which this Parliament supports, agree that it is a struggle to preserve our democratic institutions, among which is included this Parliament, as well as the rights of individuals and communities to follow their own way of life. I want to be as temperate as is possible in the circumstances, but, in my opinion, what occurred yesterday in the other chamber will do more to destroy the faith of the people in this Parlia- ment. purl in our democratic institutions generally, than any other single event of which I am aware since this National Parliament was established. It may be urged that all parties were involved in the unseemly display. I want,’ first, to trace as briefly as possible the history of the events which led to the culmination yesterday. I say now - not with a view to scoring any advantage in debate, but because I am sure that the Opposition ought to say it and that honorable members on the Government side ought to approve of what I am. saying - that the Leader of the Labour party in the House of Representatives, Mr. John Curtin, took the right and honorable course in the circumstances - a course which was in the best interests of democratic government, so far as we have anything to do with it. The facts which were placed before the other branch of the legislature were that a man visited Mr. Curtin’s bedroom, uninvited, and there presented to him, uninvited, two documents which contained most serious statements in that they involved certain men. some of them outside the Parliament and others who occupy highly responsible positions in the Parliament, namely, the Prime Minister (Mr. Fadden) and his immediate predecessor, the Minister for Defence Coordination (Mr. Menzies). Mr. Curtin’s immediate reaction was that the information which had been thrust upon him was too dangerous to handle. Being a. journalist himself, and not unacquainted with secretarial work, he noticed that the papers which had been handed to him were carbon copies. He therefore said to his visitor : “ These are only copies ; where are the other copies ? “ His visitor replied that another person, who also was a member of the House of Representatives, had a copy. Mr. Curtin is not yet aware how far any other copies have circulated. He has since expressed to his colleagues his reaction to the disclosure made to him. His first thought was: “I can have nothing to do with a man who gives to me statements containing Cabinet secrets which he has no right to know and which I have no right to know “. He therefore went immediately to the men involved ; he did so before he consulted any member of his own party. He went, first, to the Prime Minister, and, handing him the documents, said: “Read those; they have been handed to me. I am not involved,but you are.” After the Prime Minister had read the documents, Mr. Curtin took them to the Minister for Defence Co-ordination, to whom also he said : “Read those; I am not involved, but you are “. He was then informed that before he had taken that action, the leakage of Cabinet secrets had become known and the individual involved had been discharged from the PublicService. What was the position then? Mr. Curtin took the executive of those who sit in opposition in the two chambers into his confidence. He told them as much as he felt it was proper to tell them without revealing those matters which were Cabinet secrete and which, as he himself said - and quite rightlyshould not be further bruited abroad. The Prime Minister made a statement in the House of Representatives and the Leader of the Senate made a similar statement in this chamber. A debate ensued yesterday in the House of Repre sentatives and a debate is now in progress here to-day. It may be argued that, because of what occurred in the House of Representatives yesterday, a debate in this chamber is unnecessary. With that contention I do not agree.
– What about what has occurred to-day?
– What has occurred to-day has not yet been made known to this chamber, and I do not propose to make it known. I and the members of my party in this chamber refuse to be excluded from expressing our disapprobation in no uncertain terms at the unseemly explanation which has been offered and I propose to criticize it to the best of my ability. We refuse to remain silent on this subject. We, in this chamber, cannot participate in the fighting of this war, but we can see that we do not desert the boys who are engaged in the frightful conflicts that are taking place on the other side of the world. They are fighting to preserve democracy, we are fighting for the decency of Parliament. It has been said in the Government-owned and controlled press that the proceedings to which I refer are discreditable. I said that myself at the opening of my remarks; but that is no reason why we should remain silent. We, on this side ofthe chamber, decline to become accessories after the fact. If we did so we would quite properly be bracketed with those, who, unwittingly or otherwise, support the Government in what it has done. There is no election pending; I am not out on the hustings. I do not intend to have reprints of this speech made and circulated throughout the great State of Queensland. This is no election speech. When an election comes it will be fought on a very different issue from that with which we are now dealing.I can promise honorable senators opposite that it will be fought on an issue which will entirely obliterate this Government and prevent a. recurrence of these unsavoury proceedings. I listened to a very considerable portion of the debate in the House of Rep resentatives last night, and I say. with all respect, that I was thoroughly ashamed, not as a Labour man, not as an opponent of the Government, but as a member of this great National Parliament, to hear what was said by some Government spokesmen. . I was interested io bear the contribution to the debate made by the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes). Nobody knows the right honorable gentleman .better than I do. t was very closely associated with him when he was a member of the Australian Labour party, and I knew his wonderful capacity in those days. No man could flog our opponents in the same biting and eloquent language as that used by the right honorable gentleman in those days. He has not lost all of that capacity. As a matter nf fact, flashes of his former brilliance could be detected during his speech last night. The right honorable gentleman used to say things in those early days before he recanted which caused great delight in my young lii-.art. I was very sorry to notice his descent to A vcm us, when I listened to him in the House of Representatives last night. He did not tackle one vital part of the statement made by the Leader nf the Opposition regarding this unsavoury subject. As a. matter of fact hf endeavoured to make it appear - and his remarks would not deceive anybody with even a smattering of the facte - that the party to which we belong was the champion of communism. He touched on everything except the one thing that mattered, that, for the first time in the history of this federation a government had sunk so low as to establish an organization controlled by officers of its own political colour charged with! the duty of lining nothing else but spreading that particular political propaganda and supplying people secretly with funds belonging to the people of this country for that purpose. The right honorable gentleman did everything but touch the real gravamen of the subject. It is not new in this chamber for government, representatives to endeavour to make out that the Labour party is supporting communism. Last night in the House of Representatives that charge was definitely laid against us. Flinging his arms in the air, in his inimitable style, the AttorneyGeneral said, “ Why, there are men sitting opposite who are supporting communism. Why do they not come out and denounce it?”. Anybody listening to him would believe he had deceived himself n to thinking that :what he said was true. However, the right honorable gentleman had all the information at his finger tips; he knew only too well that those statements were not only deliberately untrue but also slanderous as far as we were concerned. Before any member of the Labour party can take his seat in this Parliament, unless he is dishonest, he has to sign this pledge -
I,…………….. hereby pledge myself not to oppose the candidates selected by the recognized political Labour organizations, and, if elected, to do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the Australian Labour party’s platform, and on all questions affecting the platform to vote as a majority of the parliamentary party may decide at a duly constituted caucus meeting.
We should never have witnessed the lynching of Menzies if honorable senators opposite had been pledged to something like that. ‘The declaration continues, “I hereby declare that I am not a member of a Communist organization or party “. The Attorney-General is aware of that pledge.
– From what is the honorable senator quoting?
– From the rules and constitution of the Australian Labour party.- There is no Australian Democratic “Front propaganda in that, nor a. word of propaganda of any kind. In order to show how low the Government and those who speak for it have descended, I point out that they are just as fully aware as we are that a meeting of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party was held in Sydney last Saturday. The Government is paying its Investigation Branch and the Australian Democratic Front to know of such meetings. Yet the Prime Minister stands up in the House of Representatives and makes these false statements. He and his supporters know that that meeting of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party was attended by two duly elected delegates from each State. They also know that that meeting carried a definite resolution that the Australian Labour party shall have nothing to do not only with the Communist party but any other “ snide “ organization which is engineered under an innocent guise and high-sounding title, but does not believe in democracy, constitutional reform or parliamentary action. At least those who speak for those organizations do not believe in such ideals. The federal executive of our party at that meeting also decided that every member of the party must abide by the pledge -which I have just read, and must have nothing to do with communism, either in its open form or in the “snide” organizations under which it sometimes masquerades.
– Did the honorable member f or Bourke agree to that pledge ?
SenatorCOLLINGS.- The Minister for Munitions knows what that honorable member did, and he also knows why his leader, the Prime Minister, lied about it. That honorable member was the only man in our party to adopt the attitude he did.
SenatorFoll. - Why did Senator Amour and Senator Armstrong leave the party? ‘
SenatorCOLLINGS.- The Minister for the Interior knows that the gentlemen he has mentioned left our party. He also knows perfectly well that they were out of our party for a very brief period, and returned to the party of which they are members to-day. He also knows that whenever these two honorable senators rise in their places in this chamber to chastise the Government, honorable senators opposite feel most uncomfortable.
SenatorFoll. - Why did they have to brand themselves non-Communists?
– What did Senator Crawford say about the Minister himself?
SenatorCOLLINGS.- Every honorable senator on this side was sorry when our two friends left our party, and every one of us was overjoyed when they came back. Nothing that any honorable senator opposite can say will drive a wedge between honorable senators on this side. The sixteen members of the Opposition in this chamber are definitely decided on every plank of the platform of the Australian Labour party as enunciated in this booklet and also on another plank, which does not appear in this booklet, namely, that at the earliest possible moment honorable senators opposite are bo be removed from the Government benches. There is much in the Prime Minister’s statement that can only be described as pure verbiage; the language is pure enough, but it is employed in anything but a pure way. It is quite unnecessary to refer in detail to the statement. Incidentally, I thank the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay) for his courtesy in making copies of it available to members of the Opposition. The Prime Minister, in his statement, said -
I come now to an extension of the system of special funds which took place in February, 1940.
All the talk by supporters of the Government in the House of Representatives in defence of the Government’s action in this matter was based on a statement that there has been in existence a special fund and a special Investigation Branch since 1916. I make it quite clear that we on this side know that every Government has an Investigation Branch. We know that it has funds which it uses for certain purposes which are never disclosed. However, honorable senators opposite, and those who spoke for them in the House of Representatives lastnight, know that the Opposition has never, at any time, taken exception to that fact. They also know that one of the funds to which the Prime Minister referred was operated, not by the Government, but by the Commonwealth Police Department. I was abroad in the land when the Attorney-General created this organization in 1940. He has a most disastrous habit of creating organizations when he is hurt. I was also walking about in the town of Warwick in Queensland when the famous Warwick egg was thrown.
– Did the honorable senator throw it by any chance?
– No, because I did not believe that an egg, however old or distasteful, could properly express my detestation of the right honorable gentleman. I would not waste an egg, even a rotten one, on him. I knew the man who threw the egg. In fact, he had two or three shots before he scored a hit He finally waited so close to the AttorneyGeneral that he practically placed the egg on him. I certainly do not admire that sort of conduct. I have had eggs thrown at me, but I have never squealed. However, I have never had an egg thrown at me by any of my friends, but by men who support the party of honorable senators opposite. The Warwick egg incident led to a political upheaval. The Attorney-General himself said at the time that he saw a railway employee with a spanner ready to do him serious injury. I saw that particular fettler on the railway line, and in his hand he held an ordinary engineer’s spanner with which he was doing his job. He was stooping down and tapping each, wheel of the train as it went past. If a wheel gave the right ring it was all Tight, but if not it was noted for repairs and duly sent to the repair shop. That fettler did not do any harm to the Attorney-General. However, the innocent Warwick egg gave birth to the Commonwealth Police Force; and in 1940, because the Government was facing political extinction at the hands of the Labour party, the Attorney-General gave birth to another monstrosity, the Australian Democratic Front. I shall have something to say about that as I proceed. We took no exception to the setting up of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, to the establishment of a secret fund - we knew that every government had a secret fund - or to the Government keeping track of subversive elements. Why, this chamber, in common with the House of Representatives, has given so much power to this Government, under the National Security Act, that there was not the slightest reason or excuse for the formation of the Australian Democratic Front. God knows, the Government has power enough under that act to take appropriate action against any man or woman, newspaper, company or institution, indulging in subversive activities. But the Government did not do that. It formed an organization, and instructed the officers of that organization what to do. The Government paid money to that organization, and about the circumstances in which it was paid I shall have something to say in the way of exposure later. This document is really worthy of a careful perusal. I can visualize the day - I trust I shall be here to see it - when documents of this kind will be put into a political museum as evidence of the progress that the community has made since 1941, when such practices were tolerated. Another paragraph of the Prime Minister’s statement read -
On the 5th January, War Cabinet decided in favour of counter-propaganda, and resolved that a conference should be convened of representatives of the Intelligence Branches of the Navy, Army and Air Force, the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, the Police Commissioners of each State and the relevant censorship sections nf the Department of Information.
The statement goes on to say that on the 23rd January, the conference made a report which included a recommendation for stricter control, through the censorship, of all communist and other publications which showed a desire to indulge in subversive and nearsubversive propaganda. Just what does that mean? What is the import of the words “ near-subversive “ ? The intention is obvious. The Government knew that it could put its hands on all those engaged in subversive propaganda, just as it did when it interned enemy aliens at the beginning of the war upon a given signal, mid without commotion. The institutions represented nl the conference already had all the power necessary to deal with subversive elements, periodicals, &c> and so the words “ near-subversive “ were added. Surely honorable senators opposite are not entirely devoid of imagination. What is meant by “nearsubversive “ ?
– Anything the Government wants it to mean.
– Exactly. It means anything that the Government determines it shall mean when it wants to remove men who are thorns in its side.
– It was not a decision of the Commonwealth Government.
– The Department of Information was represented, and that department is controlled by the Government.
– The honorable senator should study the representation at the conference. Every State government was represented; every State Police Commissioner was there.
SenatorCOLLINGS. - Does the Minister say that the State governments were represented?
SenatorFoll. - Police Commissioners from each State were present.
– Of course they were; they are the people who have to give effect to the decisions reached, but if the representatives of the State governments had attended, no resolution including the words “ near-subversive “ would have been carried, because no decent government would have tolerated it. Those words were specifically inserted in order to give the Commonwealth Government an opportunity, through the Attorney-General, to set up an organization which could attack these so-called “near-subversive “ elements. It would have been quite easy to get the other fellow - the subversive element - but he was not wanted ; he was not taking votes from the Government parties. The Government wanted to get the man who went on to the public platform and constituted a danger to the Attorney-General and his colleagues. Confirmation of that is to be found in the following facts : - It is alleged that nine pamphlets were issued by the Australian Democratic Front, and five of them were reprints of speeches delivered by the Attorney-General.What a wonderful proposition for that right honorable gentleman ! Three officers of the Australian Democratic Front, and the man who gave away the Cabinet secrets, were members of the United Australia party or were doing its work. What a wonderful way to catch the “ nearsubversive “ elements?
– We wanted commonsense men, so naturally we went to the United Australia party men first.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we should have got some of the non-Communist members of his party?
– Neither of the gentlemen to whom the Minister for Munitions (Senator McBride) refers would have sunk so low as to accept the position. What a delightful chapter this is ! It is a damning catalogue of tyranny issued by the Government about itself, andI am surprised at the ignorance of honorable senators opposite. When the next elections come, I shall want no better propaganda than this with which to stump the country.
– The honorable senator will need more than that to convince the people.
– We shall see. Obviously, honorable senators opposite are not game to risk it. Their dodging tactics during the last twelve months indicate clearly that they are afraid of an election. We are not.
The next paragraph of the Prime Minister’s statement says that it had been contemplated that the counterpropaganda should be conducted by the Department of Information, although, as honorable senators would agree, “there were considerations both for and against this particular method. Of course there were! One of the real considerations, and one of the main reasons why it was not done through the Department of Information, was that the public would have understood what was afoot. On the other hand, the Australian public knew nothing about the Australian Democratic Front. The Department of Information would have had to work above the ground. This stinking organization formed in February, 1940, worked underground in the political . sewers, and spread its poison just as a squid covers its victim with a cloud of filth before devouring it. The Prime Minister said that in February, 1940, his colleague, the Attorney-General, brought the matter before the full Cabinet. Of course, he did. No doubt the Prime Minister said to himself “ What a glorious opportunity for the right honorable member for North Sydney, if I can bulldoze the Cabinet into giving him permission to establish a special fund “. What a wonderful fund it was - a special fund for special purposes, operated by special people doing a special job. The Prime Minister’s statement continued -
What a golden opportunity for the Attorney-General ! In one year’s operations, this organization, at a cost of £3,000 per annum, issued nine pamphlets, five of which were reprints of the right honorable gentleman’s own speeches. I have never heard of anything to equal it. All administrative details were left to the Attorney-General! Yet this is the Government that thinks that it can get from the people of Australia an all-in war effort. That cannot be done while the Government is prepared to do a thing of that kind. A truly responsible government would not have left all the administrative details to its AttorneyGeneral. The Opposition would not have done that. We do not leave details in serious matters to any individual. We accept responsibility for what is done by the Labour party because we always know what is done, but honorable senators opposite, who ought to be men of more than ordinary intelligence, were prepared to allow this nefarious scheme to be hatched and operated by the Attorney-General, leaving all the sordid details to him.
– We can trust our colleague.
– In my opinion, the Government believed that nobody else would have descended to the dirty work that was delegated to the AttorneyGeneral. The Prime Minister further said -
My colleague thereafter established relations with a body known as the Australian Democratic Front.
That is not true. The body was formed first, and then relations were established with it.
– We could not establish relations with a non-existent body.
– The Government took good care to establish the body first. First,, it had to set up the machinery. When the men had been selected, the office furniture purchased, and the body established, I can imagine the Minister saying : “ Boys, this is going to be a sweet thing. Cheques will be paid into a private account which will be opened in Sydney by the Solicitor-General for the specific purpose of establishing relations with the Australian Democratic Front “. We are informed that the SolicitorGeneral, in turn, gave cheques on this account to the Deputy Crown Solicitor in Sydney, who cashed them and paid the proceeds into a special account which he opened in another bank. From the funds in this account, he made payments by cash from time to time. For any Government to authorize such conduct is rottenly dishonest and borders on a criminal act. Senator Spicer looks astounded, but, as a lawyer, he knows that what I am saying is true.
– Is the cashing of cheques dishonest?
– -Yes, when they are cashed for this purpose and in this way. Why were not the payments made by cheque? I was in the employ of the Australian Labour party from 1917 to 1931, and I have been a member of this Parliament since 1932, but I have never received any portion of my salary in cash. It has always been paid into my account. Here is another gem from the statement -
As a general practice, these accounts were vouched for by the organizing secretary of the Australian Democratic Front, and were verified by the Deputy Crown Solicitor, so far as it was possible for him to do so.
So far as it was possible for him to do so ! I have never heard of anything worse. If I buy an article from a storekeeper for £15 15s., I expect to get that article, and a receipt to show that I have paid that sum for it. The statement continues -
The same checks as hu ve heretofore prevailed in connexion with special funds, that is, approval by the Attorney-General of any staff employed-
Here I wish to say a. word about one of the staff employed, Mr. Barnes. I know him well. In Queensland many years ago he was a member of the party to which I belong, but, he “ ratted “ from it, the same as did the Attorney-General. Both of them, having burnt their boats behind them, have bad to accept as the price of their apostasy the crumbs that have fallen from the rich man’s table.
– .Some sections of the people have not failed to recognize the services of the Attorney-General.
– There was one section of the public that got a substantial quid pro quo for the subscription of £25,000 to the right honorable gentleman. Nobody has ever seen a statement as to where that money came from, but we know that the Attorney-General received it. I knew about the matter at the time the money was subscribed. I also know what kind of man Mr. Barnes was. He was sent to Great Britain as an immigration officer, but he did nothing worth while in return for the salary paid to him. It was never intended that he should give honest service for any of the money paid to him. I know what he has been employed to do since his return to Australia. I know what the predecessors of the present Government did when they employed Adela Pankhurst, now Mrs. Walsh, to make trouble on the waterfront among the seamen and the timber workers. The same subversive elements were at work, and in that way the parties forming the present Government won elections and got the Labour party out. of office. Nobody knew by whom the dirty work was being clone. I have been an intimate participant in every phase of this political movement. I met Mr. Barnes in Sydney a few weeks ago. I had not seen him for years and would not have known him had he not spoken to me on a railway platform. I remarked, “I suppose you are still doing the same kind of job”. I did not then know anything about the Australian Democratic Front. Not until a fewweeks ago has the truth come to my notice. The sum of £5,000 or, to be exact, £4,818 8s.- 4d., was expended in one year by the Australian Democratic Front, and this Government ought to be a shamed of its work.
Last evening I listened to the debate on this matter in the House of Representatives. On my way to that chamber I met two ladies outside the gallery door. They were not together and they spoke to me at different times. Each of them has a son in the fighting services, one being in the Royal Australian Air Force and the other in the Australian Imperial Force, and both made practically the same remark to me. One of the ladies said : “ I cannot stand any more. I have just been listening to the Attorney-General, who is also the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Hughes). This is the man who is entrusted with a department that is controlling the lives of our boys on’ - the other side of the world.” They were almost in tears, and tears were not far away from my own eyes. That is the effect that the prancing of the Minister had in the House of Representatives last night. He did not say one honest word the whole time, and honorable senators opposite knew it. They condoned his statement, and let him get away with it. The next to last paragraph in the statement by the Prime Minister reads -
All I need add is that, should Parliament, notwithstanding the protection of the public interests afforded by the security of both the Crown law authorities and the AuditorGeneral, desire these facts to be further verified, the Government will have no reluctance whatever to appoint a royal commission to investigate and report.
– The honorable senator’s party has agreed to that. Why can we not leave the matter at that?
– Because members of the Opposition object to having the Government’s crime on their conscience. We propose to go to the electors, when the opportunity offers, and say to them, “ Our hands- are clean “.
– The Leader of the Opposition wants to pre-judge the matter.
– No, I should not be surprised if the honorable senator Who interjects would like to do that. I have very little faith in lawyers. I know how apt they are at special pleading and how they bulldoze witnesses, upset juries and get verdicts. Rather than have an expression of opinion on the matter of this kind from a trained legal man I would pay attention to the views of men off the footplates of the engine, navvies in the streets, or coal-miners in the pits. I know what their reaction would be. They would not have one atom of respect left for a Government that has been guilty of this action.
– Does not the honorable senator approve of the appointment of a royal commission?
– I shall be very glad to see it at work and watch all the “ snide “ tricks to which the legal men on it will resort.
– How did the honorable senator avoid becoming a legal man?
– Because my parents impressed on me the importance of following an occupation that would enable me to earn an honest living. All that the members of the Labour party, both in this chamber and in the House of Representatives, ask is that no serious departure shall be made from the democratic principles which were established some centuries ago. When I was at school I took a keen interest in history, and since I left school I have continued the study of the subject. There was a long and bloody struggle before Parliament secured the right to control the King’s purse. In the time of the Stuarts, in the 17th century, that struggle reached its culmination. Honorable senators will know that in the reign of Charles I., the struggle reached the proportions of a civil war, which led to the execution of the King in 1649. I do not want to see members of the Government beheaded physically, but, following these disclosures, I shall do my best to see that they are beheaded politically. Oliver Cromwell did his work in 1649 and when, in 1660, Charles II. ascended the throne, the control of the King’s purse passed to the Parliament. The terms under which William of Orange accepted the throne in 1688, when James II., the last of the Stuarts, fled during the revolution of that year, included the principle of parliamentary control of the King’s purse. If honorable senators will read the question which Mr. Curtin asked in the House of Representatives, they will find that he asked only that there should be no departure from that hard-won privilege of parliamentary control. This Parliament has never been asked to vote money to the Australian Democratic Front.
– No, no!
– The Minister for Munitions will not deceive the Opposition with his “ No, no “. Does he mean by his interjection that we, on this side, sat silent and passed this expenditure knowing that it was to be used in a certain way, and that therefore we were accessories after the crime? The Minister knows that that is not so.
– I never suggested it.
– I say that not one penny of the money paid to the Australian Democratic Front ever appeared on the Estimates which were submitted to this chamber in a way which any one without inside knowledge could understand.
– The honorable senator surely does not expect that the names of persons to be paid out of a secret fund will be included in the Estimates?
– Parliament has acted in this way for 25 years.
– No Labour Government has done so. I fling the lie back in the teeth of the interjector. I repeat that no Labour Government has operated a fund to finance the Australian Democratic Front or any other organization.
– We will let it go.
– The Government would be well to do so, because the Opposition refuses to be a party to this infamy.
I have imperfectly expressed my detestation of what has gone on. I realize the restraint imposed upon me by the necessity to choose moderate language in condemnation of what I believe to be a real political crime. I say now, in conclusion, that, if the people of this country had known in September of last year what was going on in order to keep the present Government in power–
– Nonsense !
- Mr. William Morris Hughes is Attorney-General and Minister for the Navy, and his colleagues in the Ministry either knew or did not know what was going on. If they knew, they were accessories to the crime ; if they did not know, they revealed an ignorance which proves their incapacity to hold Cabinet office. I believe that the colleagues of the Attorney-General did know what was going on. The Australian Democratic Front issued nine pamphlets, five of which were reprints of speeches made by the AttorneyGeneral. If the issue of those pamphlets was not a misuse of public funds in order to keep the present Government in officeI cannot explain it otherwise.
– Has the honorable senator read the pamphlets?
– I have no more to say on this subject. This paper will be printed, and I assume that in due course a royal commission will be set up. I know that the Leader of Opposition in the House of Representatives will be consulted in regard to the terms of reference. All that I ask is that all of the facts shall be forced into the open. So far as I’ am able, I shall see that nothing is smothered up. I know, and honorable senators opposite know, that if all of the facts are brought to light, the appointment of the royal commission- will be the most disastrous action that the Government has taken against itself.
– In view of the announcement in the -other branch of the legislature that a royal commission i,s to be appointed to inquire into the leakage of secret information and the other matters referred to in the statement made in the Senate yesterday by its Leader (Senator McLeay), I shall not speak at great length. I understand that the Prime Minister (Mr. Fadden) has acceded to the request of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Curtin) that the Leaders of the Government and Opposition parties in that House will confer in relation to the terms of reference to the royal commission. Now that the matter is to bo investigated by a royal commission, it should be left to that body to sift the evidence thoroughly, and then to report back to Parliament. It is not my intention, or desire, either to prejudge the case or to traverse the ground which has already been thoroughly covered by speakers on both sides of the other chamber. The Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator Collings) said that the whole subject under discussion was distasteful to him, but, I may be pardoned for saying that he appeared to relish the opportunity to indulge in an oratorial outburst against his erstwhile colleague, the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes), who is now his political antagonist. It is not right that the Attorney-General should be called upon to bear the whole of the responsibility for what has taken place.
The Leader of the Opposition has quoted from the statement of the Prime Minister, in which he explained how the Australian Democratic Front came into existence. It was pointed out that on the 5th January last, the War Cabinet decided that counter-propaganda was necessary in order to destroy the effect of subversive propaganda. The Leader of the Opposition suggested that the resolution of the conference referred to by the Prime Minister might have been worded in the interests of the Government, but the fact is that the Government took no part whatsoever in that conference. I remember well that not only the War Cabinet, but also the advisers to Service Ministers, were insistent on the need for propaganda to counteract subversive activities throughout the country. If honorable senators will take their minds back to the.. time when that conference was held, they will recall that subversive elements in the community were causing a good deal of concern, not only to the Government, but also to the Opposition. Without any desire to make party political capital out of the situation, I remind the Senate that, at that time, the Labour party was temporarily divided because of the existence of subversive elements in the community. It will be remembered that Senators Amour and Armstrong left the Labour party for a time, and that in the other chamber, Mr. Beasley and five other members did the same. They found it necessary to form another party in order to make clear that they were not tainted with communism. I call to mind the announcement by Senator Amour that he had been appointed Leader of the Labour party, Non-communist, in the Senate. I do not say that the existence of subversive tendencies among members of the parliamentary Labour party was obvious, but I do say that certain members of that party left it because of the existence of subversive elements in the community, and because action by that party to prevent their activities was not sufficiently strong. The fact remains that they left their comrades as a protest. If the Labour party, which was in opposition, found itself in such a difficult position because of these subversive tendencies that men had to leave the party, it is only reasonable to assume that the Government took steps to counteract subversive activities in the community. No one knows better than does my colleague, the Minister for Munitions (Senator McBride), that at that time subversive elements were far more active in industries associated with the country’s war effort than in other industries, because in that way the greatest damage could be done. We know that key industries such as the iron and steel industry and the coal industry, upon which the war production of this country depends to such a vital degree, were selected for this form of subversive activity by Communists, or, if my friend, the Leader of the Opposition prefers the term “nearCommunists “. The honorable senator himself knows that even in his own State the activities of Communists or near-Communists have even found their way into the ranks of the State Labour party. So great has been the inroads of Communist propaganda in the State Labour party that two of his colleagues have had to be suspended for taking partin Communist activities. Is it not natural to assume that if that is going on in the ranks of the Labour party, it is likewise going on in the industrial organizations, upon which this country is so dependent is this critical time? The Government was so concerned about these antiAustralian activities that it called into consultation those who would best be able to advise it as to the steps that should be taken to counteract them. My friend, the Leader of the Opposition, asks why the (fenders were not gaoled? What happened when two men who definitely set themselves out to injure the war industries of this country were gaoled? They immediately resorted to the medium of hunger-striking in order to focus the attention of the people on their plight. Pleas were sent out to high Heaven on their behalf. Did any honorable senator opposite say that those who went out on strike even for 24 hours were doing a foolish thing because they were holding up the production of essential war materials and equipment for our soldiers ab road? Was any plea made by honorable senators opposite that the strikers should go back to work? Was any appeal made by them to the textile workers when they went out on strike and held up the supply of equipment and uniforms for the men overseas? Was any appeal made by any honorable senator opposite when the construction of the munition factory at Ballarat was held up at a time when the Department of the Interior was urged by the Department of Munitions to complete the job as quickly as possible? In that instance, the men walked off the job in spite of the fact that every form of industrial machinery was made available to them in order that their claims might be heard promptly by the court. Did any honorable senator opposite make an appeal to the men who walked off the Heidelberg Hospital job, the completion of which was so urgently needed so that the wounded who were returning from overseas could be properly cared for? The construction of the Heidelberg Hospital was held up for weeks, in spite of the fact that award rates of pay and conditions were observed, and every facility was given to the men to ensure that they got a fair deal. Special conciliation commissioners were appointed by the Government in order that the hearing of the claims of all workmen would be expedited.
SenatorCollings. - Did the Australian Democratic Front do anything to prevent the strike?
– I shall come to that directly. Was any, appeal made by any honorable senator opposite when the work of the brass foundry was held up in spite of the fact that it was commonly known that brass was one of the bottle-necks in the production of munitions? What will our soldiers overseas think of what is occurring? The War Cabinet was naturally very concerned at these constant interruptions. The Advisory War Council was so much concerned that, finally, a joint appeal was issued by Mr. Curtin and Mr. Fadden urging men not to strike, not to be led away by subversive activities, but to stay on the job. However, despite that appeal, strikes continued to slow down our war production. The Government, then decided to call a conference of the people who could best advise it how to counteract the pernicious influence of those engaged in subversive activities.
– The Government did not say one word to that conference about the Australian Democratic Front.
– Nobody could have said anything about it because at that stage it did not exist. The conference consisted of representatives of the intelligence branches of the Navy, Army and Air Force, the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, the Police Commissioners of each State and the relevant censorship sections of the Department of Information. There could not possibly have been any political complexion in a body the members of which had such diversified interests. The Police Commissioners in the States are not branded with any particular political colour, and as far as the censorship people in my own department are concerned, I know nothing of their political affiliations. The intelligence officers of the three fighting services are quite independent of political control. The conference resolved that the proper way to deal with subversive activities was to set up a form of counterpropaganda against the preaching of those who advocated strikes and a “goslow “ policy. The recommendations of the conference were given very careful consideration by the Government. It was thought at first that this work might very well be undertaken by the Department of Information, but, after consideration, it was realized that had propaganda been disseminated through the Department of Information it might have been regarded as having a political colouring. Personally, I have my own views as to whether or not this work should have been undertaken by the Department of Information. At any rate, it was decided that the propaganda should be handled by the AttorneyGeneral, who controlled the Commonwealth Investigation Branch. The duty devolved upon the Attorney-General to set up an organization to counter these anti-Australian activities. We know now that the right honorable gentleman formed the organization known as the Australian Democratic Front.
– Why was not parliamentary sanction obtained?
– Every shilling expended for this or any other purpose has first to be placed on the Estimates in the usual way. Does .the honorable senator think for a moment that it would be possible to subject every single item of expenditure to parliamentary approval? What do honorable senators suppose would have happened had the Government approached the Parliament, and said, “ We propose to set up a body to be known as the Australian Democratic Front. We propose to appoint Mr. Christie as president and Mr. Barnes as secretary. The expenses of the organization are to be met by the Government. It is to be used for the purpose of disseminating counter-propaganda.” ?
– The Government would never have got parliamentary approval.
– I agree; even if we had got it it would have been worthless. My own view is that the good work that this organization has been doing is now completely undone. I do not see thai any future good can come out of its activities in view of the discussion that has taken place in this chamber and in the House of Representatives. The Leader of the Opposition especially dealt with the position of the AttorneyGeneral and of Mr. Barnes, the secretary of the Australian Democratic Front. The honorable senator said that he knew Mr. Barnes, and the greatest, crime he could lay at his door was Ohe fact that he was once a Labour man, and that when the great test came in 1917, and Mr. Barnes had to decide whether to put his party first or his country first, Mr. Barnes went, with Mr. Hughes. We know that there were thousands more who believed as they did. It is because those thousands of people believed in Mr. Hughes and in what he and Mr. Barnes did that the Labour party has been in the wilderness of opposition in this Parliament since 1916, and is likely to remain in that position for many years to come. What were Mr. Barnes’s activities in connexion with countering subversive propaganda? Even his bitterest enemies would concede that he is a very capable public speaker, and that he knows the psychology of those engaged in industry. Mr. Barnes visited some of the south coast areas, the northern districts and other areas where our great war industries are being carried on. He was not engaged in political discussions, but has endeavoured to make the workers see the danger of harbouring undesirable elements in the community. He did not go there for the purpose of eulogizing the Attorney-General.
– He distributed copies of the speeches of the right honorable gentleman.
– The fact that the Attorney-General has made frequent appeals for unity is all to his credit. It is a pity that more of his speeches were not read and digested by many of those who are stirring up industrial unrest, and it is a pity that his advice was not taken more freely by those employed in industries which have suffered as the result of pernicious propaganda. Mr. Barnes did not accept office as secretary of the organization in order to make money out of it. I understand that he is paid at the same salary as he was receiving in private employment before be accepted the position.
– Is he getting £500 a year ?
– I do not know what his salary is. He may be paid £500 a year. If, as the result of his efforts to stamp out subversive activities there is a little less industrial unrest, less interference in some of our war industries, he is well worth that salary and a good deal more. The Australian Democratic Front was set up by the Government. The Attorney-General was appointed by his colleagues in the Cabinet to do this work, and he has done it in the way he thought best for the purpose of countering subversive propaganda in this country. Much discussion has taken place concerning the manner in which these disclosures were first made. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, a traitorous public servant approached the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives with copies of documents containing statements that may, or may not, have been true.. If such statements disclosed secrets taken from confidential Government cablegrams, this man thereby com mitted a felony which, particularly in time of war, is deserving of the most drastic punishment.
– The Government’s Investigation Branch must have fallen down on its job when the Government employed him. The Labour party did not recommend him.
– He spent the whole of his life in the Labour party, and he was an employee of the Labour party up to the time he joined the Commonwealth Public Service.
– A long while ago.
– He has never been employed by the Labour party.
– The honorable senator’s colleagues from New South Wales know a great deal of the history of this man. However, regardless of his politics, his action was most dastardly. I regret to think that there ever was one, man in the Public Service that could do what he did. I commend the action of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives in bringing this matter to the notice of the Government. Iu view of the fact that the Government has decided to appoint a royal commission to investigate this matter I shall say nothing at this stage as to whether money was paid to the president of the Miners Federation. However, money was set aside for a definite purpose, and if its expenditure has resulted in countering subversive activities in this country such expenditure has been warranted. I believe that honorable senators opposite realize just as much as I do that subversive activities are still being carried on in this country, and that such activities must be countered. Whether it is done in this way, or in any other way, I hope that such work will be continued successfully.
– I disagree entirely with the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) that nothing further should be mentioned at this stage about the president of the Miners’ Federation, Mr. Nelson, in this matter. J. could comment on many aspects of the statement now being debated. For instance, I violently disagree with the methods used by the Attorney- General (Mr. Hughes) in making payments out of this fund. However, I intend to confine my remarks to the aspect that a very grave injustice has been done to one of the most powerful industrial organizations in the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister (Mr. Eadden) in his statement said that the president of the Miners Federation, Mr. Nelson, and another official of the federation, about whose identity the Attorney-General is not certain, called upon the AttorneyGeneral in his office in Sydney. The statement then goes on to say, in effect, that the president of the federation received the sum of £300 to cover travelling expenses for which provision has already been made by the federation.’ I quote the following from to-day’s Canberra Times: -
Mr. Hughes then told of being visited by Mr. Nelson.
Mr. Hughes said that Mr. Nelson told him that he and the secretary of his union were anxious to put into operation a policy of continuity of industry during the war. It was for that purpose the leaflets and speeches were written. Nelson told him that his organization contained Communists who were opposed to any attempt to follow out this policy and he, therefore, asked the Government to make money available. Mr. Hughes said he consulted with the then Acting ‘Prime Minister (Mr. Fadden) and the money was made available.
No proof has yet been provided that Mr. Nelson received any payment whatever from this fund. So far as we know the money alleged to have been paid to him was handled by several persons, and it has not yet been proved whether Mr. Nelson was the final recipient, or that be at any time actually received any of this money. Consequently, a grave injustice has been done to this man, who is the head of what, is probably the biggest industrial organization in this country. He is now under a cloud. To-day, he is suffering as the result of statements and innuendoes attributed in press reports to his colleagues and to members of this Parliament. Itis alleged ‘by some people without an atom of proof that he has been bribed. I was glad to hear the Minister say that the Government will appoint a royal commission to investigate payments from this fund. However, in view of the damage done to Mr. Nelson’s character, and that of other officials of this great industrial organization, we cannot afford to wait for a disclosure of the facts through such an investigation. In to-day’s Sydney Daily Telegraph the following statement is attributed to Mr. Nelson : -
Referring to the allegation that he had received £300 from the secret fund Mr. Nelson said: “If any such money was paid, it was never received by me in any shape or form. It is wrong to say that I or” any other official of the Miners Federation, either together or alone, visited the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) about the matter.
What are the facts about the payment of this £300? According to the statement before us the Attorney-General possesses a receipt for that sum signed “ J”-!.. Winkler “. No other receipt has been produced. The Minister for the Interior said a little while ago that Winkler was a member of the Labour party in New South Wales. He was an employee of a Labour paper, but he wac never employed by the Australian Labour party. Further, he was “ sacked “ from the Labour paper which employed him because his ethics did not meet with the approval of that paper. Yet the Government asks us to regard as authentic proof a receipt signed by this man to the effect that he paid the sum of £300 to the’ president of the Miners Federation, one of the biggest industrial organizations in this country, and to believe that the latter accepted it as a bribe to influence this great organization to carry out the wishes of this Government. Such an allegation is absurd.
– He could not have led his organization to do the Government’s work even if he wanted to.
– That is so. If this money were really paid to Mr. Nelson why has no proof of that fact been provided? Surely Winkler would have received some form of receipt from Mr. Nelson to show that the latter had received the money. Was the Government prepared merely to accept Winkler’s word that he paid this money to somebody else? The statement made by the Attorney-General lacks conviction. He has simply stated that, the money was paid over. After hearing the AttorneyGeneral defend himself in the House of
Representatives, I am not prepared to accept his word in preference to the word of the president of the Miners Federation. The Attorney-General also said that another official of the Miners Federation is involved, another official whose identity he does not know. At one stage he indicated that that other official was the general secretary of the federation, but when that official denied that he was the person, the Attorney-General said that he was not sure who the other official was. If the Attorney-General makes money available to any individual in this country from public funds, then it is only fair that this Parliament should be enabled to discover the final recipients of such payments
– The royal commission’s inquiry will disclose the facts.
– I hope so. However, I fear that such an inquiry will drag on for weeks or months, and, in the meantime, the characters of the officials of the Miners Federation will remain under a cloud. We should do everything in our power immediately in order to protect those men. On Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to meet the president and the secretary of the” Northern Miners Branch, which is the most powerful branch of the Miners Federation. The secretary, Mr. Simpson, is an Australian of a particularly fine type. He is a cleanliving gentleman, and bears an excellent character. To-day, however, through no fault of his own, his character is under a cloud. A short while ago he was married, and out of his savings built a nice little home for himself and his wife. Since these allegations have been published his political enemies have circulated rumours among some lodges that, perhaps, Mr. Simpson received some of this money. He and the president and vice-president of the Northern Miners Branch are so deeply concerned over this matter, that they have assured me that unless the Government takes determined action very quickly to publish the full facts they intend to recommend to their Branch Council to-morrow that the miners in all of the northern pits cease work. The Government asked the miners to co-operate in the maintenance of industrial peace, and despite the fact that that co-operation has been promised, these allegations have been made, and a cloud thrown over all miners’ officials. That i3 not fair. These men occupy responsible positions. In the north, the three men to whom I have referred could, by signing a cheque, decamp with £80,000 of the miners’ funds. Probably Mr. Nelson would have an even bigger fund under his control, yet the Government has suggested that he was prepared to be bribed for £300. On the face of it, the argument is absurd. Whilst these allegations remain unanswered, how can the Government expect trade union officials to co-operate with it. Any trade union official who is prepared to go to Melbourne, Adelaide, or any other place, and have his travelling expenses paid by the Government, is, if we accept the Prime Minister’s reasoning, immediately suspect. To-day, Mr. Nelson is suspect. He has been one of the industrial militants and some of us are wondering if the allegations against him have been made in order to shatter his reputation in the trade union movement. Whether that is or is not the case, we do not know, but it seems to be a. distinct possibility. I am very pleased that the Minister has given an assurance that the whole of the facts are to be ventilated. I sincerely hope that that will be done quickly in order that these men may have their names cleared. I believe that in order to maintain a democratic government, it is necessary for the people to have confidence in their leaders. They must believe that the government and its officers are imbued with the principle of integrity. In times of stress such as the present, it is unfortunate that a fund has to be used for such purposes, although the Government has claimed that it is necesary. Surely there are ways in which that money could be properly accounted for, so that responsible people such a3 trade union leaders would not be so reflected upon as to make the appointment of a royal commission necessary. I sincerely hope that the Government will take an early opportunity to set up the royal commission, in order that these men may prove to their comrades in the trade union movement that the allegations made against them are untrue, as I believe they are.
– I did not intend to participate in this debate, but the matters which have been ventilated during the last two days are of such vital importance to the community that I feel impelled to deal with them. I listened with interest to the Minister for Information (Senator .Foll), who attempted to justify the attitude of the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) when he made his apologia in the House of Representatives, and endeavoured to fasten the tag of communism upon honorable senators on this side of the chamber. The Minister said that the Labour party was divided by Communist activities. I happen to belong to that section of the Labour party which did not accuse others of being engaged in Communist activities. If, in the heat of debate, and in the tense situation which was created about that time, certain charges were made, it does not necessarily follow that those charges rested on a solid foundation. The Minister also said that a secret fund had been in existence for years, and that these activities had. been going on over a long period. That is merely an attempt to cloud the issue, and to confuse the minds of the people who are likely to read the explanations that are being made. The fund which the Minister for Information attempted to ally with this secret fund established early last year was brought into being as a result of the activities of one or two hens which became famous without knowing it, and by means of their product, were able to make history at a plate named Warwick many years ago, on the occasion when the then Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) visited that district in the course of a conscription campaign, and attempted to justify the introduction of conscription. I well remember the occasion and, although I did not actually smell the eggs, I felt the reaction as far south as Sydney. The organization that was set Tip then was generally referred to as the Commonwealth Secret Police- I think that the correct name was the Commonwealth Investigation Branch- and its purpose was to unearth persons who were carrying on subversive activities, and to locate men who were willing to do a bit of spying. I mention that merely to indicate that the AttorneyGeneral, like the Minister for Information, has attempted to cloud the issue. Apparently nothing would have suited these gentlemen better than, with the aid of the press, to fasten the Communist bogy upon us. Now I understand that a royal commission is to be set up. I believe that it will do some good if it is appointed expeditiously, because until an exhaustive inquiry is made the officers of the miners’ organizations are suspect. I hope that the royal commission will act without delay, and that its operations will be extended to inquire into these matters which have been responsible for that industrial unrest, which the organization referred to was set up to curb. Perhaps I may be able to offer a little advice in regard to the methods by which the unrest could be curbed. Quite recently a prominent parliamentarian returned to Australia from England and said that he was sorry to be coming back to take part in the “diabolical game of politics “. I ask honorable senators could there be anything more diabolical than attacking, slandering and accusing people by means of innuendo? I hope that the royal commission will inquire into the causes of industrial unrest, and that the history of events during the last war will be brought before it. During the war of 1914-1S, I happened to be on the executive of a powerful organization, the Amalgamated Engineers Union. That organization received a communication from the then Minister for Defence requesting it - I assume other organizations were also notified - to call off all industrial disputes, and to bend all energies towards a successful prosecution of the war. At that time my organization was engaged in a nonunionist campaign, which had almost reached finality. At the moment when the request was made, we were in the middle of a struggle with one of those octopus groups in this country, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited. and for the first time in the history of our organization, we felt that we had it where we wanted it. However, we acceded to the Minister’s request, and called off all industrial disputes. We did so on the promise that in return there would be no pin-pricking restrictions, no changes of policy, and no changes in the relationship between employer and employee, without a conference with, and the acquiescence of, our organization. I do not wish to go into the many ramifications of the matter, but early in 1917, in common with other executive officials, we realized that the employers intended to force a strike. We knew that ultimately we should have to take up the challenges that were being thrown down to us. What happened in 1917 when an attempt was made to introduce the American Taylor card system. We thought that we might as well fight on that issue as on any other. We took up that challenge and everyone knows the result of the fight. I mention that to show that conditions have not changed. In the early days of this war, the Commonwealth Government was anxious to have a 100 per cent, war effort throughout the munitions industries, and particularly in the metal trades. The metal workers’ organization was approached with a view to obtaining a guarantee of continuity of work. A conference was called and a dilution agreement was entered into whereby the unionists who had built up certain industrial conditions after many years of struggle were prepared to abrogate some of their vital principles in a spirit of patriotism, in order that the output of munitions might be expedited. One clause in the agreement permitted a skilled labourer to be elevated to the position of a fitter. In many cases, in connexion with repetition work, a labourer, having been employed for a number of years in the company of a fitter, becomes fairly proficient at fitting, and, with a little tuition, can no doubt do the work almost as well as the fitter. It was agreed to allow skilled labourers to act as fitters, but only in the factories in which they had worked as skilled “labourers. It was not permissible under the agreement to bring a man from a distant factory and elevate him to the position of a fitter if his status in that factory had been that of a skilled labourer. We found afterwards that Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited was violating that clause at Port Kembla. When the matter was .brought before the Arbitration Court, Judge O’Mara said that, under the National Security Regulations, the agreement did not cover Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, which continued to dilute its labour until the regulations were tightened up. That action displays that the same tendency exists in this war as prevailed in the last war. Those of us who remember what happened in the last war are naturally chary about accepting any conditions unless they are backed by adequate assurances. In the present war, the employees of engineering firms in the Old Country declared at the outset that before they would give a guarantee of a 100 per cent, output, they wanted an adequate guarantee that they would not be subjected to “ double-crossing “ similar to that experienced during the last war.
If a genuine effort were made to discover and remedy the causes of industrial unrest, it would be unnecessary to set up the so-called Australian Democratic Front. Many statements have been made about, the coming of a new social order, and there are many conceptions of what that new order will be. The Opposition claims that a definite guarantee in the form, of an instalment of the new order might lead to an increased war effort in the metal and other trades. The employees realize that one of the results of the last war, which was said to have been waged in order to make the world safe for democracy and fit for heroes to live in, resulted merely in a man-made depression. That depression, however, may yet prove to have been a blessing in disguise. My observations show me that, prior to that depression, it would have been difficult to find half a dozen State or Commonwealth parliamentarians capable of carrying on half an hour’s intelligent discussion on public finance, but to-day, all men employed on relief work take a lively interest in the financial affairs of Australia. Almost every other man one meets in the street knows more about public finance than did the average member of Parliament some years ago.
Finance was once regarded by the work ing man as scientific wizardry which was beyondhis powers of conception, hut his former ignorance has been, replaced by considerable understanding of financial matters. I hope that,when the royal commission is appointed, it will meet immediately and carry out its work expeditiously. There will be no necessity for a long-drawn-out inquiry. I hope that the commission will delve into the ca uses of industrial unrest and thus make secret organizations unnecessary. I hope that the Government will regard every hour between now and the time when the commission presents its report as a period of agony for those who, by innuendo, have become suspect with their fellow workers.
– I am pleased to have heard the announcement by the Minister for In formation (Senator Foll) that the Government intends to appoint a royal commission to investigate this matter, and it will be interesting to read the terms of reference to the commission. The reasons advanced by the Government for the operations of the secret organization under discussion will astound the people.
– The powers of the royal commission will no doubt be wide.
– They certainly should be.
– Perhaps the honorable senator himself would like to make the investigation.
– Not at all, but I am not the only person who recognizes the fact that certain statements, other than those that have been revealed, have been made regarding the operations of the secret organization. I have yet to learn whether the people will be satisfied with the methods by which the Government is carrying out secret investigations. Does the Australian Democratic Front exist in every State of the Commonwealth or are its operations confined to New South Wales? I understand that it has an office in Martin-place, Sydney, but I have not heard of any office occupied by it elsewhere. I should like to know the extent of this organization’s activities.
– The royal commission will find that out.
SenatorFRASER.- Evidently the honorable senator places great reliance on royal commissions, but in the past some of these bodies have not achieved a great deal. Honorable senators opposite appear to be willing to agree to public moneys being expended for purposes of which this Parliament has not approved. It is significant that the Australian Democratic Front was established shortly before the last general elections at which the present Government was returned with a greatly reduced majority. We have the statement of the honorable member for Martin (Mr. McCall) in the House of Representatives that the Government contemplated organizing an Industrial strike in order to enable the Government to contest an election on the issue of “ law and order “. It may be hat this organization was set up by the Attorney-General in order to foment industrial strife.
– The honorable senator does not believe anything of the kind.
– I do. I believe the statement made by Mr. McCall.
– The Prime Minister gave the lie direct to his charge.
– Of course he did. but that does not necessarily say that the charge was not well founded. Mr. McCall is a responsible member of the party to which the honorable senator belongs. Does the honorable senator think that he would make a statement to the press containing an accusation against the Prime Minister unless it were wellfounded ?
– He is a disgruntled member of the party and is quite irresponsible.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown). - Honorable senators are not entitled to reflect upon other honorable senators or upon members of the House of Representatives.
– I am not saying something which I have imagined ; I am re pea ting what has been said by a responsible member of the other branch of the legislature. I am reminded of the boy who was with his father in the street when a number of motor ears were passing to and fro. He pointed to various oats, and said, “ That is a Studebakeror “ That is an Oldsmobile”, and so on. Approaching them was a somewhat dilapidated Ford car, and the father said to the lad, “ What kind of a car is that? “ The boy replied, “ It is a bitzer”. The Government is like that car ; it is a “bitzer”, a government of parts. The statement’ presented to the Senate contains the following paragraph : -
As a general practice these accounts were vouched for by the organizing secretary of the Australian Democratic Front, a.nd were verified by the Deputy Crown Solicitor so far as it was possible for him to do so. 1 ask honorable senators opposite whether theY, as business men, would act in that ay in their own businesses. Would they authorize the secretary of an outside organization to expend money on” their behalf? The statement which I have just read contains the admission that these -iccounts were not always verified by the Deputy Crown Solicitor. Surely that is unsatisfactory.
The statement also contains a reference to Mr. C H. Nelson, the president of the Miners Federation. I do not know Mr. Nelson, but for the cloud which is hanging over him to-day the Government is responsible, because the Prime Minister has publicly charged him with receiving a sum of money. I wish to know whether the royal commission will l)p empowered to investigate that charge, as well as other aspects of this matter which have not been revealed in this Parliament, or whether it will merely .be handed a copy of the Prime Minister’s statement and be expected to furnish a report on the information contained in it. In an endeavour to mislead the people this statement has been presented to Parliament. It goes on to say -
Accordingly, with the authority of the Attorney-General and myself, three separate payments, each of £100, were authorized.
It is alleged that the first payment of £100 for transmission to Mr. Nelson was made on the 8th March, and that two days later another £100 was paid out for transmission to him, and that on the 20th March a similar sum was made available. Was any investigation made before the second and third payments were authorized?
– It is a smother-up.
– Of course it is. The signature on the receipt does not indicate that Mr. Nelson received the money, and therefore I ask what authority there is for saying that the money was paid to him. The receipt is signed “ J. Winkler “. I am not prepared to accept the Prime Minister’s statement as setting out the whole of the facts, and therefore I welcome a full investigation. I desire, however, that it shall in fact be a thorough inquiry, and not confined to the statement presented to the Parliament. The whole of the facts should bc probed. The statement continues -
The Government has gone to some pains to make ite statement complete, because it feels that thu public are entitled to satisfaction on such mutters.
I agree with that part of the statement, and I hope that the royal commission will be empowered to investigate every aspect of these transactions and of this unsavoury phase of government administration. The whole of the facts should be revealed to the public.
– I participate in this debate at the request of certain officials associated with the mining industry, and shall be brief in my references to this public scandal. The first that I heard of the rumours and disclosures of which the Parliament heard yesterday was on my arrival in Canberra on Wednesday of last week, when I was informed that certain confidential documents had been handed to Mr. Curtin, the Leader of the Labour party in the House of Representatives, and that copies were in the possession of other persons. As the result of some inquiries which I have made I am. convinced that this matter would never have been made public had it not been for the intrigue between the United Australia party and the United Country party during the last twelve months in an endeavour to “jockey” Mr. Menzies out of the Prime Ministership. This afternoon the Minister for Information (Senator Foll), in a frenzy of patriotism, exclaimed, “What will our soldiers overseas think of what is occurring?”
Did it occur to the supporters of the Government that, only a few weeks ago a meeting of members of the “United Australia party was held at Canberra with the object of bringing about unity in the ranks of government supporters and that, at that meeting, the ultimate decision was arrived at that Mr. Menzies was to be “ jockeyed “ out of his position ? During the debate in the House of Representatives it was admitted that, when the matter now under discussion was first introduced, the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) suggested that other organizations, religious bodies and individuals received moneys from the secret fund. Even the Prime Minister admitted yesterday that he bacl been informed that religious bodies were concerned in this matter. The honorable gentleman went ou to say that he had been misinformed, and stated definitely that no funds had been paid to any religious body. That fact in itself suggests that if the Prime Minister, the head of the Commonwealth Government had been wrongly informed on this matter, is it not just as likely that a ‘ mistake has been made in regard to the alleged payments to Mr. Nelson? I have known Mr. Nelson for over 25 years. In my business dealings with htm I have always found him a.n honest man, with the courage of his convictions,’ and one who was never afraid to express them either by the written word or on the public platform. The document which is the subject of the debate this afternoon not. only blackens and besmirches the character of Mr. Nelson, but also makes suspect the executive officers of various mining organizations and trade unions right throughout Australia. I shall not be entirely satisfied with the appointment of a royal commission for the purpose of sifting this matter to the bottom. I am afraid that much of the incriminating evidence will have already been destroyed even before the terms of reference of the royal commission are announced. Why has not the other document referred to by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives been produced? So far we have heard only rumours as to its contents. I have been informed that it contains, amongst other things, a copy of a cable- gram that was sent to the former Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) when he was in England by the then Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Fadden), complaining that there was general dissatisfaction in Australia on account of the exploitation by the monopolies operating Australian war industries. I want to know whether that is correct. I have been informed, further, that a check was made upon telephone conversations which Mr. Winkler, the officer who first brought this matter to the notice of Mr. Curtin, had with certain persons in Melbourne, and that the check revealed that he had a telephone conversation with Mr. Ricketson, a partner in the firm of J. B. Were and Son, stockbrokers, of Melbourne, a firm of which the ex-Prime Minister was once a director.
– Is that anything against him?
– I do not say that it is. Winkler used the telephone in the office of the Minister for Defence Coordination (Mr. Menzies) to converse with Mr. Ricketson, a member of that firm. Is it a fact that, during the course of that conversation, Winkler said that he had interviewed certain individuals and had conveyed their views to “R.G.”? I want to know who “R.G.” is. I may be wrong if I suspect that “ R.G.” is, in fact, the former Prime Minister. These are matters I want to have cleared up. Ever since this scandal was brought to the light of day, the Government, has attempted, to throw a blanket on it. It was not until after this matter had been ventilated in. both Houses of the Parliament that the Prime Minister decided to appoint a royal commission to inquire into it. As I have said, I am not satisfied that a royal commission will ascertain all the facts. The value of a royal commission’s report depends upon the personnel of the commission. If the right persons are appointed to act as a royal commission, I shall be quite satisfied, but I fear that the Government will appoint an individual as a single commissioner who will look after its interests and try to smother up this matter as the Government has endeavoured to do ever since it was brought to the notice of the Parliament. During the course of his speech, reference was made by the
Minister for Information, to two members who left the Labour party. They will be able to speak for themselves and explain to the satisfaction of the Minister why they deserted their former colleagues. The Minister, however, failed to refer to the comments made by some of the party supporting the Government, particularly to the charge that the former Prime Minister had been lynched politically at the party meeting at which it was decided that he should be disposed.. After the dressing-down which the Minister for Information got. in this chamber a few weeks ago from Senator Crawford, it ill becomes the honorable gentleman to refer to parties or individuals in this chamber. Never before have I known a Minister to be more humiliated than he was on that occasion. I trust that when the royal commission is appointed it will inquire fully into the matter and that another statement to which I have referred will see the light of day. Only in that way will the trade union officials and others concerned in these allegations get the justice they deserve. The- miners ask for the fullest inquiry. Dealing with the attitude of the members of the Miners Federation in regard to this matter, the following paragraphs appeared in. the press: -
Rank and file members of thu Miners Federation would demand the truth on “ secret fund “ charges, “ no matter where it leads “. The secretary of the Western .’District of the Federation said this to-day. Allegations that bribes had been paid from a secret federal fund to miners’ leaders required immediate investigation, he declared.
The Federal Government could expect serious trouble on all coal-fields if it made any attempt to hide the full truth.
That expresses in general terms the views held by miners all over the Commonwealth. For the sake of honest administration I trust that the royal commission will disclose that there has been some degree of justification for the excuses which the ‘Government has made.
– At the outset of my remarks may I say that I regret that there were not a sufficient number of men in the House of Representatives last night who believed strongly enough that Australia was the wrong place in which to set up a “ snide “ organization such as the Australian Democratic Front to cross the floor to vote with the Opposition in order to allow the people to be the judges in this matter. We have been told that a royal commission is to be appointed to inquire into the distribution of moneys from the secret fund. If the royal commissioner is to act like the royal commissioner who inquired into the propriety of Mr. Treatt, a member of the New South Wales Mair Government, in reducing the fine imposed on the Abbco Bread Company for “ crook “ practices, his report will not be of much value to anybody. It will be remembered that the royal commissioner who investigated the Abbco bread scandal reported that Mr. Treatt had acted in good faith in reducing a fine imposed on a lot of “ crooks “. Will that sort of thing be repeated on this occasion in the interests of the Government? ‘I am inclined to think so. I regret that the Government set up an organization like the Australian Democratic Front. I am confident that the conference of intelligence officers of the Army and Navy and representatives of the State police forces which, it is stated, recommended that counterpropaganda be undertaken to offset subversive activities, would not have favoured the setting up of an organization of that kind. The Government, on ite own initiative, established that body. For this purpose, it selected a number of deadbeat United Australia party supporters. It? action was wrong in principle; but it had to do something in order to rehabilitate itself. It had: to buy somebody, and, it has been admitted, that the Attorney-General himself moved the motion for the election of the executive of the Australian Democratic Front. That organization was paid the sum of £4,500 to conduct work of a kind which stinks in the nostrils of the people. If the Government really believed that it was justified in undertaking such work in this way, it should have been prepared to go to the country on this issue in order to allow the people to pass judgment on iti action. However, the Government places its faith in the last throw. It believes that, by appointing a royal commission of inquiry, the matter will drag on for weeks, and, in the end, the Government will be whitewashed. It is prepared to allow one person to be made the scapegoat. The Government should disclose the names of the union officials who approached the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes). It should not, by innuendo, allow suspicion to hang over the heads of every official of the Miners Federation. It has been said that the accounts were audited. The Government agreed that it. was right to expend public funds in this way, yet it took no action to secure a receipt from the final recipient of the money. The Attorney-General possesses a receipt from Winkler only for the sum of £300, which, he alleges, was paid to the president of the Miners Federation. Evidently, the Government did not care, to whom the disbursement was finally paid so long as it obtained some sort of a receipt from one person. Certainly, it cannot feel proud of its behaviour in this respect. Not only the Commonwealth Police Force and the Military and Naval Intelligence Branches, as well a? the States police forces, but also the special force which ir set up quite recently, have been employed to do this work of counterpropaganda. The publication by the Australian Democratic Front of pamphlets featuring speeches ‘by the AttorneyGeneral was just another form of propaganda in the interests of the Government. In one of those speeches, the Attorney-Central advocates that all persons who are accused of making subversive statements, or are alleged to be Communists, should be stood up against a wall and shot. We know how subversive elements are dealt with in Russia. But, since the outbreak of the war, the Government has forced the workers in every industry, first, the iron workers and then the engineers and crane drivers, to go on strike before it would agree that those workers should be paid the war loading of 6s. a week. The AttorneyGeneral now -urges the workers to adopt the Russian method of standing up against a wall all persons who are alleged to be Communists, providing, at the same time, of course, that the Australian Democratic Front shall say who are Communists. That is the class of speech that was published in the Australian Democratic Front’s pamphlets, which were printed and circulated at the public expense. I trust that the royal commissioner to be appointed will have an Australian outlook, and will do his utmost to uphold our democratic form of government. I trust that if he finds that the AttorneyGeneral, or any officials of any union have been at fault, he will say so fearlessly. I also hope that the inquiry will be conducted expeditiously in order that the characters of the union officials concerned may be cleared as soon as possible.
– I intend to deal with one aspect only of the statement now before the Senate. Included in the document read by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Mcleay) is the following paragraph: -
At a conference on the 5th January, the following resolution was carried: -
Conference suggests that there should he stricter control through the censorship of all Communist and other publications.
Who are the Communists? That is a question which I should like the Government to answer. In May, 1933, the Melbourne Argus published a series of articles dealing with Communists, which included the following observations : -
Communism has captured the imagination of two classes of .persons who do not know it for the hideous thing it is. One class comprises well-meaning idealists who, strangely enough, affect to see in this anti-Christian movement a. practical application of Christian principles. Their conception of communism is limited to the old slogan, “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need “. In their academic detachment from realities they envisage only an ennobling spirit of mutual help, working in a new and reformed society, in which all private possessions will be pooled for the common good and all will satisfy their needs, irrespective of what they have contributed to the common fund - an impracticable ideal, as history bears witness.
The second class which has been converted to communism comprises young people who have been drawn in at the most impressionable period of their lives. They have seen many of life’s values upset - many old truths called in question - by the events of the Great War and by the troubled period of re-adjustment succeeding the war; ami not unnaturally a spiritual unrest has possessed them. Intellectually unsatisfied, they have craved foi change of some kind, and a radical alteration of the basis of society such as communism stands for has seemed to them to be a possible solution. Unlike the amiable dreamers of the first class of converts, most of whom would be appalled if they were brought face to face with communism’ in the persons of its adherents, these young people have come into contact with many of the vile and bitter exponents of the Communist creed, but they have insufficient perception to distinguish between the Communist’s ostensible aim and his methods. Without appreciating its real horror, they accept as inevitable, if not desirable, the revolutionary method of inaugurating a Communist regime. Of this class are the hot-blooded university students who .pride themselves upon being “ ‘intellectuals “ and who scorn the paths of political orthodoxy. Many of them will grow out of communism as they acquire years and common, sense; nevertheless, their presence in the movement is a disturbing sign of the growth of the Communist menace.
The revolutionary organizations in Victoria have no printing machinery. Publication of the factory papers is effected by means of typewriters and duplicators. Most of this work is done at the party’s Victorian headquarters in Russell-street, nearly all by voluntary workers, who include a number of women undergraduates from the university.
In arranging lectures, in preparing magazines, and in all similar work, as well as in the more mechanical but nevertheless important work of typewriting, transcription, and translation, the assistance of university undergraduates has been considerable.
Thus, according to an investigation made by one of the most capable representatives of that newspaper, most of the leaders and inspirers of Communists in Victoria are university graduates. I recall that the Minister for Defence Coordination (Mr. Menzies) is a graduate of the University of Melbourne. I wonder if he is one of those whose hot blood has suddenly turned cold. Has the Government taken any action to deal with communist activities at the Melbourne University? Does it intend to take such action?
– What does the honorable senator suggest?
– If the Government is satisfied that the Argus articles are correct it should, instead of implying, and suggesting by all manner of means that the Communists are the ordinary working men, and that they are causing all the trouble, pay some attention to communist activities at our universities. I commend to the Govern ment the articles I have just read. The fact that the Government would brand members of the Labour party as Communists, and entirely ignore graduates at universities, influences me to believe that it is simply using the communist bogy in order to destroy the Labour movement. It is not unusual for a government to provide secret - funds to counter alleged subversive activities. At the same time, it is nothing new for governments to employ agents provocateurs to provoke industrial disputes and strikes in order to discredit the trade union movement, and to provide pretexts for the introduction of coercive laws reducing wages and lowering general working conditions.
– That is imagination.
– Not at all. I am merely drawing on knowledge gained through my experience of the methods of anti-Labour Governments. That is why I view the phraseology of this document with great suspicion. I know that it is so much verbal camouflage; it is a 3moke-screen to hide the real intentions. There is nothing new in accusing trade union leaders of accepting bribes. That has been done repeatedly during my whole experience of the trade union movement. I would point out that Communists are persons created by conditions rather than persons who create those conditions. For example, as this publication from which I have quoted points out, the depression caused many young people, particularly university graduates, to become disillusioned because of the lack of practical results from the many promises made by the leaders of political thought during and after the last war. Instead of finding a democratic land fit for heroes to live in, they found a depression and poverty unprecedented in England. According to the royal commission which was set up in 1928 to inquire into the matter, the conditions in the “ black “ areas in England were just as bad as in the Asiatic countries. In the face of that disillusionment in England and here in Australia, these people whom we now see branded as Communists were created.
– They always had the ballot-box.
– Yes, but 1 regret to say that the ballot-box was not used as it should have been, otherwise honorable senators opposite would not be where they are now. It is part and parcel of the Government’s policy now, as it was during the last elections and in fact during all elections, to mislead the people by holding up this bogy of communism. What is the cause of all this trouble that the Government would wish to avoid? Who are those persons whom the Government, would silence or suppress? Most of them are challenging the conditions under which they work, and they have a right to do so. Take the miners for example. They are asking for a substantial all round increase of wages ; the passage of a health and. safety bill through the New South Wales Legislative Assembly; the passage of a bill to prevent the introduction of mechanical equipment into pillar workings in New South Wales, the passage of a miners pensions bill ; and the preparation and initial presentation of the first comprehensive award on behalf of the Miners Federation. Those requests are being refused. Particularly in mines operated by owners who cannot be forced to introduce safety precautions the coal-miners work under conditions which are almost as dangerous as those existing at the front. They do not know from day to day if they will come out of the mines alive. They are asking for improved conditions, and because they are making those requests, the Commonwealth Government has subsidized an agent provocateur institution for the purpose of discrediting their leaders. That is all that is in it. The Government’s policy is to discredit all representatives of industrial organizations and trade union movements which ask for improved conditions. When the Minister for Information- (Senator Foll) spoke of strikes he omitted to tell the Senate anything about the fundamental causes of strikes. He did not tell honorable senators that by arbitrary action, and without appealing to the courts or submitting evidence to the Prices Commissioner, prices have been increased. For example, the price of tea has increased by Is1d. a lb. since the outbreak of war. Anybody who has gone into the matter knows quite well that that increase as well as many others, is unwarranted. Similar increases have occurred in the price of amenities of all kinds. The workers know that profits are being made. An appeal is made to them to increase output in the interests of the nation. Then what do they see. Instead of building up the resistance of the nation to the enemy, all they have succeeded in building up are the bank balances of directors and shareholders of various companies in which members of the Government are conspicuously and profitably represented. Is it, any wonder that there is discontent ?
– The honorable senator does not really believe that.
– I do. I could elaborate on this’ matter for hours without repeating myself. In conclusion I emphasize that this document sets out to justify something that has been done surreptitiously. Its aim is to discredit and defeat the representatives of the trade union movement and organized labour who have dared to say that the Government’s policy is based on fraud and force and should be resisted. I trust that my remarks will bear good fruit and that the Government in its meditative moments will think hard about what I have said.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Wednesday next, at3 p.m.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of the Interior - E. W. H. Stoddart.
Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Statement of Receipts and Expenditure of the Australian Capital Territory, for year 1940-41.
Senate adjourned at 6.13 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 September 1941, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1941/19410925_senate_16_168/>.