19th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Htm. Gordon Brown) took tha chair at 11 *mu, and read prayers.
– Oan the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether dollars are made available for the import of newsprint for Australian newspapers 1 Has the Minister been informed that the Sydney Sunday Telegraph has announced that its price will he increased from 4d. to 6d. a copy, and that, new features will be added to that newspaper ? Will he also say whether he considers that imported newsprint is being used to the best advantage in the .production of so-called “ comics “, trashy novellettes and sob stories of the loves of kings and princes f Will the Minister study the statement printed on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph of the 26th May*
– I haws not yet seen the Sunday Telegraph of the 25th May.. Quite frankly, I do not feel qualified to express an opinion om whether the best nsc of newsprint is made by our newspapers. If the honorable senator will place that question on the noticepaper 1 shall nave inquiries made-
– The Minister did not say whether dollars are made available for the importation of newsprint.
– Naturally, I do not carry in any head the large number of items for which dollars ere made available. The allocation of dollars for imports is made ma. a quarterly basis. However, I understand that at the moment mo dollars lara made available for newsprint.
– In view of the increasing number of road accidents, I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether he has any further statement to make in reply to the question that I asked some time ago about the possibility of holding a conference of Commonwealth and State road traffic authorities to draw up a uniform traffic code for use throughout the Commonwealth?
-I referred the honorable senator’s question to the Prime Minister. I understand that, from time to time, interstate conferences of authorities controlling -road transport, and organizations interested in road safety generally are held. I do not think that such a conference has been held since the honorable senator asked his question. However, the matter has not been lost sight of and will be brought forward for consideration when a conference is held.
fa it a fa«t that the Pardee Aerodrome is practically ready for operational flights and that its construction is Largely due to the splendid efforts of the works engineer, Mr. Macdonald, and Jus staff 7 If so, will the Acting Minister forward » letter of congratulation to these men?
Will he ensure that this new air terminal has permanent up-to-date air safeguards installed, and that the conveniences built for air passengers and fret ara a model for future aerodromes? *2- Is it a fact that the local farmers from whom the land was acquired several years ago have “not been paid any compensation; if bo, why?
– The Acting Minister for Civil Aviation “has supplied the following answers > -
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
Debate resumed from the 31st May (vide page 3452), on motion by Senator Spooner -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– When the debate was interrupted last night I was dealing with the preamble to this bill. I then pointed out that it states that this bill is introduced under the defence power of the Commonwealth. I cannot understand the necessity to bring in this legislation under that power. I ask the Minister in control of this billwhether Australia is at war or not? I know that no peace treaty has been signed with Germany and Japan, but there does not appear to be any possibility of a major war in the near future. In the press to-day the United States of America Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Acheson, is reported to have stated that there is no immediate prospect of a war. In my opinion, the Government is using the defence power for a purpose for which it was not intended. The High Court of Australia might upset this legislation in the long run because, according to my recollection of High Court decisions, the further the country is from war, the less likelihood there is that the High Court will agree that legislation of this character should be enacted under the defence power.
The preamble to the bill refers to subversive activities, treason or any actions to the danger of the Commonwealth of Australia or the King and his dominions and in respect of industrial activities affecting production. I cannot understand why this bill is necessary because legislation already on the statute-book - contains complete and ample power to meet both those situations. If honorable senators study the Crimes Act, they will find that it has a specific reference to treason. The bill before the chamber states, in effect, that a person who is “ declared “ is unlawful, is subversive and is doing something that is in the interests of an enemy country. Section 24 of the Crimes Act says -
Any person who, within the Commonwealth or any Territory -
instigates any foreigner to make an armed invasion of the Commonwealth or any part of the King’s Dominions, or
assists by any means whatever any public enemy, shall be guilty of an indictable offence and shall be liable to the punishment of death.
Surely there is enough power in that section of the Crimes Act to deal with any person, whether he be a Communist or anybody else, who is guilty of a subversive or treasonable action.
– The bill is to remove any opportunity for persons to do the things that would bring them within the scope of the Crimes Act.
– That is more or less a subterfuge. This bill has been brought down for political purposes. The Government parties made this an issue at the general election., They claim that they have a mandate. They have tried to make the people believe that the Communist party is an enormous organization intent upon destroying the Australian way of life, and selling Australia to an alien power.
– Does the honorable senator deny that?
– I admit that Communists have been responsible for some industrial stoppages, but there have always been industrial disturbances, and there always will be so long as human nature remains what it is. No government can prevent the workers from try. ing to improve their conditions. I submit that the Crimes Act provides the Government with all the power necessary to deal with any situation that might arise. On the subject of industrial disturbances, section 30j of the Crimes Act provides - [f at any time the Governor-General is ot opinion that there exists in Australia a serious industrial disturbance prejudicing or threatening trade or commerce with other countries or among the States, he may make a Proclamation to that effect, which Proclamation shall be and remain in operation for the purposes of this section until it is revoked. (2.) Any person, who, during the operation of such Proclamation, takes part in or continues, or incites to, urges, aids or encourages the taking part in, or continuance of, a lockout or strike -
in relation to employment in or in connexion with the transport of goods or the conveyance of passengers in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States; or
What more power does the Government need? Even without this proposed legislation, if a person uttered treasonable words, or acted in a way that was detrimental to the safety of the country, proceedings could be taken against him under the Crimes Act. If this bill went no further than to provide for the dissolution of the Communist party it would be more acceptable to the Opposition, hut the bill, because of the way it is drawn, is anti-British and undemocratic, and will tend to usher in the police state in Australia. It goes altogether too far. The Government received no mandate to bring in a bill of this kind. In effect, the bill provides that any person who is associated with an organization that is influenced by the teachings and philosophy of Marx and Engels, or who becomes involved in disturbances in certain industries, may be declared, whether he is guilty or not. That is the negation of British justice. That is not what Australian servicemen fought for in two world wars. They fought for freedom, civil liberty and the right of free expression. We had the greatest abhorrence of the activities of Hitler. We said that they were completely opposed to the ideals of democracy. Our relatives shed their blood to prevent the continuance of those activities. Yet, in 1950, the Australian Government has introduced repressive legislation, designed not only to ban a political party but also to put fear into the heart of every person in this community. I say in all seriousness that nobody will be safe if this bill is passed in its present form. “ Hifalutin “ statements and sentimental utterances do not obscure the hard fact that on the statute-book of this country there is already legislation that empowers the Government to do everything that it requires to do in thi$ connexion other than to ban a political party.
Where is the information upon which a person will be declared to come from? That is a question that must be carefully considered. If this bill be passed, any person in this country who has a grudge against another person will be able to go to a member of the security service and state that that person is a Communist or that he ‘believes in socialization. Honorable senators opposite must not forget that during the last general election campaign they said that socialism was communism. They say that we are socialists and, therefore, that we are Communists. If this bill be passed, any person in this country who wishes to safeguard freedom of speech and to maintain the Australian way of life as we have known it until now will be faced with the danger that some snooper or person who has a grudge against him will say to an officer of the security service that he has socialistic ideals and is engaged in socialistic activities. Under the terms of this measure, that would be sufficient to enable the Government to declare him, although he might be a militant -worker in an industrial union, have never had anything to do with the Communist party and know nothing of the teachings or the philosophies of Marx and Lenin. Looked at fairly and squarely, is that not a complete negation of the British way of life and a complete departure from the recognized and accepted rule of law in British countries?
It is easy to say that we have this Communist menace in our midst, but let us examine the matter from the political angle. In how many parliaments in Australia are there Communist members? The common sense of the Australian people has ensured that, with the exception of one instance in Queensland, Communists have not been elected to parliaments in this country. “What is the position in countries overseas? In the House of Commons, the Mother of Parliaments, there was a large number of Communist members, but after the last general election in the United Kingdom, the people of that country saw to it that a lot of those Communists were not re-elected. I believe that the common sense of the Australian electors will ensure that this country shall be protected, politically, from the Communist menace. There is no necessity for drastic, repugnant and undemocratic legislation such as this.
If a person be declared under the bill, what redress will he have if he be innocent? Having been declared, a stigma will attach to him. Once a tab is attached to him by being declared he will be accused of disloyalty, espionage, treason, and goodness knows what else. A person declared under this legislation will have no redress, because if he is found guilty the declaration will stand, but if found innocent there is no provision in the measure to clear his character. No indemnity is provided for wrongful accusation. As one of my colleagues pointed out to the Senate yesterday, the list cited by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in his second-reading speech on this measure contained the names of several persons who are not, in fact, Communists.
– Only one name.
– I repeat, that that list contained the names of several per sons who were not Communists. The Constitution provides that Australia shall consist of an indissoluble federation of States espousing freedom. The measure before the Senate provides that, within 2’S days of being declared, a person shall have the right to appeal to the High Court of Australia, or to a Supreme Court of a State. However, no provision is made for appeal from the decision of either of those courts. Why should a declared person not have such a right of appeal ? In addition to banning the Communist party, this measure will reverse completely a wellestablished principle of British justice, that a person is innocent until proved guilty. That provision in this measure is a complete negation of British justice. Although this bill will enable the Crown to declare a person, onus of proof by th? Crown in justification of such declaration shall not be required. I emphasize that, an unsatisfactory aspect of the matter is that if, because of a grudge, or some ether reason, a person should make allegations to the security service about, another person, that other person could be declared a Communist and a traitor without being afforded an opportunity to defend himself. The declaration would be evidence, prima facie, that he was guilty. That is a complete negation of everything that this country stands for, and that Australian troops have fought to preserve in two world wars. Furthermore, it is a complete negation of the principle embodied in the charter of the United Nations, to which Australia has agreed. This national Parliament agreed with the United Nations Charter to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in thi dignity of humanity, and in equal rights for men and women of nations large and small. Does the proposed legislation give effect to those sentiments? Does it carry out the ideals that I have just enumerated? On the contrary, it is a deliberate attempt to induce a state of hysteria in the public mind on certain matters that are the subject of agitation in the press. For months past the press has been urging that the Communist element must be removed. The fact remains, however, that in the Crimes Act and other legislation we have all the powers necessary to deal with the Communists. I know that the Government wants to get the bill through as quickly as possible, and since I do not wish to delay its passage I shall not say any more. I conclude by repeating that whilst I support the Government in its attempt to have the bill passed through Parliament, I will not agree to those provisions in the measure to which I have referred, and which are a negation of British justice.
Senator TATE (New South Wales) 1 11. 31 J. - Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have affirmed the recitals in the bill and have agreed on the need to introduce such a measure. In fact, no objection has been raised to the introduction of the bill because honorable senators on both sides of the chamber are unanimous that action must be taken against the Communists. The whole argument raised by the Opposition against the measure is focused on clause 9, which has been termed “ the onus of proof” clause. As Senator McKenna admitted, action against Communists must be pursued beyond organizations to individuals if it is to be effective. The mere dissolution of the Communist party will not of itself implement the purposes of the bill. However, great misunderstandings, misconceptions and even misrepresentations, have characterized the discussion of the “ onus of proof “ clause. Before concluding his remarks, Senator Nash said that a person will be declared guilty, and will thereby be incapable of escaping the consequences of his alleged guilt. His remarks would lead one to imagine that a “ declared “ person will be placed in a kind of cage, and that the Government will be virtually his- gaoler because it will hold the key to the cage. The plain fact is, however, that the person who is “ declared “ is the only person who possesses the key which can unlock the cage. A great deal has been said to the effect that under this bill the onus of proof will rest on the accused. That is not so; except in two categories of persons “ declared “, the ordinary processes of law will apply. The exceptions amount to what I term “ calling a name “. It is amazing that honorable members of the Opposition should howl to high Heaven that the effect of “declaring” a person will be to debar him from earning a living and to place all sorts of restrictions upon him. Admittedly, it hag not hitherto been the practice of Australians to give Communists or any other class of individual “ a name “ ; but we must remember that members of the Labour party have long adopted, the practice of injuring people by calling them names. Who has not heard of the consequences to a working man of being called a “ scab “ I What greater disability could be placed on a person endeavouring to earn a living than to be called a “ scab “ Men have walked all over Australia but have been debarred from earning a living because that declaration has followed them. Therefore, I suggest to members of the Opposition that they should not object so vehemently to the proposal to “ declare “ Communists. Indeed, there is grave need to make such a declaration. However, the bill provides processes whereby a person who has been “ declared “ may take steps to clear himself. I propose to examine clause 9 to illustrate how it will operate in practice. Sub-clause (2.) reads as follows : - (2.) Where the Governor-General is satisfied that a person is a person to whom this section applies and that that person is engaged, or is likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth or to the execution or maintenance of the Constitution or of the laws of the Commonwealth, the Governor-General may, by instrument published in the Gazette, make a declaration accordingly.
What form would such an instrument take? I am not skilled in the law, but I. have some knowledge of the documents that issue from legal offices and the type of matter that comes before the courts, and I ask myself what form the document referred to would take. It could be quite a simple statement in words like the following : -
I, William John McKell, Governor-General of Australia, being satisfied that John Smith is a person to whom section 9 applies, hereby declare him.
That is an example of a simple declaration. Clause 9 (3.) provides that a person who has been “ declared “ may appeal to the court to set aside that declaration. It is expressed in the following words: - (3.) A person in respect of whom a declaration is made under the last preceding subsection may, within twenty-eight days after the publication of tile declaration in the Gazette, apply to the appropriate court to set aside the declaration on the ground that he is not a person to whom this section applies.
From the remarks made by members of the Opposition one would imagine that the mere fact that the Executive “ declares “ an individual is to be accepted as conclusive evidence that an individual is a Communist, and that that evidence cannot be rebutted. The fact is, however, that the making of a declaration is no more than prima facie evidence of a person’s guilt. “ Prime facie “ evidence is described in Wharton’s Law Lexicon in the following terms : - that which not being inconsistent with the falsity of the hypothesis, nevertheless raises such a degree of probability in its favour that it must prevail if it bc credited by the jury, unless it be rebutted, or the contrary proved.
By way of contrast “ conclusive ‘ evidence is defined as - that which excludes, or at least tends to exclude, the possibility of the truth of any other hypothesis than the one attempted to be established.
In any judicial review of a declaration made under the bill, the hypothesis will be that the declared person is subject to the act. According to the definition of prima facie evidence that I have just read, a declaration under the act may be offered as prima facie evidence of the guilt of the accused, but such evidence is itself open to doubt, and it is clear that it can stand only if it is not rebutted. If the declaration published in the Gazette is a simple one, in which the Governor-General merely says, in effect : “ This is a person to whom the act applies “ and nothing more, then the problem will not be difficult. I have tried to imagine what I would do if I had to appear in a court as a result of a declaration made under this measure. That is the only way to examine matters such as this. I do not think that honorable senators opposite have got down to the essence of this bill. They have talked broadly about onus of proof and released a spate of words about freedom, but they have not applied themselves to the immediate processes of law that will be followed. Members of cite legal fraternity will eventually have to do that. They have the capacity to do it in this chamber, but unfortunately the.y have not got down to the actual processes that will be followed in the courts. We do not know what will be contained in declarations that will be made under this measure, but let us suppose that a declaration states that on such and such a day, the person named attended a meeting of the Communist party at such and such a place, or, that on such and such a day, he uttered certain words that come within the provisions of this measure. A detailed statement is made. It is true that the problem then is wider for the declare! person, but on the other hand his opportunity is greater. He has only to throw aside the allegations to destroy what could not be termed the irrevocable strength of the prima facie evidence. He can immediately call evidence to show that on the date mentioned he was not at that meeting, or that at the place he attended, he was talking about a different matter altogether, and therefore could not have made the statement alleged against him. That will put the onus of proof on the Crown. The onus of proof changes from side to side, according to the processes of the court in the examination of a declaration. As 30011 as the declared person brings sworn evidence to show that he was not at that meeting, or that he did not say the things that he is alleged to have said, the balance of evidence lies with the declared person, and the onus of proof is thrown upon the Crown. Therefore, I say that the belief that the onus of proof always rests upon the person declared is absolute nonsense. It rests upon him only at the moment of the gazettal of the declaration. The declaration, at that stage, being prima facie evidence, the onus does rest on the declared person, but the moment he establishes evidence to the contrary, the onus moves back to the Crown. I do not think that any lawyer will deny that. It is desirable that these points should be emphasized. As I have said, it is not a matter of a man “being in a ca.ge and the key being taken away from him. He himself holds the key. If he is innocent, he has every opportunity to prove his innocence and to throw the onus of proof back on the Crown.
– It sounds all very well in theory, but it never works out that way in practice.
– Admittedly theory and practice are two different things. I have heard a lot of theory in this chamber. That is why I am trying to get down, to the actual work of the courts. I have asked myself, “ Is this onus of proof story about which we hear so much really true?” I contend that it is not. I say that the onus may rest on either side, according to the evidence that is placed before the judge. It is true that the communistic constitution as quoted by the Attorney-General is very wide, and I have looked at that too. In this chamber I have always tried to listen intently to speakers on both sides. Clearly all the wisdom does not lie on one side. I should like an assurance from the AttorneyGeneral on a point that was raised by one honorable senator opposite. I may say that I have complete faith in the courts that will be charged, with the responsibility of dealing with matters contained in this legislation. However, the bill provides that when a declared person has cleared himself of charges that have been made against him -
The Governor-General may at any time, by instrument published in the Gazette, revoke a declaration made under this section.
I should like to see that sub-clause altered to provide that when a man has been cleared by a court, the declaration shall be revoked automatically.
– That is already provided.
– It may be. I am not a lawyer. The bill says that the declaration “may” be revoked. I have no doubt that a lawyer representing a declared person would ask the court to rule that the declaration shall be revoked, but I can only read words as I see them. I should like it to be. made clear that a person who is freed of charges contained in a declaration shall also be freed of that declaration.
– The declaration is set aside.
– I mention that matter to show that I am not unmindful of good suggestions that emanate from the Opposition side of the chamber. For the moment, except for the matter that Senator Nash touched on, I feel that the true character of the much debated clause 9 has not been exhibited in the debate so far. It has been claimed that, under this measure the Liberal party, the Labour party, the churches, or any per son cannot escape the possibility of being declared. That is ridiculous. Legal men will agree that in a court, it is not possible to pick a couple of lines out of a document and apply them to an accused person. It is necessary to show that the whole document is applicable. There is a similarity in our political faiths. At some point or other, they meet on common ground, and if the mere touching of one policy or another is to be sufficient for a declaration to be made, nobody can escape from being regarded as a member of every political movement in the world. The processes of law provided in this bill are perfectly clear. I have tried to imagine them in the light of the relationship between various groups of individuals who are pledged to certain faiths, beliefs, or political ideologies. Communism has been described as an ideology, but to-day we are realizing more and more that it is not an ideology but a criminology. I have said that almost all political beliefs touch at some point or other. Let me cite an analogy on a different subject. Imagine, for instance, that I was declared to be a Methodist. The fact is that I am a Presbyterian. However, there are close affinities between Methodists and Presbyterians. How could I prove that I was not a. Methodist? It might be alleged that, on one occasion, I had addressed a Methodist gathering, and expressed certain opinions that were in line with the Methodist faith. If I were brought before a court I would have to show that I was not a Methodist. I could bring as a witness the minister of the Presbyterian church to which I belong. He would be prepared to swear that I was a Presbyterian. I could also bring as a witness the Presbyterian minister who married me and who baptized my children in a Presbyterian church. The Methodist and Presbyterian faiths are closely allied in some respects, but they can be separated. In opposing this bill, honorable senators opposite are seeking to safeguard their own interests. They are not very much concerned about the possibility of honorable senators on this side of the chamber being declared. They are saying to themselves, “ Here are certain points of the Labour party’s platform; they can be said to be part of the platform of the Communist party “. Great concern was expressed about that. The mere fact that one party’s platform contains some portions of the policy of another party could not be sufficient in any common sense process before a court, to tie in any one who was not entitled to be tied in. The burden would not rest on the individual who was declared. It would rest on the Crown and I can imagine a skilled lawyer throwing the onus on the Crown completely within half an hour of the opening of proceedings. He would be a poor lawyer who could not do that.
The suggestion that the onus of proof would be on the declared person is nonsense. It has been wellestablished in law that if it is within the power of the Crown to demonstrate the truth of a person rebutting a declaration, the onus of proving or disproving the allegation shifts to the Crown. That would be applied in this case and I think that the task that is set the Crown is very difficult. I do not think that the operation of this act will mean prima facie declarations that would turn out declared persons like sausages passing through a machine. The declarations will be ratified through the court and in the case of an appeal, the process will be difficult for the Crown. I can see no limitations in the bill to the number of witnesses that a declared person could bring to prove his innocence and his freedom from the declaration put upon him. Every witness that he brought would put the Crown in a position where it would have to rebut his statements by equal evidence. The task of the Crown, therefore, would be difficult.
This is an urgent bill to deal with traitors and the sooner we deal with them the better. I was amazed to hear Senator Sheehan state in his speech that the Communists were disappearing. In effect, he said that at one time they were troublesome when the parties on this side of the chamber were in power, but when the Labour party became the Government, no Communists were returned to the Parliament and that, therefore, they did not exist. That is specious reasoning. The Labour Government of which he was a supporter had to attend to major matters that were brought about by the Communists during the last three years of that government’s term of office. The Communists have stated publicly that their objectives would not be achieved by parliamentary membership or by the capture of the parliamentary machine. They shifted from the parliamentary to the industrial field to make their attack. The endeavour by the honorable senator to get the Senate to believe that the Communists had disappeared because they were not being elected to Parliament destroyed the whole value of his speech.
Further evidence of the machinations of the Communists and proof that they are more active than ever is shownby their control of trade unions. The peak was reached when the Labour Government was in office. I give credit to the Labour party for its attempts to battle against the Communists. It cast them out of certain places, but the processes that the Communists put into action were designed to attack industries through their basic need’, which is coal. Reference has been made in the Parliament to the necessity to put value back into the £1. I ask honorable senators to consider the costs of an ordinary business. The cost factors include labour, materials in their raw state, and the overhead expenses that are common to all businesses.
– Plus the profit.
– The profit is small in relation to the other factors, and profits do not enter into the costs which are too high even then. A business must pay rent and rates and meet other obligations which it cannot escape. All those costs are added without corresponding production in the event of a strike, and the level of overhead and inescapable items mounts, so that costs rise. Control of coal was a slow method of strangling this country, and the Communists used it fully. However, the process was too slow for the Communist projects and, as the cold war got warmer and pressure was exerted all over the world to help communism to progress, the Communists turned to quicker methods. The recent attempt by the Communists in Australia to take control of the food industries is sufficient in itself to warrant the most prompt action. I have seen the food industries, particularly in New South
Wales, endeavouring to fend them off. If those alien forces get control of milk, bread, and other essential foods, they could have the major cities in a state of starvation in days, and capitulation would be very close.
Nobody would suggest that a- mad dog should be allowed to continue running round the country biting people. The sooner the place is rid of it the better. One might as well say that a madman on the open road with a gun intending to shoot someone should be examined first to see if he is crazy before the gun is taker) from him. There is no escape from the urgency of this measure.
I was interested when Senator McKenna quoted from the Prime Minister’s essay which won him the Bowen prize. In that essay, the right honorable gentleman set out to show his great love of liberty and everything else that Senator McKenna claimed the Government proposes to take away through this onus of proof clause. That is the greatest evidence that Senator McKenna could have adduced in favour of the Government’s haste. The honorable senator quoted a man who took the award to which I have referred, whose thoughts and words are in print, and who declares now that the position is so desperate and urgent that, notwithstanding his published statements, the things that are proposed in this bill must be done to save and protect the nation. This is a plain measure to deal with treason, and, if we are to protect the people and the good name of Australia, there is no other course open to the Parliament than to pass the bill.
– The Government claims that it has received a mandate to outlaw the Communist party which, it has been stated, constitutes a threat to the Australian way of life, and to the safety of the nation. However, I am astonished to note the way in which the Government proposes to give effect to the mandate it claims to have received. Senator McKenna expressed clearly and cogently the attitude of the Labour party to this bill, and he rebutted the charges made by Government supporters. He pointed out that there was ample power under the existing laws, particularly under the Crimes Act, to deal with the
Communist menace. This bill provides for the dissolution of the Australian Communist party and other Communist organizations, and for the disqualification of Communists from holding certain offices, “ and for purposes connected there with “. There, the sinister purpose of the Government becomes evident. If it wished merely to act in the terms of the mandate received from the people, it could have drawn the bill in less ambiguous terms. Other Opposition speakers have referred to the pomp and circumstance associated with the introduction of this bill by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who has a penchant for the limelight. We admit that he has eloquence unequalled by any other Australian, and so far as I know, by any one in the world. He introduced the bill with a burst of oratory, claiming that the Government had been given a mandate to take certain action. I quote a few passages from the Prime Minister’s speech -
We have a clear choice, and we must make it clearly. We can attack these Communists frontally, or we can adopt inaction.
After all, what liberty should there In; for the enemies of liberty under the law. Our Communist enemies are known.
The Government claims to know the members of the Communist party but. armed with that knowledge, what does it propose to do ? It proposes merely to put a ban on the party. What a puerile, innocuous proposal. I quote the following from the preamble to the bill : -
And Whereas the Australian Communist Party, in accordance with the basic theory of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin, engages in activities or operations designed to assist or accelerate the coming of a revolutionary situation, in which the Australian Communist Party, acting as a revolutionary minority would be able to seize power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat:
And Whereas the Australian Communist Party also engages in activities or operations designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system pf government of Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices:
And Whereas the Australian Communist Party is an integral part of the world Communist revolutionary movement, which, in the King’s dominions and elsewhere, engages in espionage and sabotage and in activities or operations of a treasonable nature and also engages in activities or operations similar to those, or havingan object similar to the object of those, referred toin the last two preceding paragraphs of this preamble:
I contend that the preamble should have ended there, but it is significant that it goes on to refer to sections of the community other than the members of the Australian Communist party. The bill is, in its present form, ambiguous and sinister. In my opinion, it is designed to enable the Government to attack the trade union movement. The psychological condition that must exist before that can be done has been created. During the recent election campaign, the Liberal party, in its propaganda, connected the socialization objective of the Australian Labour party with the Communist ideology. The object of the progaganda was to establish a psychological condition in which, subsequently, supporters and adherents of the Labour party could be caught in the net cast by this bill.
The Government, having received a positive mandate from the people to deal with communism, should deal with it in a manner different from that proposed in this bill. The Prime Minister has said that the Communists are known to the Government. They should be segregated and then dealt with. If they violate the laws of this great country, they should be prosecuted. The existing legislation relating to subversive activities is adequate for that purpose. Senator McKenna told the Senate of the actions that Labour governments have taken against Communists, but what have nonLabour governments done to meet the Communist threat to our industrial and civil way of life? The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan), in his second-reading speech, referred to the findings of the royal commission that was appointed by the Victorian Government to inquire into the origin, aims, objects and funds of the Communist party in Victoria. Those findings support the recitals in the preamble to this hill regarding the revolutionary, treasonable and subversive nature of the Communist party in Aus tralia and its association with international communism. They constitute an indictment of the Communist party, and would justify the Government in introducing a measure, more appropriate tothe purpose than this one, to ban its adherents from our Australian way of life, but the Government, instead of doing that, is attempting to deal with these alleged traitors by means of this bill, which will have the effect of throwing them back into the Australian way of life. Is it not obvious that they will go into the trade union movement, because, by no stretch of the imagination, would they be, in the main, acceptable to the Liberal party or its adherents? They will have no alternative to going into the labour unions and the industrial life of this country. The bill is not designed specifically to dissolve the Australian Communist party. It is designed to kill two birds with one stone.
In the preamble certain industries are stated to be vital to the security and defence of Australia. They are the coalmining, iron and steel, engineering, building, transport and power industries. But provision is made for the GovernorGeneral to declare, acting on the advice of the executive, that other industries are essential to the peace, order and good government of Australia. It is possible that industries other than those to which reference is made in the preamble will be brought within the ambit of this measure.
After the recital relating to essential industries, the following recital appears -
And whereas activities or operations of, or encouraged , by, the Australian Communist party, and activities or operations of, or encouraged by, members or officers of that party and other persons who are Communists.
The words “ and other persons who are Communists” are the crux of the bill. In clauses 4 and 5 provision is made for the dissolution of the Communist party and affiliated organizations. Clause 9 deals with the “ other persons who are Communists “. It reads - (1.) This section applies to any person -
In the definition clause, a Communist is defined as a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism as expounded by Marx and Lenin. That definition is as wide as the ocean. Senator McKenna gave a definition of Marxism and Leninism that could well be incorporated in this bill. It is the extremely wide definition of “ Communist “ in the bill that is occupying the minds of so many people in public life in Australia to-day, irrespective of their political beliefs. I shall read to the Senate a letter written by Mr. E. J. Craigie, of 8 Grant-avenue, Rose Park, South Australia, which was published in the Advertiser of the 23rd May. When Mr. Craigie was a member of the South Australian Parliament, a few years ago, he consistently supported the Liberal party on the floor of the House. People are fearful of the probable repercussion of this undemocratic measure. The views that have been expressed by Mr. Craigie are similar to those that have been expressed by many people not only in Australia but also abroad. His letter reads -
LIBERAL PARTY’S “ DANGER “.
To the Editor,
If Liberals who are supporting the AntiCommimist Bill would give it serious consideration, they would realize that if passed and fairly administered, the Liberal party is in grave danger of being declared an unlawful association. Section 5, sub-clause (2.) of the bill provides that any organization “ which supports or advocates the teachings of the principles or practices of communism as expounded by Marx or Lenin “ may be declared an unlawful association. Two clauses in the Communist manifesto issued by Karl Marx in 1948 declare for (a) “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax” and (b) “Confiscation of the property of all emigrantsand rebels”. These two clauses in the Communist manifesto receive the advocacy and support of the Liberal party. Its income tax proposal is graded and progressive in proportion to the wealth produced by the individual. Liberals will see there is no difference in principle between the two clauses in the Communist manifesto issued by Karl Marx and the policy of their own party. Mr. Menzies may, in due course, realize that fact, and he has stated he has the courage to see this thing to the bitter end, so we may yet see him declaring the liberal party an unlawful association. Perhaps Mr. Kent Hughes, who has moved to limit the operation of the bill to 1951, has realized this danger, and wants the bill taken off the statute-book before there is a change of government, so that the fear about declaring the Liberal party may be removed.
– Does the honorable senator claim that Mr. Craigie is a member of the Liberal party?
– I have already said that he supported the Liberal party on the floor of the House. In view of the allembracing definition of “ Communist “ in this measure, it is quite possible that the Liberal party could be declared an unlawful association.
– Mr. Craigie is not even a good humorist.
– He was a good Liberal, inasmuch as he supported the Liberal party. The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) went to great lengths to explain the provisions of clause 9 in relation to a declared person. I presume that the Minister meant to imply that if a public servant was a member of the Communist party or any of its subsidiaries he would come within the ambit of the clause. Apparently any person who has advanced a radical line of thought, irrespective of his affiliations, could be dragged within the ambit of the clause and declared a Communist. That tag would automatically indicate that, in addition to expounding the teachings of Marx and Lenin, he had been guilty of espionage, sabotage, treason, and other activities of a subversive nature.
– Apparently the Government will have to declare some of its pimps.
– That is a possibility. The ultimate Australian state or society that this provision envisages is clear.
– Is the honorable senator against the bill ?
– There shall be no ambiguity in my answer to the question that the Minister has asked by interjection. I am a loyal Australian and subscribe to the Australian way of life.I comply with the laws and regulations of this country to the best of my ability with a view to maintaining our way of life.
– We all want to do that.
– But why does the Government not seek to implement such a way of life? Let it remove the cancerous growth in our social body in an effective way, but not attempt to remove it in the ambiguous fashion proposed in the bill.
– The honorable senator is against the bill?
– I have already answered that question.
– What is the honorable senator’s answer?
– Let me ask the Minister a question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! The honorable senator must not invite interjections.
– If we accept the interpretation of the proposed declaration furnished by the Attorney-General, it seems to me that every individual who is “ declared “ must be regarded as a saboteur of the material welfare and the safety of the Australian people. Can his inter pre ta tien mean anything else? It was clear and unambiguous. If every person who entertains radical or progressive views which are contrary to those held by the government of the day is liable to be “declared” under clause 9, then the onus of proof should certainly be shifted from the individual to the Crown. In fact, to cast the onus of proof on. thic “ declared “ person is contrary to- elementary conceptions of British justice that have been entertained since Magna Charta. Even, in time of war enemies of the realm have been, charged with specific offences and given a fair trial. Even under the reactionary regime that governed France in, the early years of this, century, Dreyfus was- given a trial. But in Australia the Government comes along with a measure which provides that certain persons may be dealt with summarily merely because their views and activities are, in the opinion of the government of the day, inimical to the Australian way of life.
– We already have legislation to deal with individuals whose activities are inimical to our way of life.
– As Senator Nash and Senator McKenna pointed out in the course of their speeches, existing legislation, such as the Crimes Act, provides adequate penalties for such individuals.
I am particularly concerned with the probable effects of this measure on the trade unions and the Labour movement generally in this; country. Even the- federal executive of the Australian Labour party and the Australian Council of Trades Unions will be exposed to attack under the bill because they maintain that the strike weapon should be retained for use when circumstances warrant it.
-. - What about theArbitration Court?
– If I may be permitted to digress-
– The former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley),, who is the leader of the Labour party, told the coalminers that they could not have it both ways; they could not have the benefits of arbitration while claiming the right to resort to strikes.
– We subscribe to the tenets of arbitration, and I may be able to show later that the measure which we are discussing, is not in conformity with the principles of industrial arbitration. Senator Robertson cannot have it both ways, either. The bill will enable the Government to attack the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and its subsidiary bodies, and all Labour bodies because they are not registered in theCommonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. Clause 5 (1.) of the bill provides -
This section applies to any hotly of persons,, corporate or unincorporate, not being an industrial organization registered under the law of the Commonwealth or a State.
It is quite conceivable, therefore, that both those bodies may bring themselves within the definition of “ communism “’ contained in the bill without engaging in other than quite legitimate activities. We should then witness the extraordinary spectacle of prominent Labour personalities and trade union officials being “ declared “ under the bill. In fact, it is ncc outside the bounds of possibility that t1: ? Liberal party -itself might be “ declared Tr> as was pointed out in theletter to the Adelaide Advertiser to which I have already referred. In addition,, bodies like the Quakers and other religious, sociological and political movements which endeavour to promote the advancement of the community or of their members by advocating philosophical, ideological, ethical, or other reforms will be liable to extreme punishment under this bill. Obviously, only the more militant of those bodies would attract attention, but even action against such militant bodies would be a violation of our democratic conceptions. Furthermore, although the bill provides for the banning of the Communist party as such, it provides no commensurate penalties for individuals who adhere to the Communist ideology.
I propose to say something now a.bout the effect of the bill on the trade union movement. I have been associated with that movement for 43 years, and I have been an official of the bakers’ union for 30 years, so that I claim some competency to address myself to this aspect of the matter. I contend that, in the main, union members determine union policy. Union officials are merely the individuals who implement that policy. The natural reaction of the press and of the public to publicity given to the belligerent activities of a militant union which is seeking to improve the conditions of its members, and is adopting means that are quite in accordance with our Constitution, is to brand the officials of that union, who are its spokesmen, as Communists. This seems an opportune moment to digress in order to deal with the matter of strikes that was mentioned by Senator Robertson in her interjection. The union with which I am connected has had only two strikes in the 60 years during which it has functioned. On one occasion we filed a log of claims with the proper tribunal, but when we failed to obtain a decision after twelve months, the executive of the union reported the situation to the members of the union, who spontaneously decided that they should not continue work. I emphasize the circumstances in which that decision was reached, because we are so often told that the members of trade unions are peaceful individuals who have no part in the making of decisions to take militant action. I am a firm believer in majority rule, to which I have always subscribed. When the bakers decided to strike on the occasion to which I refer, that great democrat, Judge Kelly of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, was asked to investigate our claims. The judgment which he subsequently delivered brought about an enormous improvement in the wages and conditions of our members, so much so that the conditions of bakers in all capital cities of Australia have been improved immeasurably. I say, therefore, that the use of the strike weapon was abundantly justified in that instance. I also say that the great majority of trade unionists believe that a strike should be resorted to only when they cannot obtain justice by other means.
Sitting suspended from 1.^ to 2.15 p.m.
– I have expressed the fear that this measure is aimed at the trade union movement generally. That fear is justified by the attitude adopted earlier in this debate by the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer). When Senator McKenna asked whether the Labour party would be brought within the provisions of this measure, the AttorneyGeneral was silent. When the question was repeated he said, “Do not be ridiculous “. He did not refute Senator McKenna’s suggestion decisively. That, as I have said, is some justification at least, for our fear and suspicion that this bill is designed specifically to deal with the trade unions. Clause 9 applies to a person -
As I said earlier, a person who is declared under that provision, will be regarded as having been engaged in espionage, sabotage or other treasonable activities. It is all right for honorable senators opposite to say that trade unionists generally will not come within the provisions of the measure. The ramifications of the bill will not be clear until it has become law, and then it may be too late. Consider the case of a trade union that has before it for discussion a vital matter of policy. The union follows the procedure laid down by the Arbitration Court and calls a meeting to discuss the matter. The meeting reaches a decision, perhaps to take certain definite action. Responsibility for implementing that decision is placed upon officials of the union. The danger is that, not only the officials, but also some members of the rank and file of that organization may be declared. The names of unionists who took a prominent part in the discussions may be conveyed to the authorities surreptitiously by stooges. The consequence of such a declaration would be, that thereafter, the declared persons would not be eligible to hold office in the union. The list of declared persons in a particular union might become so extensive that the union could not function effectively because of the lack of officials. That is quite possible under this legislation. Another method by which a government that was opposed to the progressive policy of the Labour party could cripple a trade union would be to make an accusation against that union in accordance with that portion of the preamble to the bill which deals with activities - . . designed to cause, by means of strikes or stoppages of work, and have, by those mc mm. caused, dislocation, disruption or retardation of production of work in those vital industries:
For instance, a union might decide to ban overtime or to insist upon working the normal weekly hours in five days instead of six. Such action might be construed as bringing that organization within the terms of this measure, and a refusal to obey a direction by the authorities might result in the deregistration of that union. Similarly, a corporate or unincorporate body, not being an industrial organization registered under, the law of the Commonwealth or a State could be declared an unlawful organization. I should like to know whether the Government can constitutionally interfere with trade unions that appoint their officials in conformity with the rules laid down by the Arbitration Court. In recent months many trade unions, have of their own volition, removed Communists from official positions. They have done that under the law as it stands to-day. I believe that the trade unions should be the master of their own destiny, There should -be no interference with their management provided they conform to the law of the land. Under this bill there is every chance that, in the event of a strike, trade union officials who act in accordance with the instructions of their members will be declared. Whatwill be the reaction of the unions to that ? As fast as officials are declared, newones will be elected. “We are most fearful of the onus of proof provision, but, as time will not” permit me to speak of it, I shall leave that matter to other Opposition speakers. TheMinister concluded his second-reading: speech by saying -
If honorable senators believe that the factsso abundantly and painfully evident in Australia and throughout the world justify the recitals in this bill then there is not likely to be much time expended in dealing with it. If any honorable senator feels that I have exaggerated or mis-stated the position then I shall be interested to hear how and in what particular. Meanwhile, I commend the hill tothe Senate.
I have made my criticism of the bill. I repeat that the measure is designed toattack the trade union movement and theLabour party. The onus of proof provision is a negation of British justice asSenator McKenna, Senator Armstrong, Senator Nash and others have so ablypointed out. Finally, the full application of this legislation will introduce a measureof totalitarianism inimical to the philosophy of not only the Labour party, but also of the Liberal party.
– Many honorable senators addressing themselves to the bill have said that it is one of the most important bills that will be brought before the Parliament this session. I heartily agree. It has also been said properly that the bill breaks new ground. All honorable senators, therefore, should’ divest themselves of any preconceived ideas that they may have had on the bill and regard it as a majorpiece of legislation. As such, it demandsfrom all members of the Senate their closest attention, because any honorable senator who places the national ‘ welfare before personal gain must support this bill unreservedly. It is the answer to the Government’s election pledge to dissolve the Communist party.
I was pleased to hear Senator Annabelle Rankin emphasize how the women of Australia had been imposed upon by the Communists. Their actions towards defenceless women are somethingof which any party should be ashamed.
I believe that it was the women of Australia who supplied the answer on the 10th December and gave the Government ii. mandate to dissolve the Communist party. It is said that the Labour party will not oppose the bill. If that is true, they must agree to pass it in its present form. Last night honorable senators heard a speech by Senator Grant who often gives wellconsidered comments and has a facile wit. When the honorable senator referred to the Pilgrim’s Progress he knew the answer that he wanted when he spoke of a character in that book, but he had a loss of memory. The character he wanted was Mr. Facing-Both-Ways. That would suit him admirably. The honorable senator thought that he was searching in his mind for Christian, but the public and honorable senators on this side know that he had in mind Mr* FacingBothWays. It was the first time that I had seen Senator Grant stumble, and I pay tribute to his cleverness in not remembering Mr. Facing-Both-Ways.
Honorable senators opposite have said that there are many points in this bill with which they are in agreement. The points of agreement are that communism sets out to overthrow the parliamentary system of government, is treasonable, gives no allegiance to the Crown, denies the existence of a supreme being, is subversive in its activities, has been responsible for many strikes and has caused grave industrial trouble and economic loss in the coal strike last year. All honorable senators agree on those points and, further, that the Communist party caused the Labour Government to put troops into the mines to get coal. In that respect the Government did something that I thought we would never see a Labour government do. The action of the Communists caused men to be gaoled, but they were sentenced for contempt of court and not by any action of the Labour Government. Surely those are points of agreement between honorable senators on both sides of the chamber.
– The honorable senator should speak for himself.
– I am merely giving the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley) some praise that I think he deserves.
– I am not seeking it.
– It was never in my thoughts that Senator Ashley looked for praise. I have a higher opinion of him than that. The point open to dispute is the means by which the dissolution of the Communist party can be achieved. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber believe in constitutional government, the freedom of the individual, the right, of any man to earn money, save money and own property. Last night, Senator Sheehan claimed with truth that communism had been checked, but the growth still exists in Australia. Senator Sheehan also said that communism had spread overseas, particularly in Europe and in Asia. That is true, but it has not spread in those countries because the people believe in communism, but solely because of the Russian occupation. How did Russia obtain those territories? It was through the sacrifices of British and American servicemen, whose efforts were supported at home by loyal and self-sacrificing people. Russia’s entry into and occupation of the Berlin zone has proved a world tragedy, because it has prevented world peace.
I say to Senator Sheehan that Australia welcomed American aid in 1941. Australia has since appreciated American help and what the United States of America is doing in the world to-day. We are grateful to that great nation and have every justification for that sentiment. The Australian people would not bite the hand that fed them, and I believe that that is why they are turning towards the United States of America. Honorable senators agree that the Communist organization must be destroyed now, but one thing has worried me. I cannot understand why honorable senators opposite, many of whom have been trade union officials and are active members of trade unions, could hesitate to protect the great mass of unionists who are loyal and patriotic. Why do honorable senators opposite support so ardently the minority of Communists ?
– Who said so? The Australian Council of Trades Unions has opposed the resolution that honorable senators on this side are supporting.
– I cannot understand why the great mass of trade unionists who are so loyal to their unions and to the country are being left on a limb by honorable senators on the opposite side of the chamber. I have served with many of those lads in the ranks. They were trade unionists.
– The honorable senator served with Communists, too.
– I have served in the ranks with trade unionists. No Communists have ever proclaimed themselves in an area where I served., and it was not in the back line. I think the comment of honorable senators opposite is unworthy. I have a great respect for men with whom I served. What they were was never considered. Whoever they were, those lads were patriotic and their motives were as high as those of any one else. Many of them tell me candidly that they do not vote for me, but they are good friends of mine and I want to protect them. They are the backbone of the unions which support honorable senators opposite. In return for that, they ask the members of this Parliament to keep this country unsullied. They ask that we should rid this country of the Communist danger which threatens the best things in the lives of the people. Surely those trade unionists who are so loyal are worthy of protection ! Their lives are in the hands of honorable senators who can protect them from a foe working from within.
I ask honorable senators opposite to come into the open and show where they stand. They should support this bill in its entirety. The crux of the Opposition case on this bill centres on the onus of proof. I admit that since the time of Magna Charta it has been customary to prove the accusation made against a person, but there have .been some notable exceptions, some of which are quite modern. The Australian Labour party, which has suddenly developed such a burning enthusiasm for the accused, has a rather interesting record on this question, and it is not ancient history. The Labour Government was elected in 1941 and continued in office, first under Mr. Curtin and then under Mr. Chifley, until the 10th
December, 1949. During the whole of that period, Dr. H. V. Evatt was AttorneyGeneral If the Labour Government had disliked the averment provisions in certain of the war-time regulations, it had eight years in which to do something about them. However, Dr. Evatt did nothing to alter the conditions under which British subjects were interned during the war. He accepted, without any major amendment, the system of tribunals established by his predecessor, under which British subjects were kept interned during the whole of the war -without ever meeting their accusers. I do not propose to enter into the merits of various cases; I am simply stating the facts. There was also the notorious Australia First case. Dr. Evatt’s colleague, the then Minister for the Army, Mr. Forde, in a fit of indignant panic, apprehended and interned several people in various walks of life. Some of them were in position to affluence; others had distinguished military records. He did not ask the Attorney-General to formulate specific charges against them, and it was only after the matter had been debated in Parliament months later that a tribunal was set up to inquire into the matter.
We now come to something nearer home. The former member for Watson in the House of Representatives was Mr. M. Falstein. Before the last election the Labour party refused to endorse him, so that he was disqualified from contesting the seat as the official Labour candidate. No charge was ever laid against him, so far as I know. He was simply declared to be outside the Labour party. Some time later, certain sitting Labour members in the New South Wales Parliament met a similar fate. Indeed, a new word was coined to describe their situation. It was said that they had been “ Falsteined “.
I come next to the Blain case, the gem of all such occurrences. Perhaps some honorable senators are unfamiliar with the facts. At the outbreak of war, Adair Macalister Blain represented the Northern Territory in the House of Representatives. He had served in the first Australian Imperial Force in the 1914-18 war, and he enlisted for service in the second Australian Imperial Force. He is a man with a very gallant war record. He served! with the. Australians in Malaya, and was captured and imprisoned! by the Japanese after the surrender of Singapore.
– AH very interesting, but what has it to. do with the bill ?
– It is most interesting; to many of Blain’s friends, ;md to the great body of ex-servicemen who recognize that he was most shame.fully treated by the Labour Government. He was crucified. I know that some honorable senators opposite do not like the truth, but they have their remedy.
– The honorable senator will convince himself, soon..
– I have convinced myself that Blain was most shockingly treated.
– I rise to a. point of order.. The statement that some members of the Opposition dislike: the truth is very offensive to me.
– Honorable senators should not be too sensitive. If we gc on like this, we shall reach a stage when honorable senators will not be able to state their arguments in expressive language. In the heat of the moment, or b,manse we hold strong opinions, we sometimes say things that get under the skin of some other honorable senator. I have done so myself. The time has arrived when I should state emphatically that honorable senators ought to be allowed to express themselves. If other honorable senators feel affronted, they will, in turn, have an opportunity to express themselves in the same way.
– I very much appreciate what you have said, Mr. President. While he was a prisoner of war in Changi prison, Blain had in his possession his gold travelling pass, which the enemy thought was the badge of the secret service. We all know how Blain returned to this Parliament, a man emaciated in body and broken in spirit. When he was released from the Japanese, he weighed only 7 stone. We all know the bashings he took from the Japanese, and how he never gave any information to the enemy.
– I should like to know what point the honorable senator is trying to make, and how it is connected with the bin? It. is1 permissible to refer in passing to some unrelated matter, hut an honorable senator may not continue for any length of time to speak of matters unrelated to the business before the Chair.
– We are now discussing’ the onus-of-proof provision in the hill before the Senate, and I am pointing out where the onus of proof was allowed1 to lie in a cas* in which a serious charge waa levelled against a very gallant man. Members’ of the Labour party have expressed! their abhorrence of the onus-of-proof provision in the hill. 1 am pointing out that, in. the Blain ease, the onus of proof was placed’ by the Labour Government, on the accused. It was stated by one member of the House of Representatives that. Blain had used his gold pass to get for himself privileges that were denied to other prisoners. Th(? charge caused, a sensation.
– I rise to a point of order. I do not think that what Senator Mattner is saying has any relation to the bill. I recognize, Mr. President, that yon are allowing as much latitude as possible, but I cannot see how Senator Mattner is justified in raking up an incident that occurred so Ions: ago. It should not be discussed during the debate on this bill.
– I am in charge of the proceedings, and it is for me to say whether the Standing Orders are being transgressed. I have already told Senator Mattner that he must not go too far without connecting his remarks with the bill. I do not think that it is necessary for him to make a long dissertation on the Blain case in order to prove his point.
– The charge against Blain was vicious, personal and wicked. A committee of inquiry was appointed, and I now come to my point. One would have expected that, in the proceedings before that committee, the onus of proof would have fallen on the accuser ; that attention would have been focused on the evidence of the accuser, and on Blain’s evidence, as well as on the statutory declarations of persons who knew the facts.
– Is the honorable senator reading from the report, of the committee ?
– No. As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley) is aware, the report was made available only to members of the House of Representatives. The attitude of Dr. Evatt towards the Blain case, and at the present time, shows that he has always been more concerned about protecting those who would destroy Australia than about doing the right thing by those who risked their lives to defend him and other members of the Labour .party. While he was in Changi prison, Blain had the gold fillings knocked out of his teeth to provide money to buy food for his fellow prisoners.
– In spite of my warning, Senator Mattner is continuing to discuss the Blain case at length, and in doing so he is out of order. He may touch on the Blain case in passing in order to make his point about the onusofproof provision in the bill, but he is out of order in going into details.
– I have touched on these matters for a very good reason. I want honorable senators to compare the attitude of the Labour party towards the examples I have cited with their attitude towards this bill. Members of the Labour party now claim that the liberty of the subject is sacrosanct, but they were not always so emphatic upon the point. How is it proposed in the bill to deal with a person who is alleged to be a Communist ? If he is charged with a specific offence, he will be proceeded against under the established methods of criminal prosecution. There is to be no departure from that principle. In his case, the Crown will accept the onus of proof, and the accused can be convicted only if his guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt. Does any honorable senator opposite disagree with that procedure?
– That is not in the bill at all. Where is it ?
– The honorable senator should read the bill. Does the Opposition oppose that principle?
– We do not, but it is not contained in the bill.
– I believe that the provisions relating to the onus of proof are the only provisions upon which we are in substantial disagreement. I am endeavouring to convince honorable senators opposite that the bill should be passed unamended.
Let me deal now with the provisions which prescribe certain disqualification. A person declared under this measure, will be disqualified from holding office under the Commonwealth. I believe that we are agreed upon that. He will also be disqualified from holding office in an industrial organization. The Executive Council will accept the responsibility of declaring a person.
– That means the Minister.
– The Executive Council will accept the responsibility of declaring persons who are alleged to be a menace to the security of this country in the emergency of a cold war, but, in the final analysis, the people themselves will be the judges, because if they are not satisfied with the actions of the Government they will reject it at a general election. The bill makes provision for the protection of the rights of individuals by giving a declared person the right to appeal. to a British court - a court that rests upon the traditions of British justice. Does any one question the integrity of British courts, or dispute the fairness of British justice? If a declared person appeals to the court, he may go into the witness box and deny that he is a Communist. Then a trusted custodian of the British traditions of justice and fairness will decide the case according to the evidence. Is there anything wrong with that procedure? It has been said by the Opposition that what is proposed is not British justice, but I say that it is.
In conclusion, I point out to honorable senators opposite who have protested against this measure that they are being used as tools to further the poisoned communistic outlook. How can they deny honestly that this bill possesses all the qualities of British justice and fairness? It is designed to uphold and maintain, in their full splendour, the best traditions of justice. I support the bill, without looking both ways.
– In my judgment, the bill is absolutely unnecessary. It is a form of political stunting or theatricalism, I say that because the Commonwealth and the States already have power to act in the manner in which the Government has alleged that it wants to act. They do not need this bill to enable them to do so, and no one knows that better than does the a verage legal man.
The recitals in the preamble are, in my judgment, based upon mere assumptions and beliefs. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in the policy speech that he delivered during the last general election campaign, said -
The laws with respect to sedition and other subversive activities will be reviewed and strengthened. Conviction under such laws will disqualify from employment under the Crown or from office in a registered organization.
That was an admission that what I have said is correct. The present laws are quite sufficient. The right honorable gentleman said that all that the present Government parties intended to do, if they were returned to power, was to strengthen existing laws. He said nothing about new laws or reversing the rule of law. For all practical purposes, the Government obtained its votes under false pretences. Knowingly and deliberately, it misled the electors on this matter.
The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) has sworn to give effect to the laws of this country. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’sullivan), in his second-reading speech, said -
The findings of Sir Charles Lowe, as recorded in the report of the royal commission recently appointed by the Victorian Government to inquire into the origin, aims, objects and funds of the Communist party in Victoria, emphasize the validity of the recitals in this bill, as to the revolutionary, treasonable and subversive nature -of communism in Australia, and its affiliation and association with international communism.
What has the Attorney-General done in the matter? He has done nothing at all. It is obviously his duty to act, but he has been remiss. He is charged with the duty of invoking the laws of this land against individuals who, in his opinion, have committed illegal acts. On the Government’s own showing, illegal acts have been committed by Communists, but no action has been taken against them.
I have said that this bill is an example of political stunting or theatricalism, in which some members of the Parliament excel. It brings back to my mind some political stunting in 1940. In that year, the present Prime Minister, buttoning up his coat and looking statesmanlike, said, “ Electors of Geelong, remember that Hitler is watching the way in which you vote “. He was quite serious about it, but he forgot that most of the electors of Geelong were Scots, and they voted for Mr. Dedman. Conduct of that kind during elections or in the Parliament is, if I may repeat myself, mere political stunting or theatricalism.
If we were foolish enough to pass this bill in its present form, I believe that it could be challenged successfully in the High Court. I doubt whether the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General would be prepared to defend it before that tribunal, but they think that because they are in office they are privileged to exaggerate and to say almost anything to secure the passage of the bill through the Parliament. The recitals in the preamble refer to the teachings of Marx and Lenin. I ask the questions that have been asked by other honorable senators : What do those ‘ teachings amount to; what does the Government know about them? All that Government supporters have done is to tear a few sentences from their context and, having quoted them, to pose and posture as though they were authorities on the subject about which they were speaking, but about which they know absolutely nothing. Otherwise their approach would have been the approach of intelligent people, based upon facts. They are in the same category as a good many professing Christians, who pay lip service to the ten Commandments but indulge in practices quite contrary to them. Two of the ten Commandments are “ Thou shalt not kill”, and “Thou shalt not steal “. The very basis of capitalist society is the killing of millions and stealing in every shape and form. These people pose and posture as Christians, but tHey justify killing on a mass scale.
The law of the jungle is child’s play compared with the law of mankind, which is the only species in the animal kingdom that organizes itself to destroy its own kind. With regard to stealing, as I have said previously, all profit is made by underpaying the men on the job, and overcharging over the counter. If that is not stealing, I have yet to learn what is. There is no other way of making profits. When government supporters speak of Marx and Lenin, let them think of the alleged Christians who would have us believe that they are Christians in practice as well as in theory.
Everybody knows that the Communist party in this country has no real following. The real test is the parliamentary elections. It has been pointed out that at elections in this country the Communist party is losing all along the line. That is the position at the present time, but, having introduced this bill, the Government can be charged with doing more to enhance the prestige of the Communist party than the Communists themselves were ever able to do. Consider the last Congress of the Australian Council of Trades Unions. The biggest vote that the leading Communists received then was 100 votes out of 350 votes. None of the delegates voted for communism as opposed to capitalism, but on issues affecting the improvement of conditions of living and choice of employment. In almost every instance Communist candidates in parliamentary elections have forfeited their deposits. The Communist who was elected to the Queensland Parliament several years ago was defeated at the last election. Many of the contentions of Government senators are, in effect, merely political stunting and shadow-sparring. The following passage appears in Chapter VH. of Tha Forgotten People, written by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) : -
The true function of a member of Parliament is to serve bis electors not only with his vote but with his intelligence. If some problem arises in Parliament about which lie has knowledge and to which he has devoted his best thought, how absurd it would be - indeed how dangerous it would be - if he should allow his considered conclusion to be upset by a temporary clamour by thousands of people, most of whom in the nature of things could not have his sources of information, and have probably in any event not thought the problem out at all. .Nothing can be worse for democracy than to adopt the practice of permitting knowledge to bc overthrown by ignorance. If I have honestly and thoughtful])’ arrived at a certain conclusion on a public question and my electors disagree with me, my first duty is to endeavour to persuade them that mY view is right. If I fail in this, ray second duty will be to accept the electoral consequences and not to run away from them. Fear can never be a proper or useful ingredient in those mutual relations of respect and goodwill which ought to exist between the elector and the elected.
Members of the Opposition have exercised their rights, knowledge, and intelligence to point out where the Government is wrong in this matter. We have witnessed the spectacle of the Leader of the Government in this chamber (Senator O’sullivan) attempting to stampede honorable senators and rush legislation through the Senate by brow-beating respectable members of this chamber. I am convinced that no self-respecting judge or magistrate would tolerate the tactics of legal senators on the opposite side of the chamber for five minutes. The Opposition’s attitude in this matter is supported by the Prime Minister. Yet honorable senators opposite have endeavoured to justify their contentions by the most ignoble and contemptuous practices. What is communism?
– According to the bill, it is the ideology that was propounded by Marx and Lenin.
– The only way to combat it is to end poverty. When speaking to the Royal Empire Society in London on the 20th January, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Ceylon’s High Commissioner to Great Britain, expressed the view that in three or four years South - East Asia would lead the world into a depression of unparalleled depth. The following report appeared in the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial of the 21st January: -
Speaking to the Royal Empire Society, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke warned that a. “ frankenstein of inflation “ would destroy South-East Asia first and the rest of the world afterwards. “ Abandon the slogan of fighting Communism and adopt the slogan of . fighting poverty in South-East Asia “, he said, “ Communism in these areas is the consequence of ignorance, poverty, and disease. I almost think it is already too late for countries in the West to wake up. The American policy of supporting high prices will bring South-East Asia almost on to the margin of mass starvation “. He said he could not understand why Australia had increased her wheat prices by 40 per cent, when the cost of living in Australia had hardly risen.. “ Against this economic background, plans to light Communism in South-East Asia almost appear a studied camouflage not to face the truth he added. iiia remarks- apply equally in Australia. Answers that have been given to important questions asked by honorable- senators, relating to the value of the £1 prove conclusively that the Government refuses to face the truth in this matter. Communism arose here during the thirties as a result of ignorance, poverty and disease. It is folly to assume that effects can be dealt with without interfering with causes. That applies equally to western and eastern countries. The natural law of humanity is the law of cause and effect. Communism can be summed up in this way: It is the effect of suppression, brought about mainly by intensified exploitation and impoverishment of workers in all parts of the world. The mere enactment of legislation will not get rid of communism. If supporters of the Government consider that they can get rid of communism without removing the cause, they will be disillusioned1. The ultimate task that will have to be faced will be mud more difficult than is the present one. There should be a commonsense approach to the matter. Likewise, if supporters of the Government consider that strikes will be prevented by this measure they will be disillusioned. Legislation has been enacted in almost every country in the world to try to prevent strikes, without avail. I point out that strikes are a natural and inevitable reaction to exploitation.
– If I were an official of the coal-miners’ union I would have A lot more to say about matters than have the coal-miners. When I visited the coal-mining districts of this country some time ago, in the capacity of PostmasterGeneral, I was astounded at the filthy, dilapidated, habitations in which the miners were forced to live, and I marvelled at their acquiescence when
I inspected the conditions under which they had to work. If those men knew what they should know they would adopt a much more sustained and intelligent stand than in the past. These men are asked to undertake the dirtiest, filthiest and most dangerous jobs. Yet they are caricatured in the press, and criticized in this chamber as traitors. Instead of the best possible conditions being offered to them, the reverse is the case. I ask honorable senators to imagine themselves in a similar position. I should like to see an honorable senator who considers that the miners enjoy good conditions work in a mine for at least twelve months. I am convinced that he would not then be content until he had organized resistance. For a considerable time the Opposition has asked to be informed of the object of the bill. In my opinion it is part of a plan not to deal with a handful of Communists but with the trade union movement in a manner similar to that attempted by the Bruce-Page Government in 1926”. Existing legislation would enable a government to dissolve a subversive organization much more quickly than would this bill.
This measure has been introduced in defiance of all the concepts of British justice, about which honorable senators opposite say so much but practise so little. The vested interests of this country see another depression coming. Prices are rising and small business, men are being driven out of business by powerful monopolies. Those features of our economy indicate the almost certain approach of a depression. The antiLabour forces are, therefore, seeking now to arm themselves with extraordinary powers to . deal with the workers when the depression comes. As a natural corollary of this bill they want to obtain the control of the national bank in the interests of the private banks, and that is why they have introduced the Commonwealth Bank Bill. However, the bitter experience of the parents of the younger generation has made them very hostile. They are not disposed to take any more risks than they can avoid. There has been a great deal of agitation and objection to this measure on all sides. Popular opposition to it is strengthening all the time. At the back of the minds of the people there is, as I have said, the recollection of the bitter experiences that they suffered in the ‘thirties. Amongst the supporters of the Government are a number of political neophytes who did not experience the hardships suffered by the masses during the depression. Whilst practical experience is the greatest teacher of all, it is notoriously the costliest teacher. As I have pointed out before, practical experience without theory is blind, and theory without practical experience is futile. This bill is based, on theories and not on practical experience, and the futility of those theories will be demonstrated. The only support which this measure has obtained in the community is among those sections whose credulity is such that they can easily be imposed upon because of their inexperience or indifference.
During his speech, Senator McKenna stated that Marx was opposed to monopoly capitalism, and the honorable senator pointed out that any one who is opposed to monopoly capitalism would be liable, under the bill, to be arrested and charged. Marx said -
The development of industry is, to a great extent, destroying small businesses, and it is still destroying them daily.
The rapid progress of monopoly capitalism has brought into being what is, to use a hackneyed phrase, a new psychology. Marx went on to say -
Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that men’s ideas and perceptions, in one word, men’s consciousness, change with every change in the conditions of their material existence?
That is happening all the time. Of course the economic conditions under which men live have changed, and private monopoly capitalism has been strengthened as the result of the recent war until it is stronger than ever before. Behind the industrial turmoil, to which reference is so often made in the Parliament, we have the conflict between the representatives of monopoly capitalism and the workers about their conditions of employment and living. In consequence of that conflict the workers express their feelings, through those whom they elect to the Parliament, and, incidentally, if the people knew a great deal more of what they should know, many honorable senators now sitting opposite would be conspicuous by their absence from the Parliament. As a further illustration of the injustice of the measure that we are now discussing, I point out that if it became law and I said from a public platform what I am saying now in this privileged chamber. I would be liable to be declared. Adverting to the theories that Marx propounded in 1848, the proof that Marx possessed not only considerable knowledge but also remarkable foresight has been supplied by the subsequent course of events. Exactly what he said would happen in certain circumstances has come to pass. One consequence is that the situation that now confronts us is very different from that which confronted us before the recent war, and demands a more intelligent approach than that made by the Government.
Reference has been made to the membership of the Australian Communist party, and it has been suggested that it consists of workers who are traitors to the country. Let me remind honorable senators that in 1933 the Melbourne Argus appointed a number of capable investigators to make an inquiry into the growth of communism in Australia. After a thorough inquiry they found that 90 per cent, of the membership of that party consisted of university undergraduates. Whilst those young people did not, of course, know what poverty was, their sense of justice was outraged when they saw hundreds of thousands of workers and their children living in conditions of semi-starvation. My memory takes me back to 1890, when conditions were even worse. In the depression of the ‘thirties children died from malnutrition, and if honorable senators doubt my statement they need only refer to the records of the children’s hospitals to verify it. And, as has been pointed out over and over again, that happened at a time when vast quantities of food were rotting throughout the country. The members of the government of that time, which was supposed to .represent the intellectual cream of the community, were either wholly ignorant of the facts or too callous to concern themselves about the plight of the people. Even as late as 1938 it was necessary for us to appeal to the government to do something for the unemployed and distressed members of the community. However, the war came, and the skins and property of the exploiters were endangered. The antiLabour parties realized then the need to do something that should have been done ten years before. The vested interests are always concerned primarily with the preservation of their property, and that is the reason why this infamous bill has been introduced. Does the Government imagine that the people who assemble on the Yarra Bank in Melbourne or in the Sydney Domain to discuss public grievances will permit themselves to be stifled by a measure such as this? Do they think that people will remain silent and uncritical of social injustice? If it does, it will be disillusioned speedily. Adverting to the inquiry conducted by the Argus into the membership of the Communist party, the action taken by that powerful newspaper, when it learned the real truth about Communist agitation, was but another example of the historic attitude, that the magnitude of the crime is lessened by the magnitude of the individual. Because the youthful agitators were the sons and daughters of wealthy people, the whole affair was viewed merely as a sowing of adolescent wild oats. However, had the young people concerned been children of poor people, they would have been fined or gaoled or punished in some other way. During this debate, references have been made to the personnel of the security service. Senator Armstrong’s experience is similar to mine. En 194.1 when I was appointed Minister for Aircraft Production, I received a number of reports alleging that certain persons were guilty of sabotage. Included in the names that were given to me were those of prominent business men in Victoria and in other States. I was asked to take action on exparte evidence and unsigned statements. I refused to do so. I said to the senior officers of my department, “ My advice is that, before acting upon this information, we should tell the people concerned what has been alleged against them, and then, if they cannot supply satisfactory answers, we can deal with them “. That course was followed. Speaking from memory, I believe that in not one instance was any such charge found to have any foundation.
– The honorable senator put the onus of proof on the accused persons.
– We told, them what had been alleged against them and gave them a chance to defend themselves. We were asked to declare them, but we did not do that. We constituted ourselves as both judge and jury, and I consider that we were just as intelligent as any judge and jury. Under this bill, declared persons will not know what is charged against them. Their names will be published in the Gazette and that will be the end of the matter. As a former Attorney-General has said, they will be condemned to an economic death. Honorable senators opposite are only the mental dependants and followers of the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and a few others. So far as I know, they are not consulted about legislation before it is introduced into the Parliament. They are told, “ There is the bill ; you must support it “. If they were to carry out their duties as they should be carried out, before any legislation was introduced into the Parliament, it would be fully discussed by caucus. Every honorable member of the Government parties would receive a copy of it. The purpose of the bill would be explained to him, and he would have an opportunity to discuss it, and if he thought fit, to reject it. If the bill received the approval of the majority, it would be placed before the Parliament. In that way legislation would represent the collective ideas of the Government parties and would be in accordance with the principle of majority rule. Honorable senators opposite are dominated by a few dictators.
– They are Liberal fascists - and not even liberal.
– I have related what happened in the Department of Aircraft Production while it was under my administration. I say to the credit of the then Attorney-General that every case that I submitted to him, and on which I had some doubt, was decided, to the best of my recollection, in favour of the individual against whom the allegations had been made. My impression of some of the security officers was not favorable. They may have been decent men in a social way, but they were not qualified for the duties that they had to perform. They were creatures of prejudices and phobias rather than of reason. They imagined that because somebody said something about somebody else, it must be true, and they acted upon that assumption. I had a similar experience in the Postal Department. An honorable gentleman who is now a Minister of the Crown, enjoying the complete confidence of the Government, alleged that there were Communists in the Postal Department. I asked him publicly to supply the names of the alleged Communists, and promised that the charges would be investigated. In not one instance did he comply with that request. Obviously he was appealing to mob passion, prejudice and fear, with the object of building up his own prestige as a politician.
– The honorable senator is condemning the security system that the Government of which he was a member established.
– That is not so. Not only did we inherit a security service in 1941, but also we inherited an obligation to feed, clothe and house in internment camps thousands of people who should never have been there. Subsequently we released many of them, and compensated them for the injustice that had been done to them by the previous Administration. I tremble to think what would have happened in this country if that Administration had been permitted to remain in office a little longer. At the 1948 Australian Labour party conference in Melbourne, an employee of the Postal Department alleged that there were Communists in that department. He said, in effect, that should a war occur, those people would sabotage postal and telegraphic communications. Those charges were given prominence in the press, and the matter was referred to the then Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, Mr. Charles Brown, who conducted an inquiry. The report of that inquiry was submitted to me, and I formed my own opinion about it.
The charges were based on mere hearsay. However, I sent the report to the security branch of the Attorney-General’s Department, and I have never heard anything further about it. So far as I am aware, nobody has been able to show that there is in the Postal Department one Communist carrying on subversive activities. If the employee to whom I have referred was treated as he would be in other circumstances, he would have lost his job, and would have been charged with making false statements with the object of besmirching the reputations of other men and depriving them of their means of livelihood. Clearly, therefore, when we point to the injustices that may be perpetrated under this legislation, our arguments have the support of practical experience. Taking all things into consideration, the administration of the Labour Government in this country during the war has yet to be excelled in any part of the world. Overseas aviation and production experts were amazed to find that Australian workmen had done such a magnificent job in such a short space of time. In the Beaufort division of the Department of Aircraft Production, there were 12,000 employees. Throughout the regime of the Labour Government there was not one fatal accident or one strike. The department started behind schedule and finished ahead of schedule. During the days when private enterprise was in control there were crashes, strikes and fatal accidents. When Labour was in office those in charge of the department knew their job. Approximately 85 per cent, of the personnel of the department were government trained. They built workshops, installed machinery, trained apprentices, and did a far better job than private enterprise could ever have done. That is an example of what can be achieved by a sympathetic and competent management.
There would be no strikes to-day if an intelligent and sympathetic approach were made to the problems of working men, and members of the Government were prepared to ensure that workers generally received the just treatment that they themselves would expect in similar circumstances. Unfortunately no attempt has been made to do that. Apparently, the Government intends to permit present economic trends to continue until a crisis is reached. When that happens, value will be put back into the £1 automatically. An economic crisis “will mean a fall in prices and of course a fall in wages. Those falls will increase the purchasing power of the £1. When that happens there will be a crop of insolvencies, and an army of unemployed. Our industrial position will be similar to that of the United States of America and certain European countries to-day, and similar, of course, to what it was in this country in the early 1930’s. Therefore when honorable senators opposite speak of suppressing communism, they should consider the natural law of cause and effect. If they can establish a relationship between cause and effect, and are prepared to treat working men as they themselves would expect to be treated, there will be no more strikes. Instead, they come into this chamber posing as ultra-intellects, posing and postulating as great statesmen, whereas, for all practical purposes, they are mental pigmies compared with the men that they would condemn. Honorable senators opposite may consider that I am rather severe in my criticism. I am being severe purposely because I view the position much more seriously than do members of the Government parties. I see them laughing and having their little jokes amongst themselves. They are more concerned about their own amenities than with their duties in this chamber. That indicates to my unsophisticated mind that they do not realize the danger of the situation with which we are faced. I do not doubt their sincerity, but I doubt their judgment and their capacity to judge.
Mention has been made in this chamber of the treatment of Dr. P. R. James. Last year, I visited the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Victoria without fail once or twice a week. I was introduced to several doctors there by courtesy of the medical superintendent, Dr. McLennan. I was concerned, among other things, with the health of my own son. I do not know Dr. James, but as I have said I know Dr. McLennan and others. Most of the doctors are young men of the finest type. They are the last people that I should suspect of subversive activities. They seemed to be wholly absorbed with their task. They are giving to ex-servicemen the very best service of which they are capable. It is no trouble to any of them to explain to a visitor what they consider could be done and should be done. Not one of the ex-servicemen whom I interviewed had a single word of complaint about the treatment that he was receiving. I urge the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) to call for the files relating to Dr. James. The Minister should not condemn Dr. James unheard.
The difference between the Labour party and the Communist party is that the Labour party is a majority party and the Communist party is a minority party. Karl Marx, in his Communist manifesto, stated emphatically two cardinal principles that the Communist party must not form a separate party and the working class should be a majority party. He declared very emphatically and convincingly against minority parties. That is why there, is friction between the Labour party and the Communist party. The Labour party will not be dominated by minority decisions. Before the party- conferences, the unions and the Australian Labour party branches are consulted. They send resolutions and are represented in the conference. The conference makes decisions and those on federal matters are forwarded to a federal conference where the majority decisions are accepted so far as is physically practicable.
The Labour party’s policy is a majority policy. I am inclined to be critical and I do not always agree with every proposition. I do not believe in being a mental follower of any authority and I exercise my own judgment as far as possible. Often I find myself in the minority, but I accept the majority decision. That constitutes the binding force in the Labour movement and that is the reason why the party has the support that it receives. Other people believe that they are greater than the majority. They break away and join the ranks of the Liberal party. If they could, they would become dictators and dominate the majority. That is not allowed in the
Labour movement and it constitutes the fundamental difference between the Labour party and the Communist party.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I rise to support the motion. I believe that this bill is long overdue and that it is absolutely necessary to safeguard the country from people who owe allegiance to a foreign power by which they are being subsidized. Honorable senators may or may not know that £500,000 was brought into Australia not long ago through the banks for the Soviet consulate. For what purpose is that money to be used other than to bribe traitors to commit subversive actions ?
– By whom was the money brought into the country?
– By the Soviet consulate.
– Where is the honorable senator’s proof?
– The honorable senator is too stupid to find out.
– I rise to order. I do not want to be classed in the same category as the “ Bendigo Bulldozer “.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Order! I point out that an honorable senator who is making a maiden speech in the Senate should be heard in silence.
Honorable senators interjecting,
– The bill should have included provision to deport avowed Communists of the type of Healy, Bird, Thompson, and Thornton, who were brought into this country. They should be sent to the country that they support.
– What government brought them in?
– No particular government. They were British subjects and the governments did not know the types that they were. They came in under all governments.
– They cannot be deported under this bill.
– If the honorable senator had been listening to me he would know that I said that that is what is wrong with the bill. It is the one thing that is missing. There should be some provision to deport men who are trying to disrupt this great country and are in the pay of a foreign power.
– The honorable senator should have that included in the bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order ! The honorable senator will have an opportunity to participate in this debate. I have already said that when an honorable senator is making his maiden speech, he should be heard in silence.
- Senator Cameron made some statements regarding the security service. He was not satisfied with it. That security service was appointed by the previous Government. I look upon it with a certain amount of doubt myself, but I cannot see any reason why the honorable senator should turn round on the people that the Labour Government appointed after the Government had been eight years in office. He has been known in the past to be at least pale pink. Many of his statements were to the effect that he believed in Russia.
– To whom is the honorable senator referring?
– To the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat.
– I rise to order. It is personally offensive to me that a member of the Labour party, who was a Minister of the Crown, should be dubbed “ pale pink “ by the honorable senator who is speaking. Senator Cameron is as white as a lily. I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Does the honorable senator withdraw it?
– I withdraw it in deference to you, Mr. Deputy President, but I fail to see how an honorable senator can consider a remark to be personally offensive when it is not addressed to him in any shape or form. An honorable senator on the opposite side of the chamber made a long speech in which he said that during the coal strike the Labour Government had taken action which had been approved by the whole of Australia. The Labour Government acted because it was forced to do so. It knew that there was to be an election and that the people of Australia were suffering. In New South Wales alone there were 400,000 persons out of work because the coal-miners, led by a Communist section, refused to work and supply the necessary coal to carry on industry. The honorable senator said that the Labour Government members talked in the parks, in the mines and in all sorts of places. The only talk that the coal-miners understood was that the Government had the courage for once to put the Army in and prove that the shibboleth that nobody could get coal but coalminers was false.
The La’bour Government called in the troops and after three of four days the soldiers produced more coal per man per day than the coal-miners had been getting. That was what convinced the miners that it was high time that they went back to work before the balloon that they had been carrying for some time burst. The instant the coal-miners were prepared to go back the Labour Government allowed them to dictate to it that the troops must be withdrawn. They would not allow the troops to get another ton of coal. If the Labour Government had had any courage, it should have seen that enough coal was put at grass to provide that the Government could carry on essential services, transport, electricity, power and light. Senator Armstrong made quite a song about the fact that there was some alteration of the list of Communists named by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). There was no justification to make a story of it. One man admitted that he had been a Communist, but had given up the idea about twelve years ago-
– One in South Australia had never been a Communist.
– I do not think that that is correct. It was said of the two or three men who were named that they were presidents or secretaries of smaller unions, but had lost their places possibly a year before. I remind honorable sena tors that the persons who supplied that information were appointed to the security service by the Labour Government, and possibly they did it deliberately. Senator Armstrong said that there was no danger of war. I hope that “he is right, but the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mr. Dean Acheson, has been going around trying to get the people of Western Europe to stand together to work with the Americans in the event of war. The United States of America has been prepared to spend huge sums to bolster up Marshall Tito, the one man who has been game enough to stand up against Stalin. It is spending more money to-day on its navy and ail force than ever before in its history in time of peace. I remind honorable senators that to-day Russia has 174 division at war strength. It is building 24,000 planes a year and is turning out 2,000 tanks a month.
– The honorable senator must be in the secret service.
– Very little information about Russia is available, but a few details do come out. In Russia itself, there is a population of 185,000,000, and the Russian leaders have also at their disposal the man-power of the satellite countries in Eastern Europe. The men of those countries will be used as the Zulus used unproved warriors whom they forced to fight for them. Such warriors, carrying white shields, were placed in the front rank, while the dependable fighting men were placed behind them. If those in the front did not fight, they were speared. In the same way, the Russians will use troops drawn from the satellite countries. They will have to fight, or be killed. Russia is also able to draw on men from Manchuria, northern ‘China and central Asia, and they will be used ruthlessly. Therefore, I cannot understand how a responsible man, a former Minister of the Crown, can get up in this Senate and say that war is not imminent. On what does he base his view? No man knows when he goes to bed to-night whether we shall be at war to-morrow morning. The only country that is safe is the one that is armed and in a position to defend itself. We do not want war. Another war would practically destroy the
British race. It might even destroy the whole of the white race.
This bill is directed against the supporters in this country of an Asiatic power, for that is what Russia is. The rulers of Russia are prepared to use the Asiatic hordes in order to force communism on the world. In the event of war, Communists in Australia would be a fifth column organized for sabotage, and ready to cause industrial disturbance in key industries. They would be able to stop production, and would preach their pernicious doctrines to those who were half-hearted in support of their own country. We now have a problem in Australia that we never had before in that we have here a great number of displaced persons, or new Australians, as they are called. Many of them are wonderful people. I saw Polish immigrants in Tasmania, and I believe that we cannot get too many of them. They are the men who fought with our soldiers in North Africa and Italy. Some of the displaced persons, however, are ready material for the Communists to work on. They are the soil; all that is needed is the seed, and the Communists are ready to sow the seed, and to cause as much trouble as they can. I saw Healy in Canberra the other day, and he had a gang with him-
– He was meeting a Minister of the Crown.
– Quite likely. He has cheek enough for anything, but I guarantee that he talked with many members of the Labour party, also. Since Healy came to Canberra, members of the Opposition in the Senate have become quite stiff in the back about this bill. Before then, they did not know just where they stood. They had not received their instructions. Now, they realize that Healy and his associates have tremendous influence in certain trade unions, and will have a say in whether sitting Labour members get the pre-selection for the next general election. The vital provision in this bill is that relating to the onus of proof. Members of the Opposition hold up their hands in holy horror at the very suggestion that a man may be expected to prove his innocence. They deny that they have ever had anything to do with the Communist party, but, despite their denials, I have here a photograph taken on May Day in Brisbane, which shows six of the men who led the Labour Day procession, they were Messrs. Cole, Gair, Hanlon, Brosnahan, Dawson, and Healy. I have another photograph taken in Bendigo at the beginning of the war, when Germany was in league with Russia, and Hitler and Stalin were blood brothers. It shows the then deputy leader of the Labour party in Victoria marching with well-known Communists under a banner bearing the words : “ Support Russia and Friends of the Soviet Union “. That was when Russia was actually at war with us. Although we were not fighting the Russian troops, we were practically at war with Russia. As I ?aid, I believe that the provision in the bill relating to the onus of proof is vital. Why should not Communists, who are traitors to Australia, be required to answer the charge that they are Communists and to prove their innocence, if possible? They are entitled to be heard, but they must be prepared to go into the witness-box and give sworn evidence. It has always been the policy of the Labour party to condemn people without giving them a chance to defend themselves. In 1931, a time to which honorable senators opposite refer proudly day after day, Senator Cameron was president of the Australian Labour party. While Mr. Hogan, the Premier of Victoria, was away in England, he was cast out of the Labour party without being told what he was charged with, and without being given any chance to defend himself. Several other members of the Labour party were tossed out at the same time. Some other members of the present Parliament were also concerned m that affair, besides Senator Cameron. One of them was Mr. Drakeford, who held the portfolio of Minister for Air. They ordered Mr. Tunnecliffe, the Deputy Premier of Victoria, not to re-enact the Premiers plan, and they threatened to expel any Labour member who supported it.
– That decision was reached by the representatives of every branch of the Labour party in Victoria. It was not the decision of Senator Cameron.
– He is the man who carried out the party’s decision.
– Mr. Hogan was present when the decision was made.
– He was in England when he was thrown out of the Labour- party. Only a little while ago, four sitting members of the New South Wales Parliament were cast out of the Labour party, and refused endorsement as Labour candidates. No charge was laid against them, and they were not allowed to appear before the Australian Labour party executive. Some of them will be elected to Parliament at the forthcoming State election because of the way the Labour party treated them.
– We know some one who was turned out of Bendigo.
– I transferred to a wider sphere. The rotten Labour Government made certain that the part of the Bendigo electorate which had always supported me was put into another electorate. I have here a document prepared by the Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives at that time. A member of that House, Mr. Macalister Blain, was accused by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) of using his gold pass to obtain special privileges from the Japanese while he was a prisoner of war. The charge was made in the heat of debate, and I do not believe that the honorable member for Lang was really responsible for it. I heard the gossip beforehand, and I believe that the three men responsible for the charge were the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). They were peddling the story which I believe had been given to them by “Black Jack” Galleghan. One of our own people, a member of the Parliament, was called before the Committee of Privileges, and required to prove his innocence. His accuser was not first required to prove the charge.
– Even if the facts are as stated by the honorable senator, does he believe that the procedure was just?
– In dealing with traitors, yes; but Blain was not a traitor. He had given nine years of gallant service to his country. He had been bashed by the Japanese. He was charged with having received special consideration because of his gold pass. This is the consideration he received: He was thrown into a concrete cave, only 4’ feet high, on the side of a hill. He was there for months, and would have died there had not the governor of the camp been withdrawn, and replaced by some one else.
– I told Senator Mattner that he was not in order in going into details about Mr. Blain. It is permissible to refer to that matter only in order to prove a point regarding the onus-of-proof provision in the bill.
– I went into detail in answer to interjections. I shall not offend again. Before the Privileges Committee, Mr. Blain had to prove his innocence. The man who had made the accusation was called later. I believe that the Chifley Government sent Galleghan away to Berlin so that he could not be called before the committee to give evidence and be cross-examined. That is a fact, and it is a very ugly one.
– Then Galleghan must have been a traitor.
– I do not say that he was, but, like many others, he had a touch of swelled head.
– Why does not the honorable senator give Galleghan a chance to defend himself ?
– He is welcome to do so at any time he likes. I am not convicting him. I am stating my opinion.
– The honorable senator said that he was a traitor.
– I did not say anything of the kind. I said that the information was obtained from him.
– Order ! The honorable senator must return to the bill.
– The instances to which I have referred, andI could refer to many others, prove that those who criticize the provisions in this bill relating to the onus of proof do so with their tongues in their cheeks. The man who was chairman of the Privileges Committee is a great friend of Trygve Lie, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Trygve Lie, when he was Minister for Justice in Norway, forced Trotsky to leave that country. Trotsky had to go to Mexico, where he was murdered. Trygve Lie forced him out of Norway so that he would be in a suitable position to be murdered. No wonder Trygve Lie is acceptable to Stalin. What causes me some astonishment is that any representative of Australia should associate with him. Recently he went to see Stalin, his blood-brother.
It has been said that it is terrible that these provisions relating to the onus of proof should be made applicable to Communists, although they are engaged in subversive activities and say quite openly that their intention is to prevent Australia from defending itself or coming to the assistance of the Empire in a war. One member of the Parliament in another place said that it was mob psychology that led to the crucifixion of Christ. I suggest that it would have been more appropriate if he had referred to another great historical figure - Judas Iscariot.
– A Liberal?
– No. He could be classed as one of the “ Corns the friends of Senator Ward. I consider that it was most blasphemous to compare the persons against whom, this bill is directed with the Saviour of the world.
Many people in this country have been through Laski’s London School of Economics. They went to London and swallowed the Fabian socialistic theory, expounded by Mrs. Sidney Webb, the Castles, and Lord Rothschild, who is the leader of the Labour party in the House of Lords.
– That is news to me.
– The honorable senator should read about his own people and ascertain the facts. They are the people who assisted Mrs. Sidney Webb to finance the London School of Economics, of which Professor La/=ki was in charge. They made no bones about it. Bernard Shaw said that the Fabian socialists travelled the same road as the
Russian Bolsheviks and that eventually they would achieve the same objectives. He said that socialism comes first and communism afterwards. We know what communism has meant to Russia. Not very long ago, Sir Stafford Cripps, a nephew of Mrs. Sidney Webb, and an important Fabian, wrote a book called Can Socialism Gome by Constitutional Means? In it he said -
The Government’s first step will be to call Parliament together and place before it an Emergency Powers Bill, to be passed through nil its stages on the first day. This bill will be wide enough in its terms to allow all that will be immediately necessary to be done by ministerial orders.
The Fabian technique of perverting the parliamentary system to destroy responsible government was dealt with in some detail by a former Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Hewart, in his great classic, The New Despotism. He wrote -
A mass of evidence establishes the fact that there is in existence a persistent and wellcontrived system, intending to produce, and in practice producing, a despotic power which at one a.nd the same time places government departments beyond the sovereignty of Parliament and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.
– Will the honorable senator declare the Fabian Society under this bill?
– I say that the Fabian socialists are as rotten as Stalin and his gang. They have the same objectives. I admit that some of them are well-meaning fools who have been misled; but their objective is the same as the Russian objective.
– Apparently the kind of Christianity of which Senator Ward is in favour is to take away from people everything that they have, pay them no compensation and, if they dare to protest, murder them. Douglas Reed, the famous English publicist, wrote -
I found it (the London School of Economics) to be well known to Communists in Berlin, Vienna and Prague before the second war, and some of these young mcn did not disguise from mc their .belief that it could be used by Communists who wished to pursue their political activities in England under the respectable mantle of “ economies “ and studentship.
– How many chapters are there in the book from which the honorable senator is reading?
– I have listened to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley) reading from a brief on many occasions, but I have not been rude enough to refer to the fact that apparently he could not prepare his own speeches:
– Ord er ! The honorable senator must deal with the bill.
– In 1936, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) wrote a book entitled Tha King and his Dominion Governors. In the preface to the book, he said -
Laski’s philosophy has been summed up in the following extract from Faith, Reason and Civilization: -
Christianity has failed, and the Russian ideal is taking its place as the inspiration of mankind, and as the standard of public morality.
– What is the honorable senator’s point?
– My point is that I distrust the Labour party because it has played with’ the Communists, these traitors to Australia. It has accepted their support in the past, and I do not think that it is trustworthy to-day. It had the “ Red Dean “ out here.
– We did not.
– He has visited this country. When the “ Red Dean “ held a meeting in Melbourne, members of the Labour party and a Labour member of this chamber were on the platform with him. He also gave a special address in that city under the auspices of the Jewish Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism. The following is an extract from the Melbourne Age of the 19th April :- “ Australia would be the second major target in a new world war - and you will see how those 200,000,000 Russian people can fight! “
The Dean of Canterbury fDr. Hewlett Johnson) said this last night, addressing a meeting arranged by the Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism. “ Australia would bc very vulnerable,” he declared, “and do not forget the 4n0,000,000 population of China, which is now rapidly being economically organized. “Russia has made great strides since the end of the war,” he added. “ She has been able to build a sound economy while developing a great army. It could come to war,” he said. “ But, please. God, it need not. Every Russian wants peace. What then is hindering peace talks, such as recently proposed by Mr. Churchill ? “
Dr. Johnson suggested that peace moves were being blocked deliberately.
– There is a photograph in to-day’s Sydney Daily Mirror of Dr. Johnson with Princess Margaret.
– That does not matter. What does matter is whether we arc to retain our liberty and whether the British Commonwealth of Nations is to maintain its strength. I believe that in order to protect ourselves we must pass this bill in its present form. There is no doubt that some officials of great trade unions are being paid by a foreign power to cause industrial disturbances in this country. A few days ago Mr. Bird, an official of the Seamens Union, decided that there should be a strike in the Port of Melbourne and that 26 ships should be held up, even though seamen in other ports would not support that action. The Communists act in that way because they are anti-British and anti-Australian, and mad for power. They believe that eventually they will be in a position to dictate to the people of this country.
Sir Stafford Cripps is another product of Laski’s London School of Economics. In my opinion he is one of the rottenest leaders that have ever been foisted on the British public. He is the man who said three or four months ago that it was impossible to de-ration petrol, because to do so would destroy the British economy, but he did not have the decency, when he finally decided to de-ration petrol, because he thought that there might be a general election in the United Kingdom-
– How does the honorable senator know that?
– On the 21st April Senator Courtice said that the most dastardly thing that Australia had ever done was to abolish petrol rationing.
– I say that to-day also.
– Only a few days ago, Sir Stafford Cripps derationed petrol in Great Britain, but did not have the decency to inform the New Zealand Government beforehand that he was about to do so.
– What has this reference to Sir Stafford Cripps to do with the bill?
– In my opinion, Sir Stafford Cripps is either a Communist or a “ fellow-traveller “.
– I rise to order. Senator George Rankin’s statement that Sir Stafford Cripps is either a Communist or a “ fellow traveller “ is offensive to me. I ask that that statement be withdrawn.
– I have stated my opinion.
– As I have already pointed out this afternoon, we must be very careful not to sink to such a low level of debate that we cannot express our opinions of certain people as we should like to do. An honorable senator might question the courtesy of another honorable senator who has expressed himself in a certain way. Senators have their opinions. In my position I cannot step in and say whether a thing is right or wrong, although if I were on the floor of the chamber I should express myself very forcibly on many matters, as in the past. I point out that the honorable senator who is addressing the chamber has stated his opinion. Honorable senators who disagree with opinions expressed by an honorable senator can, when their time comes, state their point of view. If there is a personal reflection, or if an honorable senator feels aggrieved, he can ask for the withdrawal of certain words. At the same time, if we are not careful in the manner of asking for withdrawals the debate can become very flaccid or nambypamby. Honorable senators should keep within the Standing Orders and, as gentlemen, try to be courteous. So far as honorable senators expressing themselves forcibly is concerned - and I relate my remarks to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber - it has always been open for an honorable senator to put his point of view.
– I press my point of order. Senator George Rankin said deliberately and definitely that Sir Stafford Cripps was either a Communist or a “ fellow traveller “. That statement is offensive to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I should like to speak to the point of order that has been raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley). Apparently he has a complete misconception of the position. The purpose’ of Standing Order 418 is to prevent the expression and reiteration of remarks that are personally offensive to another honorable senator. It reads, in part -
No senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any member of such House…..
If honorable senators opposite continue to claim that remarks are offensive to them and continue to raise points of order, debate will be frustrated, because we intend to cite facts that will hurt them. As Sir Stafford Cripps is not a member of the Senate, the point of order raised has no foundation.
– I submit that the standing order is not specific and that the term “ communism “ is used altogether too freely by honorable senators opposite. We on this side of the chamber could quite easily refer to honorable senators opposite as fascists. Senator George Rankin’s statement definitely reflected on a man who, in my opinion, is equal to Mr. Winston Churchill. The war efforts of both gentlemen were commendable. Furthermore, during World War II., many members of both Houses of the Parliament actively co-operated with the “‘Corns” to defeat Hitler. Apparently, because I, as a loya] Australian, did so, I could be classed as a Communist. I object. I acted in the interests of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Sir Stafford Cripps is an honorable member of the Labour party in Great Britain and should not be termed a Communist any more than Senator George Rankin should be termed a fascist. Members of the Opposition object to the honorable senator’s statement, and we support our leader’s request that the remark should be withdrawn.
– Several days ago, I referred to the frequent use of the words “ communism “ and “ fascism “ by honorable senators, and I pointed out that it was quite possible for me - certainly 1 could do it - to prove that there is a relationship between them. I have pointed out before that Lt behoves honorable senators to try to be gentlemanly towards one another. I have also made it clear that those words could he very objectionable. We are living in strenuous times. There is intense feeling abroad and we, as leaders of the Australian nation, should do all in our power to minimize mat feeling because it cannot lead to any good. In a chamber of this description members should try, to the best of their ability, to refrain from using such words. However, great care should be exercised to see that the raising of points of order does not nullify the debate completely. I point out to Senator George Rankin that members of the Australian Labour party resent these accusations. Although, as President, 1 do not want to enter into any partisan debate, I know that the members of the party to which I belong resent such accusations. They have expressed to mc resentment at the utterances of honorable senators on my right. Although there is nothing in the Standing Orders to stop me or any other member of the Senate from stating that Sir Stafford Cripps or Mr. Attlee is a fascist or a Communist, to do so would not assist to maintain the debate on a high level. The Leader of the Opposition is in order in stating that the remark was personally offensive to him, and to ask, in view of all the circumstances, and the political atmosphere at the present time, for its withdrawal. I ask Senator George Rankin to withdraw the words that he used in reference to a gentleman who is an esteemed member of the British Parliament.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr. President, I withdraw the remark; but I suggest that honorable senators opposite should consider the history of this individual. Quite recently a man who had been definitely named in the Communist inquiry in Canada, Dr. Fuchs, was apparently protected by some individual occupying a high position in the British Government.
– So was Mr. Justice Lowe.
– Order !
– Apparently some honorable senators opposite have very sore shoulders. It is essential that this measure should be passed. In answer to Senator Ryan’s inquiry about what Liberal governments have done in the past in connexion with Communists, I point out that a Liberal-Country party government banned the Communist party.
– That is all that it did do.
– That Government gaoled two men who were proved to be guilty of subversive actions. However, the day that the Labour party was elected to office it released them and, in effect, patted them on the back. It is a wonder that they were not paid compensation. That Government turned the wolf in amongst the flock of sheep. The present Government intends to ban the Communist party, even if it should become necessary to have our mandate from the people confirmed. I should be prepared to go to the country to morrow, if I could, because I believe that the people who gave the Government a mandate last December would do so again, in order to enable it to wipe out this foul and traitorous organization. I am convinced that the majority we received on the 10th December would be increased almost beyond belief if we appealed to the people on this- particular question. I believe that, in their hearts, the Communists know that that is so. I hope that the Government will go on-
– Be careful or we will take the honorable senator to the people.
– I hope that the Government will not capitulate on the question of onus of proof, because if declared people are not put into the witness-box to give evidence, and are not compelled to expose themselves in cross-examination, it will be very hard to prove that they areguilty.
– That is why the Opposition contends that they should be placed in the witness-box and tried by a jury.
– Many honorable senators know that in a security service there are all types of people, men who work “ underground “ in the unions and in the big capitalist and industrial organizations, in order to find out what is going on. If they are forced to give evidence, of what further use will they be? I could cite the case of two security men who, in World War I., were in Arabia. Another man was getting all the kudos. I said to them one day, “ I cannot understand why you sit back and allow this fellow to get all the limelight, when he is not doing the work “. Colonel Newcombe said to me, “ The day that we get the kudos that this individual is getting now we will be of no further use.
If afterwards we were sent anywhere in the world we would have a dozen good men watching us. They would know everybody that we spoke to, every house that we went into, and every conversation that we had. The day that we get the kudos that Lawrence is getting now, our use to the British Government will be finished “. That is exactly the position in this country.
– That was in war-time.
– That is so, but traitors flourish in peace as well as in war-time. Men in the security service should not be forced to give evidence. The Communists .are not entitled to force members of the security service out into the open so that they can ascertain their identity and assassinate them if they see fit. Even if they did not assassinate them the Communists would at least keep them under surveillance in order to prevent them from obtaining the information of subversive activities that is so essential if the security service is to carry out its duties. I hope that the Government will go on with the bill. I should like it to introduce an amendment to ensure that those individuals who have been brought to this country and are so dangerous to our liberty shall be returned to the countries which they left for the good of those countries. Those who were born here and have been guilty of similar crimes I would put “ inside “, and let them look out. I make no bones about saying that. I reiterate my hope that the Government will go on with the bill, and that it will not be deterred by any opposition inside or outside the Parliament. I certainly hope that it will not be swayed by the impertinence of Healy, who came to Canberra and attempted to dictate to the Government. I hope that it will not be deterred by strikes or threats of industrial disturbances but will have the courage to carry on the government of the country to the letter of this bill.
– Unlike Senator George Rankin, who has just resumed his seat, I have no sensational disclosures to make to the Senate. I have no knowledge of large quantities of gold coming into the country or of secret agents visiting Australia. Neither am I in possession of any secret documents. I am not in the confidence of members of the military intelligence section or of the security service, and even if I were, my good sense, loyalty and decency would, I trust, impel me to keep my mouth closed. Unlike Senator George Rankin, I view this matter from the standpoint of reasoned calm, and with considerable care. The issue that confronts us is not between traitors and patriots. Like many other members of the Opposition in both chambers, and members of the Parliament generally, I take pride in my zeal to protect the interests of the country. We are just as loyal and earnest to protect our liberties as are supporters of the Government. The distorted and illogical statements and untruths that have been made by some supporters of the Government can do no service to the peace of the world. Any one can make wild provocative statements in the Parliament, such as the criticisms made of Sir Stafford Cripps, the man who has put the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth on the road to economic recovery. I digress to remind honorable senators that Sir Stafford Cripps was sent to Russia by Mr. Churchill to interview Stalin in order to find out how we could best combine to defeat Germany. If there is one man who is viewed with, admiration and envy by the English-speaking world it is Sir Stafford Cripps.
– He was also sent to India to restore order there.
– He was able to confer with Gandhi, and because of his cold, clear intellect and integrity he was able to bring peace into that part of the world. Sir Stafford Cripps is also in his own right one of the foremost jurists of the world-
– I rise to order. The ruling which you, Mr. President, delivered a little while ago, in which you prevented ii supporter of the Government from criticizing Sir Stafford Cripps, implies, as a matter of fairness, that no member of the Opposition should be entitled to make an elaborate reference to the right honorable gentleman, more so since we are precluded by the rules of debate from replying to it.
– Senator Wright has drawn attention to the fact that I prevented Senator George Rankin from speaking at length concerning Sir Stafford Cripps. I allow a certain amount of latitude to all members of the Senate who take part in debate, because it would be impracticable to confine them to the straight and narrow path of strict relevance. I hope that Senator Murray will shortly get on lo the bill itself. I certainly would have prevented him from continuing to make any extended reference to Sir Stafford Cripps.
– I appreciate your tolerant reasoning, sir. I was drawing the attention of the Senate to the fact that Sir Stafford Cripps had been accused of being a Communist sympathizer or a “ fellow traveller “, and I point out that the bill under consideration deals with communism. I want to know whether, if the bill is passed, any Australian of similar capacity and courage to Sir Stafford Cripps, will be liable to be “ declared? “ As we all know, Mr. Trygve Lie has recently travelled from one country to another, and has visited Moscow. Is it suggested that he lias done so in order to espouse the cause of communism ; or have his journeys been undertaken in the interests of world peace? I remind honorable senators that that magnificent structure, the United Nations, was erected to further the cause of world peace. If Mr. Trygve Lie were an Australian, would he be liable to be “ declared “ under the bill because he has visited Russia and conferred with Stalin? I mention those considerations because it is our duty to view these matters calmly and dispationately. We need cool heads in this “ cold war “.. We do not want “ trigger-happy “ generals, whose only answer to the problems that beset us is to shoot those whom they oppose. Their instinctive reaction to this measure is to seek to “ declare “ everybody. They would declare members of the Fabian Society or of any group with whose politics or views they do not agree. The broad, sweeping statements of denunciation made by the honorable senator proved clearly that he is quite ready to “ declare “ anybody and everybody. Such wild illogical statements will not overcome any social difficulty. If we want to stamp out communism, we do not need to shoot people or to establish concentration camps. The remarks of Senator George Rankin reminded me of the views expressed in the course of a recent conversation by a friend of mine, of high military rank, who should have known better. Referring to a strike that had occurred, I asked him how he would deal with the strikers. He promptly replied, “ I would shoot them “. I said, “ If the seamen were also to strike, what would you do with them?” He replied: “I would shoot them too “. I then said to him: “A strike of shearers has recently occurred. What would you do with them ‘( “ He said : “ I would shoot them too “. I pointed out to him, of course, that by the time the shooting had finished we would have no miners, no wharf labourers, no seamen, no shearers, and, quite possibly, no workers at all, and that ultimately the only people left would be himself and a few individuals of his way of thinking. The attitude of my friend is typical of the attitude of many people at present. As I have already said, we must exercise a little self-control and common sense so that we may approach consideration of this matter objectively.
As an illustration of the type of hysterical propaganda that is circulated at a time like the present, I propose to refer to the photographic evidence mentioned by Senator George Rankin, in order to show how easy it is to produce misleading evidence. The so-called evidence was a photograph of the May Day procession that was recently held in Brisbane, and I know of my own knowledge that that procession was led by Mr. Hanlon and Mr. McGirr. The procession was organized by the Brisbane Trades Hall for quite an orderly, peaceful purpose. However, the Communists, who possess the same kind of opportunism as that which characterizes the Liberal party and the Australian Country party, decided to exploit the occasion for propagandist purposes. Two well-known Communists, one of whom was Healy, planted themselves at the head of the procession, knowing that the photographs taken of the procession would be used as evidence to suggest that Labour was associated with the Communists. As a matter of fact, you, Mr. President, also took part in that procession, and I should not like to think that our worthy President, whom we all admire, would be liable to be “ declared “ under this bill.
Another example of the need to exercise care in these matters was supplied by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) when he produced a list of well-known trade union officials whom he alleged were Communists. Subsequently, the list proved to be wrong, and the Prime Minister had to retract it. “With such an example before us of the kind of mistakes that may be made, it is not to be wondered at that we ask the Government either to accept the amendments that we intend to move to the bill, or to discard the bill altogether.
My study and analysis of this bill convince me that it is one of the most important and vital measures that have ever been introduced in an Australian parliament. It has been the subject of interest in factory, field, shop and home, and has been discussed by people of all social classes. Many people are undoubtedly concerned at the possible consequences of the impact of the bill on our existing social structure. People both rich and poor have expressed to me their opinions of the measure, and it appears to me that they aTe not primarly concerned with the methods that are to be adopted to deal with the Communists but are more concerned with the results of such action. If, in order to deal with the Communists, we are to be called upon to sacrifice our heritage under English law, then the consequences cannot be to our lasting benefit hut must redound to our shame and disgrace in the eyes of all free people. All action, whether it be physical, political, social or industrial, springs from policy, and all policy is backed by a philosophy. In the world to-day there are two main philosophies, the Christian philosophy and the totalitarian philosophy. The Christian philosophy on which the British way of life and the rule of law are based recognizes the importance of the individual. The totalitarianism philosophy, which seeks to destroy our heritage, recognizes only that abstraction which we call “ the State “. and all the attacks on the British way of life spring from that attitude towards the Christian philosophy. As member11 of the National Parliament we are entitled to present to the Parliament our views and to declare what we believe to be right. Honorable senators opposite must realize that honorable members of the Opposition in this chamber and in the House of Representatives have given ample proof of their loyalty and of their desire to do everything possible to protect this country, not only from its enemies without but also from its enemies within. I repeat that members of the Labour movement are every bit as loyal as art honorable senators opposite. Why then, should honorable senators opposite disparage and doubt our sincerity when we emphasize our belief that the principles of this measure are wrong, undemocratic and unjust? I want to see the end of communism, which is a disruptive and treacherous power in the community, but I do not want to substitute for communism the intolerance and the terrors of fascism.
I invite the attention of the Senate now to a very fine leader which appeared in the Melbourne Argus on Friday, the 19th May. I am not going to read the whole of that article, but it expresses very clearly my own point of view and that of thousands of people in this country. That article states -
The whole burden of public protest against this bill is that people or organizations may be irreparably hurt before trial. A man whose home is entered is likely to become as antisocial as this bill presumes him to be.
Apparently this bill is already presumed to be anti-social. The editorial continues -
A man who is falsely smeared as a Communist suffers damage which may well ruin him financially and pursue him all his life even if he succeeds, with one hand tied legally behind his back, in defending himself against his traducers. The non-Communist or antiCommunist member of an organization which (contains Communists may be pilloried for the deeds - or words - of others.
That article puts my views concisely and clearly. I feel very strongly on the matter. I feel very strongly about the rule of law, and about the preservation of our democratic rights, our freedom of speech, and our freedom of thought, movement and employment. This bill as at present drafted does not provide for the payment of compensation to any one who is wrongly declared and subsequently proves himself innocent of the charges that have been made against him. In defending himself against charges, a declared person may dissipate his life’s savings and thus jeopardize the future of his entire family. Even if he succeeds in proving his innocence, what claim will he have for compensation? There is no provision for compensation under this measure. That, I consider, is one of the most iniquitous features of the bill. The measure provides for thought control. Are we to have in this country thought control of the type instituted in Germany ‘by Hitler? I have some knowledge of thought control in Japan. The Kempe-Tai, or secret police, can incarcerate people without a trial on a charge of harbouring what are described as dangerous thoughts.
– There is no penalty for thinking in this bill.
– If a citizen of this country thinks on the lines of the philosophy propounded by Marx and Engels, he is “ gone “. This bill is a loaded gun that will be held against the individual and against the trade unions. It certainly will be held against the
Labour party and all who oppose regimentation. I oppose the bill in its present form because it makes no provision for the trial by jury of any accused person. Australia is a member of the United Nations yet this measure is contrary to the universal declaration of human rights which states -
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
Nothing could be clearer than that. This bill is against the rule of law. That was shown over and over again by Senator McKenna. There is no protection for the individual. I can give a concrete example of what can happen in our courts even without the operation of this measure. Even now, miscarriages of justice are not unknown. At Queenstown in Tasmania recently a man was charged with being in unlawful possession of a £5 note reasonably suspected of having been stolen. In such cases, the accused person is required to satisfy the court that he came by the money legally. Due no doubt to the stress of mind occasioned by the predicament in which he found himself, this man gave the police varying accounts of the manner in which the £5 note had come into his possession. The court, in accordance with the law, held that the accused had failed to give a satisfactory explanation of his possession of the note, found him guilty, and sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment. After he had been taken to the cells, the person from whom it was alleged that the money had been stolen reported that he had found his wallet where he himself had mislaid it, and that it still contained the £5. The magistrate had wrongly assumed the accused man to be guilty without having positive proof of his guilt. That is an example of what could happen on a much larger scale if this dragnet measure be passed. The bill is typical of the means that have been adopted by dictators to establish arbitrary governments. Democracy cannot exist for another day once the principles of law and justice have been infringed.
Let us suppose that this measure is passed in its present form. What will happen when an individual has been declared ? Is he J;o he deprived of the right to work and provide for his wife and family? Even if he is acquitted of the charge that is made against him, what will happen to his social life? He may belong to social bodies such as a golf club. There is a disposition amongst many people to believe that just because a man has been charged with a certain offence, whether he is acquitted or not, there must have been something in the charge. That is a human failing. We all know of cases in which politicians, although acquitted by royal commissions or courts of charges that have been made against them, have been ruined politically. The mere fact that a man has been acquitted is not sufficient to dispel the belief in the minds of some people that the charges against him must have had some foundation. That is one aspect of this measure that worries me considerably. It should worry every one who has common decency and justice in his mind.
Senator McKenna stressed the necessity to protect the individual. That is essential if our present social order is to continue. Without that protection, all of us would have a feeling of fear, and would be constantly looking over our shoulders. What state would society reach in those circumstances? Senator McCallum said that a declaration would be made as the result of a Cabinet decision. What is his authority for that statement? I can see nothing in the bill to support it. Is it mere assumption on his part? If not, the Government should withdraw the hill and make specific provision in it for all proposed declarations to be considered by Cabinet. The honorable senator quoted a United Kingdom newspaper The Spectator, as having described this bill as a great social and political experiment. Undoubtedly it is> a great social and political experiment, but it is fraught with many difficulties and dangers. I draw the attention of the Senate to a leading article that was published recently in On Service, a journal that is devoted to the interests of ex-servicemen. It shows what ex-servicemen think about this measure. The opinions expressed are those of men who, without fuss or flag waving, did their humble share in their country’s hour of peril. The leader states -
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in the enthusiasm which lie shares with all decentminded Australians to wipe out the Red menace in our midst, has gone too far with three items in his Communist Party Dissolution Bill and taken an unintended step towards the type of Police State we fought a few years ago.
We do not believe the people, when they swept this party into power, gave him a mandate to set aside the basic principle of British justice that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty, to permit officials to smash their way into our homes and ransack our belongings merely on their own say-so, and to deprive us of redress for such Gestapo behaviour.
That is not a quotation from a daily newspaper. As I have said, it is from a journal that is devoted to the interests of ex-servicemen, who have already demonstrated their great interest in the future of this country. The article continues : -
We do want to see the end of Communism as a disruptive and traitorous power in this country, but do we want to substitute for that some of the worst aspects of Fascism and Nazism V
Take care of your democracy, Diggers, lest in your anxiety to pull back from the extreme Left, you topple over backwards into the justasobjectionable extreme Right. This League believes in political and social moderation, not the substitution of one extreme for the other. Germany’s Nazism gained its absolute power from a Red scare. History has a habit of repeating itself.
There is a “ red “ scare on now. We are being bludgeoned and frightened into passing legislation that we consider to be not in the best interests of this country. The journal from which I have quoted is non-political and non-sectarian. It is authoritative, and I commend it most heartily to the Senate.
Senator McCallum made some extraordinary statements and it is interesting sometimes to learn something of the background of people who make such statements. Senator McCallum was, I understand at the time, an Australian Broadcasting Commission commentator on foreign affairs. People often become the subjects of their environment. For instance, a man who is a member of the yachting fraternity is apt to consider any problem that confronts him in yachting terms. Similarly, a member of the legal fraternity will apply legal reasoning to his problems, and a man who is associated with military affairs is inclined to think in terms of past, present and future wars. In my opinion Senator McCallum’s remarks were coloured by his association with other commentators who broadcast interesting tit-bits on international affairs in the guise of news. He said that the essential part of the bill was designed to thwart the enemies of Australia within and without. If that is so, why is the bill not drafted accordingly? Why does the Government not accept the amendments that have been foreshadowed by the Opposition. There need not be any argument about the matter at all. If the bill is not aimed at individuals or at the trade unions all the Government need do is withdraw it, redraft it to remove its imperfections, and then let us have another look at it. Howwill this bill operate? Who will be responsible for putting it into operation ? Apparently, if this baby gets through it will be dumped in the lap of the security service. Does not any one in the Government realize the physical difficulties? I do not know a. great deal about security or intelligence services, but I have some background and have been taught to make intelligent deductions. Sometimes they work out more accurately than the revelations presented to this Senate. If this bill is to be dumped in the lap of a government department, a group of experienced, tolerant men, with a wide knowledge of all types of persons will be essential. They must be psychologists with an extensive knowledge of human nature and must know every phase of society, including the underworld. The best crime investigator is not a flat-footed public servant, but a trained man who can analyse and think before he takes certain steps.
When the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made an important announcement on this bill in another place, he was shown to be wrong in five separate instances. If that can happen with an important announcement in such circumstances, I ask honorable senators to consider what will happen at the lower level when some ordinary person is alleged to have made a statement, perhaps at a union meeting. How will it operate? Not one person can tell the members of this chamber. A highly skilled specialist service will be required, and men for such jobs do not grow on trees. I would like to know why Mr. Justice Reed resigned and went back to his job as Supreme Court judge in South Australia. Was it because he, as a legal man, saw the loopholes in this bill, raised objections to it and resigned in common decency because he did not want this thing forced on him? Such happenings do not occur by coincidence, and it appears to me that Mr. Justice Heed, seeing the impossibility of implementing this legislation in its present form, quietly resigned and went back to the Supreme Court bench in South Australia. I have a high opinion of the judiciary, the security service and military intelligence. It is necessary to have confidence in those who have to do the work, but the physical difficulties will be tremendous.
Where does the Government intend to put the persons who are declared? Are they to be put into gaols or concentration camps? It was bad enough during the war when barbed wire enclosures were needed to hold enemy aliens. Senator McCallum has a predilection for writing to the newspapers. In a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald the honorable senator concluded with this statement -
T agree that an electoral mandate does not justify persecution of minorities. This bill does not propose to persecute a minority, lt merely deprives a. group, whose avowed object is to destroy us, of two possible bases from which they can now attack us - the Commonwealth Public Service and trade union office.
Is the honorable senator so naive that he believes he can convince honorable senators on this side of the chamber that those are the only two sources of communism in this country? I suggest that the honorable senator look at the legal profession and those who were associated with the loyal commission on communism in Victoria. Let bini look at the medical profession and the teaching profession. In spite of what might be found in all the professions, the honorable senator has named only two bases for Communists - the Commonwealth Public Service, on which he made an unwarranted attack, and the trade unions. Does the honorable senator think that Communists are only to be found in the trade unions and in the Public Service?
I have studied this bill closely. I have listened with interest to speeches from both sides in the Senate and in another place. The provision regarding onus of proof appears to me to be peculiar. If honorable senators disregard the cold war and the imminence of war, Australia is at peace. Are free Australians to be put in an inferior position to the war criminals of Germany, the Himmlers, Goerings and Streichers who were tried by properly constituted courts, had the advantage of counsel and were able to hear and adduce evidence in hearings that lasted for weeks? Some were acquitted, others were hanged, and some were imprisoned. Are free Australians to be placed in a position inferior to the war criminals who were tried in Tokyo, where I saw Sir William Webb on the bench with Australian, Indian, Dutch and American judges? Sworn evidence had to be given before them and photographs had to be properly identified. Witnesses were brought from far afield. All that was done at the expense of the Australian and allied countries. But under this bill a person who is declared must prove that he is not a Communist.
At the war trials it was the duty of the allied countries to produce evidence and prove that the men who were charged actually perpetrated the crimes they were alleged to have committed. Are free Australians to be refused the privileges and the justice that was given to men who were involved in the horrors and cruelties of war? Does this Government propose to deny the people of this country what it gave to Goering and Tojo? I saw Tojo and Diohara on trial. Counsel were provided for them by the allied nations and witnesses were brought from the four corners of the earth. Only sworn evidence was accepted and the charges had 1o be proved.
In war-time every soldier was entitled to a fair trial if he was accused of a misdemeanour. I am talking now about the hot war when the bullets were flying and not of the cold war. If a common soldier was charged with a misdemeanour in the field, he had a fair and just trial and the right of appeal. As a company commander I had only limited powers. The soldier had the right to ask for a court- martial or he could be dealt with by the commanding officer. But there is no choice under this bill. A person who is declared must prove that he is not guilty. At a court-martial, where there waa a chairman and at least three other officers, the accused had the assistance of a legal staff officer and another officer who was called the soldier’s friend. He would get a fair trial, but under this bill it is only necessary for somebody, perhaps a malicious individual, to produce evidence of any sort. In the field, a decision reached by a courtmartial had to be analysed and confirmed by the formation commander before it was promulgated. That was on the field of battle. If that could be done in those days of stress, surely it can be done now in peace.
I contend that this bill is one of the most extraordinary examples of political draftsmanship that has ever come before this chamber. Already the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place, Dr. Evatt, has proposed eleven amendments covering five pages. The Prime Minister has given notice of seventeen amendments covering four and a half pages. Mr. Kent Hughes provided one amendment in another place to restrict the operations of the bill to the 30th June, 1951, and no longer, and the honorable member is not a member of the Labour party. He realizes how dangerous this bill is. Included in the Prime Minister’s seventeen amendments were new thoughts covering one and a half pages that had occurred to him after the bill had been presented and drafted. What answer can the Government give to the charge that this bill is a politically inspired example of hasty and illogical parliamentary drafting, seeking to use the methods of ‘ communism itself to meet a situation which was being met most successfully by the Labour Government by the democratic rule of law ? Labour party men went into the coal-fields and the mines to fight communism where it existed during the coal strike. In my own small way I have done that in other spheres. The Communists can be beaten even though they had a great start.
– Honorable senators on the other side gave them a good start.
– I believe that they did. I contend that this bill as drafted is unjust, dictatorial, repressive, and politically inspired. It was brought out a week before the State election in Tasmania and was hastily rushed into the Parliament. It came out before the Victorian elections also because it was thought to be an election winner, but in both cases it was a damp squib. Would not any competent lawyer or Attorney-General feel disgusted and disappointed if he were to produce this abortion of a thing that has been amended so many times? It is a terrible example of drafting and it is difficult to believe that it came from the brain and hand of one who has won the highest awards. Did he not see it ? Look at the mess it is in. I should like some information on another point, and I hope that Senator Wright will be able to supply it. When persons are declared, how are they to be treated ? Will they be treated as political prisoners, or as internees, or as ordinary criminals? Will the Government attempt to behave in time of peace as governments behave in time of war? If the country were at war, declared persons could be handed over to the military authorities to be interned in concentration camps. We have no concentration camps now, and the gaols are full. It is very difficult to get materials to build homes, let alone more gaols. As a matter of fact, no new gaols have been erected in Australia during the last three years.
Mistakes have been made in preparing the list of persons named by the Prime Minister as Communists, but I am not going to blame the security service for that. Any one can err. The Labour party, when in office, made mistakes, and this Government has made mistakes also, but it is trying to bluff its way through. However, I am prepared to be generous. We have shown what is wrong with the bill, and we now invite the Government to withdraw it, and redraft it in a more acceptable form. Then we shall join with the Government in putting the bill through the Parliament.
The Communist party has not been banned in the United States of America, although there have been heresy hunts there. Many suspects were called before the committee on un-American activities. They even questioned Charlie Chaplin, Gary Grant, and others, until the whole proceedings became a joke. The only two countries likely to fight each other are the United States of America and Russia. They, alone, have the men and materials to prosecute a war; yet no legislation similar to this bill has been introduced in the United States of America. In Canada, Communists were found to be occupying high places in the State, but the Prime Minister, Mr. St. Laurent, a man of deep religious convictions, has declared that it is impossible to kill thought without killing the thinker. When the Berlin air-lift was in progress, and the situation was so tense that any triggerhappy soldier might have fired a shot that would have started another war, the Government of Great Britain did not panic and introduce legislation like this, although Britain is separated from the continent of Europe by only a few miles of water. The leaders of Britain kept cool heads, and sent to Berlin men of ability and sound judgment to deal with the situation, men like General Robertson, who were able to maintain the dignity and the prestige of Britain, as well as to co-operate with the Russians, I am not advocating half measures in dealing with any threat to national security. I am prepared to fight to the last ditch, but it is always possible to make an approach in an effort to overcome a difficulty. Unless we are prepared to do that, we are “ sunk “.
In Europe, the border of Turkey marches with that of Russia, and Turkey has been subjected to great pressure from Russia, the greatest military power in the world to-day. Those who have met the Turks have no doubt of their courage and fighting ability. They are great fighting men, but they have not taken leave of their senses because they live next door to the Russians. They set to work to stamp out the conditions upon which communism thrives. They have established an economy that is better than the Communist economy in Russia. They have put an end to hunger and poverty in Asia Minor. They have established a strong, resolute nation, and as the Turkish President has said, they can look the Russians in the eyes, and hold their heads up.
– And the honorable senator thinks that they are quite safe?
– Yes, they have confidence in themselves.
– The Turks stand in deadly fear of Russia.
– Perhaps, but that applies to other nations, also. At any rate, the Turks have maintained their independence. Mention has been made of the use of troops in obtaining coal during the coal strike. The Army certainly got the coal, but it was done without bloodshed or violence, because they acted on the direction of a Labour government. I shudder to think what would happen if the Army were used by this Government in an industrial dispute. The public had confidence in the Labour Government, and even the miners came to realize that we were acting in the best interests of the country, so they went back to work.
In all ages, it has been proved that causes triumph underpersecution. I shall not cite Christianity as an example, but 1 draw attention to what has happened to the Jews. In one country after another, for centuries past, the Jews have been persecuted, but they have not been destroyed, and to-day they have succeeded in establishing their own nation in Palestine. Despite all the pogroms against the Jewish race, the Jews have survived, and they are now firmly entrenched in their own homeland.
– There is no analogy between the Jews and the Communists.
– There is.
– The Jews are a race. Communism is a philosophy.
– The present Government parties, when they were in Opposition in this Senate, put up a good fight against legislation initiated by the Labour Government, even though their numbers were small. Much of that legislation they attacked on the ground that the Government was seeking to obtain too much power. The present Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) quoted the maxim, “All power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely “. Through this legislation, the present Government proposes to take to itself more power than was wielded by any previous government. The bill will give power to enter and search, to imprison without trial, and to dismiss persons from employment in the public service. I shall close by quoting a few lines of verse. I do not know who wrote it, but it applies to members of all political parties, and particularly to the present Government parties. It is as follows : -
Ring out the slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife.
Ring in the nobler modes of life
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Honorable senators opposite are supporting a dying cause, the cause of capitalism. Capitalism, like fascism, is dying to-day. The Government is asking the Parliament to pass an impure law. The Government should take the bill away and cleanse it, and then present it once more to the Parliament in a form that will be more in keeping with the dignity and wellbeing of freedom-loving Australians.
Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m.
Debate interrupted under Sessional Order.
Debate resumed from the 25th May (vide page 3175), on motion by Senator Tate-
That the Seventh Report from the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, presented to the Senate on the 26th October, 1949,be adopted.
– I have had an opportunity toperuse the report, and I have found it to be of very real interest. I note that since 1947 the committee has considered 379 statutory rules, 101 ordinances and 33 regulations made under ordinances. That is an indication of the great power of the Executive under our present parliamentary system. It is also an indication that the sphere of activity of the National Parliament has increased enormously and that there is a great deal of legislation by regulation, ordinance and proclamation. That is a power that can easily be abused, but it is subject to the check that regulations and ordinances must be laid upon the table of each House of the Parliament and that either House of the Parliament may, within certain limits, disallow them.
In the second paragraph of the report, reference is made to the assistance given to the committee by Mr. J. A. Spicer, K.C., as he then was. The honorable gentleman is now Attorney-General of the Commonwealth. The committee was fortunate in having him to advise it. He has, not only legal knowledge, but also an extensive parliamentary experience at different levels. The tribute paid to him in the report is well deserved. The committee has directed attention to the fact that certain regulations lapsed because they were not laid upon the table of each House of the Parliament within the time prescribed by the statutes. I observe that the Solicitor-General agreed that his department should assume responsibility for tabling regulations after the 31st May, 1947. It is interesting to note that since that date all regulations have been tabled within the prescribed period. That is a very satisfactory state of affairs, because it will enable the Parliament to consider regulations and ordinances at the earliest possible date. In the sixth paragraph of the report, the committee has set out the principles that it has applied and the objectives that it has pursued since 1933. I do not propose to read them at this stage, but they will be of great interest to any honorable senator who cares to read them.
The major portion of the report is devoted to ordinances and regulations made under ordinances of territories of the Commonwealth, particularly Papua, New Guinea and Norfolk Island.- The differences in practice have been noted by the committee, and attention has been directed to divergencies that undoubtedly make for confusion. In paragraph 24 of the report, the committee lists the variations and makes certain recommendations. The Opposition commends the recommendations to the Government. I am sure that they will receive early and favorable consideration. In the penultimate paragraph of the report, the committee has directed attention to the fact that in some instances an act passed by the Parliament has provided that regulations may be made which could have the effect of altering the act itself. That is not a good principle, and it has been resorted to but rarely. I recall that it was resorted to in connexion with the post-war reconstruction legislation. At that time, hundreds of thousands of exservice men and women were leaving the armed forces and being absorbed in civil occupations. Extensive machinery was being established to assist their rehabilitation and to provide for loans and other forms of assistance to them. It was realized that, in those circumstances, emergencies might arise that called for quick decisions. Although the Labour party, in the instance to which I have referred, did resort to this practice, I concur with the following statement of the committee: -
The committee feels that in cases where regulation-making: power is conferred by an act to amend or override that act. such power should not be availed of except in cases of extreme urgency.
I consider that the committee has presented a valuable report to this Parliament. The committee has served a very useful purpose through the years. On behalf of the Opposition, I congratulate the chairman and members of the committee.
– On behalf of the Government, I congratulate members of the committee upon an excellent report. I endorse the tribute of the committee to the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer). When the present Government parties were in opposition, it was my privilege to serve upon this committee, and I learned then the great value of the comments that were forwarded to the committee from time to time by the honorable senator who is now AttorneyGeneral. The Parliament is indebted to the committee for its work, which i9 very interesting hut onerous.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed (vide page 3556).
– I have listened with great interest to the remarks that have been made in the ebb and flow of this debate. Many competent observers and students of political affairs bold that this bill is one of the most important measures that has been presented to the Parliament since federation. I was struck by a very important admission made by Senator Cameron. He said that the Labour movement consisted of a majority section, composed of the ordinary Labour party supporters, and a minority section, which embraced the Communist party. The importance of that statement lies in the fact that Senator Cameron admitted that the link exists. He understated the case when he said that the Communists, fellow travellers of the Communist party and extremists of that kind generally represented a minority of the Labour movement.
– Who said that?
– I rise to order. The position is being grossly misrepresented by Senator Maher.
– Order! That is not a point of order.
– It is certain that there are two camps in the Labour party. There are those who belong to the moderate section of the party, and those who belong to the extreme section of it. That is the cause of the real struggle that is occurring, internally, in the Labour movement to-day.
– Has the honorable senator personal experience of that?
– I am an observer of events. The struggle within the Labour party takes place at both State and Federal conferences. As I see it, the extreme element always dominates those conferences. Whatever may be the relative strength of the extreme elements and moderate elements of the Labour party in the parliaments of this country, the fact remains that at party conferences, where policy i3 determined, it appears that the extreme left-wing element determines those policies. The members of the Labour party in the parliaments of this country, no matter how moderate they may be personally, are bound by the decisions of the conferences at which the struggle to which I have referred takes place.
– Senator Cameron did not say that at all.
– It was interesting to listen to Senator Cameron, who is an old warrior on both the political front and the industrial front, admit in this chamber to-day that the Labour movement is an overall movement that contains a majority section and a minority section.
– I rise to order. Senator Maher has stated that Senator Cameron said this afternoon that the Labour movement was composed of a majority section and a minority section. I was present when Senator Cameron delivered his speech on this bill. He did not say that.
– Order ! That is not a point of order. If an honorable senator considers that he has been misrepresented by another honorable senator, he may, when the speaker by whom he considers that he has been misrepresented has resumed his seat, rise in his place and correct the matter in respect of which he has been misrepresented.
– I listened very carefully to the speech delivered by Senator Cameron. I always do so, because his speeches are very interesting. That is what I understood.
– It is absolutely incorrect.
– I do not think that any body can dispute that there is a natural affinity between the Communist party and the Labour party.
Opposition senators interjecting,
– Order! I cannot allow these constant interruptions tocontinue. Some honorable senators appear to hold the view that Senator Maher has not stated accurately what Senator Cameron said. When Senator Maher has resumed his seat, it will be in order for Senator Cameron, if he considers that he has been misrepresented, to rise in his place and correct the matter in respect of which hehas been misrepresented. This is not a kindergarten. I ask honorable senators to allow speeches to be made without interruption, within reason. When an honorable senator has concluded his speech, the honorable senator who follows him can deal with the statements that he has made. I have a list of six or eight names. I shall give the call alternately to honorable senators on my right and on my left. This continual interruption is scarcely fair to the President. I do not know of any presiding officer who can stop all interjections, but, in all fairness, I ask that irrespective of who is speaking, whether he be on my left or on my right, honorable senators should afford him an opportunity to express himself without undue interruption.
– There is a natural affinity between the Labour party and the Communist party, which, of course-
– I rise to order. That statement is offensive to me personally, and I ask for its withdrawal.
– I think it is about time that we arrived at something definite in regard to what are offensive statements.
– It was a lying statement.
– Order ! Senator Maher is within his rights in making certain statements. Whether they are true or not, it is not for me to say, An honorable senator has a right to make certain statements which can be refuted by another honorable senator rising in his place when the member who is addressing the Senate has finished. Senator Katz, who is next on my list, can deal with the matter, if he so desires. Senator Maher has made a general statement. Under the Standing Orders it is not permissible for a member to rise in his place and say that the statement is personally offensive to him. I shall be clear and straight about the matter. If it were a personal matter it would be a different thing altogether, but I assume that when an honorable senator is making a general statement he considers that it is true. If his opponents think that it is untrue, it is within their right and power to refute it when they have an opportunity of speaking.
– I hope that the time that has been occupied by these interruptions will not count against me. I base my statement on the extraordinary degree of tolerance that was accorded to the Communist leaders in this country by the
Government led by the late Mr. Curtin, and subsequently by the Government that was led by the former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). The liaison was so close, and the understanding so good, that the Curtin Government appointed Mr. J. Healy to be a member of the Stevedoring Industry Commission. Mr. E. V. Elliot, of the Seamen’s Union, a well-known” Communist, was appointed to the Maritime Industry Commission. Mr. W. Orr, another well-known Communist, was appointed to the Coal Industry Commission, and Mr. Norman Jeffrey was appointed organizing secretary of the industrial panel in the war loans office. All those men were leading Communists. I contend that I am entitled to deduce from those appointments that there is some kind of goodwill and understanding and- absolute liaison between the governments that were led by the right honorable gentlemen whom I have named and the Communist leaders. To illustrate the point further, and to show its bearing on what Senator Cameron said this afternoon, I would like to say that before the Eighteenth Commonwealth Triennial Conference of the Australian Labour Party was held in Canberra on the 27th September, 1948, the Australian Labour party branches in Queensland, as well as the Queensland central executive of the Australian Labour party, had a far better appreciation of tie Communist menace than their federal leaders. At that conference a resolution by the Charters Towers branch of the Australian Labour party, endorsed and recommended by the Queensland Central Executive, was discharged from the agenda. The resolution read as follows: -
That the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party be asked to follow the lead given by the British socialist Government and debar from employment in the Government Services, particularly in the security, transport, postal and teaching services, all Communists.
That resolution was very definite in its meaning, and was on a par with the bill that is now before the Senate. In addition to having the backing of the members of the branch of the Australian Labour party at Charters Towers, where it originated, it had been endorsed and recommended by the governing body of the Australian Labour party in Queensland. A further resolution by the
Charters Towers and Mount Morgan branches of the Australian Labour party which was also endorsed-
The PEESIDENT . - Order ! Senator Maher is giving a general survey of resolutions carried by the Australian Labour party. How does the honorable senator relate this comment to the bill before the chamber? I have already stopped two other honorable senators from speaking about matters not appertaining to the bill. In my opinion a historical survey of what happened in the past in regard to Australian Labour party resolutions is not in consonance with the debate, although it is permissible for a passing reference to be made to such resolutions.
– I submit that my remarks are relevant because the bill seeks to declare certain people, and to remove persons from employment in the Commonwealth Public Service. It also deals with those engaged in subversive activities. I. have shown that the Labour party in Queensland, in effect, supported the principles contained in the bill now before the Senate. I shall show that the members of the Australian Labour party in this chamber are out of touch with the moderate opinion in their own party when they oppose the bill, because it has the support of their own colleagues in Queensland. It is important that that should be thoroughly realized in order that we .shall understand where we are proceeding to-day. Therefore, I feel that I am entitled to cite a further resolution of the Charters Towers and the Mount Morgan branches of the Australian Labour party, which was endorsed and recommended by the Queensland central executive. It reads -
That, on account of its subversive activities tl, 0 Communist party be declared an illegal organization.
There was no doubt in the minds of those Queensland branches of the Australian Labour party about the activities of the Communists and their adherents. This recommendation, like the previous one to which I have referred, was also rejected. A motion was adopted in the terms mentioned to the Senate by Senator McKenna. It read -
The Australian Labour party expresses itsadherence to the basic freedoms of the right of association and the right of expression which are fundamental principles associated with the
Australian democratic way of life…..
Conference stresses that freedom of expression enables the community to determine the soundness or otherwise of political philosophies and rejects such views as are inimical to the people’s interests.
The conference prated about basic freedom, rights of expression and association, for a body of people that desires to overthrow the British Empire and to destroy the free way of life in this country. The following is an extract from the programme of this alleged domestic political: party :-
Withdrawal from the British Empire and establishment of a workers and farmers republic having a Soviet form of government and a firm alliance with the TJ.S.S.K.
Yet the Opposition is prepared to protect the individuals who form the nucleus of this party that stands for such extreme action when the Government is trying to deal with them.
It will be seen that the action of the triennial conference at Canberra in folding its protective wings around the Communist party - which was the effect of its action - has left the Labour movement in Queensland shocked and staggered. The moderate Labour men stood in the recent federal election in Queensland with the Liberal and Australian Country party candidates, to espouse the spirit of Australianism rather than the spirit of Russianism that is prevalent to-day. Obviously, many Labour supporters in Queensland considered that the Communist party was a subversive body that ought to be suppressed. Last year they voted against the Federal Labour Government - the highest form of censure - because of its liaison with the Communists. No wonder members of the Federal Labour party wanted to know who threw the brick in Queensland on the 10th December last. The strongest impression that I gained after listening to the speech delivered by Senator McKenna a few evenings ago was that the honorable senator was facing both ways. He was prepared to support the ban on the Communists because, having an eye on the possibility of a double dissolution, he wanted to stand right with the majority of the Australian people who want to see that ban imposed. Doubtless he thought that that would be a good card to play. Therefore he trimmed his sails to that section of the community. On the other hand, having to speak for a divided camp, he had to play up to the extreme element in his own party, which is prepared to support the banning of the Communist party only because that has become an acute political issue. Honorable senators opposite would be afraid of their political skins if they fail to do so. If, by any chance, this bill should be defeated, the extreme element of the Labour party in this Parliament would yell with savage delight. The pulse of the Senate can literally be felt when representatives of the extreme elements of the Labour party in this chamber speak on this important subject. Senator McKenna had to express himself so as to indicate to the extreme element in his party that he was prepared to support the banning of the Communist party, conditional on the business end of the measure being either deleted or so seriously weakened by amendment that the bill would be a complete political nullity. The banning of the Communist party, whilst leaving individual Communists in executive control of our great industrial unions, and in vital posts in the Public Service would be definitely futile. The Federal Labour government has consistently refused to take action against the Communistparty leaders, even though, from time to time, those individuals have treated the Government with absolute contempt.
I recall the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley) declaring last year when there was serious trouble on the coal-field9 of New South “Wales that a state of anarchy existed. His criticism was undoubtedly directed at the Communists who were responsible for that state of affairs. What does anarchy mean? It means revolt. The Leader of the Opposition was stung to make his statement by the extremist activities of the Communist elements on the coal-fields.
On behalf of the reasonable law-abiding miners of New South Wales he had to take a stand against the Communist elements which were causing the strikes that were happening all too frequently on the coal-fields at that time. The Communists have pursued this policy of guerrilla warfare against the economic welfare of the country and the interests of their fellow workers for many years now. They have cut across the lines of production ; and it has been estimated that the economy of the country has sustained an aggregate loss of approximately £100,000,000. In other words, the Communists have done more damage to this country than the Japanese were able to inflict on us during the war. The division of feeling in the community over the Communist activities represents an internal fight. If we were threatened by an external enemy who was inflicting losses aggregating hundreds of millions of pounds upon our economy, every one would be up in arms to deal with him and to thrust him out. But this internal war has been proceeding for the last eight years unchecked and unbridled, and Labour governments, led by the late Mr. Curtin, and by the present Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Chifley), stood impotent while the attacks have proceeded. We are now paying the penalty for their impotence. If we had been more resolute in the beginning, and if the earlier Labour governments had been more courageous and had dealt effectively with the Communists, we should not be in the position that we occupy to-day. Certainly, Mr. Curtin condemned the Communists during the war in the strongest terms and even declared them to be traitors. He launched the hottest possible attacks upon them, but there always seemed to be some hidden hand which prevented him from actually striking them. That hidden hand was the political party which he led. The members of that party prevented him from taking the action which common decency demanded should be taken at that particular time. So, of course, the trouble increased, and the Communist leaders got the idea that they were the actual Executive of this country. They believed that, through their control of the trade unions, they could dominate any government. After all, big bodies of men are like children at school. If the master is firm but fair he commands the respect of the children, but if he is weak then the children do more or less as they like. In the same way a government which is weak and flabby and cowers in the face of a threat, regardless of the harm that would be inflicted on the country by acceding to extremist demands, may do permanent harm to the social fabric of our country. The irresolution displayed by the Curtin Government and later by the Chifley Administration, has brought us to the pass where the Communists have become the great menace and danger that they are to-day, and their activities have necessitated the introduction of a measure of this kind. Because of the inaction of those administrations, the Communists were able to cause unemployment, misery and distress to hundreds of thousands of people.
– Order ! I have allowed the honorable senator to trace the historical background of the circumstances which lead to the introduction of the bill, but he must now relate his remarks to the bill.
– Surely I can show that the Communist party has been pursuing policies in this country unchecked .by Labour administrations, which have made it necessary for the Government to introduce the present bill to ban it. That is the point that I desire to make.
We have had a great wave of strikes engineered by Communists, many of which were directed and planned months ahead, and we are undoubtedly entitled morally to ban the Communists. I propose now to tell the Senate exactly why the Communists should be banned. The constant strikes that have occurred in the coal, transport and other key industries havebeen directed by the Communist leaders of those unions. Those strikes have all been part of a master plan to foment continuous trouble, irrespective of the damage done to our industries. The majority of the unionists affected by those strikes are good fellows, and some of them have told me that more than half the members of their ‘Unions have been opposed to the various strikes that have occurred in recent years. However, the difficulty is that ordinary members of trade unions are a leaderless legion; they are unable to stand up to the skilled and ruthless tactics employed by their Communist leaders, and, in consequence, they have been unable to assert themselves. Members of many trade unions are in a helpless position, and unless the legislature is prepared to intervene and break the grip that the Communists have on them there is no hope for them. Members of the building trades unions and of the transport industry in Queensland told me before the last election that they looked forward to the election of a government that would break the grip of the Communists on their unions. Because of that attitude, the anti-Labour parties received support from tens of thousands of workers throughout Australia who were engaged in key industries which the Communists controlled. Those men, who are most anxious to throw off the yoke of their Communist officials are without leaders. They go along to a union meeting with the intention of opposing a strike motion or of terminating an unnecessary strike, but they find that no one amongst them has the ability and the strength to resist the men at the top.
I have been told that Communist officials terrify ordinary union members who may be disposed .to criticize them. For instance, if the Communist officials of a union hear a whisper that some individual in the union intends to oppose a strike or some other vicious action proposed by them, they -promptly brand him as a “ scab “, which means that he will be hounded from his employment. Decent unionists have told me that they can get no backing from their local Labour members because the Labour members are beholden to the leaders of the unions for their goodwill and support at election time. Crowds of unionists have told me again and again that Labour members will not take action to help them, and their complaints are borne out by the facts. During Labour regimes, strikes have dragged on for months, and the Government has taken no action and has not made any serious attempt to protect the unions from the predatory attacks launched on the members of the unions by their Communist leaders. That is the reason why the present Government was elected to office at the recent election. It was because of the revolt of the individual unionists against the Chifley Labour Government, which permitted such a state of affairs to continue for so many years. When we offered to protect ths workers of this country by breaking the grip which the Communists had on their industrial organizations, it brought tens of thousands of trade unionists into our political camp. I say again that that is the reason why the Chifley Governmentwas defeated at the recent election.
I have traversed these matters at some length because it is necessary, I feel, to give the reasons why the bill has been introduced. I want to show that there is justice in the action taken by the present Government. I want to build up the case in support of this bill.
Opposition members interjecting,
– I know that honorsenators opposite propose to secure the greatest possible immunity for their friends, but I am entitled to show what the Communists are doing-
– I rise to order. I object to the statement made by Senator Maher that I, as a member of the Opposition, am seeking immunity for my friends. That statement is offensive to me.
– In what way is it offensive to the honorable senator?
– Because it suggests that my friends are the Communists.
– I could justify my argument in relation to the attitude of the Opposition by declaring that the bill, which has been sent up from the House of Representatives on grounds of urgency-
– Order ! No vote has been taken on the urgency of the bill. I mentioned this afternoon the tendency displayed by some supporters of the Government to attempt to link the Australian Labour party with the Communists. In this country there is at present a certain political atmosphere, and when honorable senators who support the Government continually seek to connect the Labour party with the Communists by making allegations such as Senator Maher has just made, it is natural that members of the Opposition should object. I assume that, when the honorable senator said that members of the Opposition are seeking immunity for their friends he sought to imply that their friends are Communists; but, of course, if he did not intend to convey that implication then I am wrong. I realize that Senator Maher was not referring to Senator Nash personally, but it is not practicable to dissociate a general remark of that nature from individuals. As I have pointed out previously in the course of this debate, the present political atmosphere is such that members of the Opposition feel offended at, and are perturbed by, the frequent suggestions made by certain supporters of the Government that they are associated with the Communist party. For that reason I ask that the remark made by Senator Maher, to which Senator Nash has objected, be withdrawn. It may be £hat the Standing Orders do not directly prohibit the making of such a remark; but, as I have already pointed out a number of times, the present situation is such that it is scarcely fair of honorable senators who support the Government to endeavour to connect members of the Opposition with the Communist party in such a direct way. In the circumstances, I ask Senator Maher to withdraw the offensive remark.
– I am happy to make the withdrawal, because I am glad to hear Senator Nash say that he regards it as offensive to be referred to as a friend of the Communists.
– I assume that Senator Maher intends his statement as a withdrawal of the remark to which objection has been taken ?
– I do withdraw it. I am trying to show, amidst a torrent of interjections, that we have grounds for our actions. The general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union of the United Kingdom, Mr. Arthur Deakin, has accused the Communists of causing world-wide agitation amongst dock workers. He has appealed to the British workers not to associate themselves with the international Communists who are engaged in a plan to create discord and trouble in every part of the world. Mr. Deakin is, of course, a member of the Socialist party in Great Britain. He also said -
I know from international contacts that there is constant agitation at international level to disrupt Britain’s economy.
He went on to say that these men of evil designs were attacking Britain’s economy as part of a world-wide plan of disruption. That is a matter that we should consider when dealing with a measure such as this. Will any good Australian who has read the preamble to this bill still say that the measure is not urgent? Will he not be bound to say that a bill of this kind is necessary in the interests of the safety of Australia? The bill is largely based on that preamble. We cannot exhibit towards the Communists to-day the degree of tolerance that could be shown towards them in days gone by. The international situation is disturbed, and we cannot subscribe to the view of the former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) that communism is merely another political philosophy. It goes far beyond that. We stand warned by events in other parts of the world. The Communist party is a revolutionary organization that seeks to capture the whole trade union movement, and to weld it into a spearhead of attack, to be used when the time is ripe for the seizure of power in this country. The aims of the Communist party are in complete consonance with the recitals of this bill. Our knowledge of the Communist party clearly demonstrates that it is traitorous, treasonable and seditious. The Labour party is well aware of that. Nobody who has any knowledge of the facts will attempt to associate the Labour party with the disloyal activities of the bommunist party, whatever connexion there may be, limited or otherwise, between the two parties. We therefore expect the loyal co-operation of members of the Labour party in securing the passage of this measure in its present form.
I shall illustrate the type of men whom we are facing in this country and against whom this bill is. aimed. At the outbreak of war in 1939, the Communists took a stand that was against the best interests of Australia. They continued that stand until Russia entered the war on the side of the Allies. According to the
Sydney Morning Herald of the 25th August, 1945, the Communists declared in 1939 that Britain was fighting an imperialist war. Of course, that was before Russia entered the war. Communist speakers in the Domain, in Sydney, on the 24th September, 1939, described Australian volunteers as “five bob a day murderers “. The activities of the Communists at that time became so dangerous that the Menzies Government banned the party, and declared its publications illegal. In view of the vast accumulation of evidence against this treasonable group in our midst, can any one reasonably say that the Communist party should not be banned, and the organizations affiliated with it treated in the manner prescribed in the bill? Last night Senator Grant mentioned that the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. St. Laurent, was opposed to the banning of the Communists because he considered that such a ban would drive them underground. He would not like to see the holding of an opinion declared to be a crime. Apparently that is also the opinion of Senator Grant and other Opposition speakers who have referred to the matter to-day. With due respect to the Prime Minister of Canada I contend that anybody who entertains such opinions is not facing realities. It is not a matter of driving Communists underground; they are already underground. The bill does not provide any penalties for people who hold opinions on any subject under the sun. There is the freest scope for every kind of thought. It is not the thinkers who are causing the trouble. It is the desperadoes who are out to ruin our country by sabotage, industrial turmoil and violence. Such men, of course, advocate revolution when the time is propitious for a deadly enterprise of that kind. Those are some of the reasons why we cannot regard the Communists with the same tolerance as we had for them a few years ago. The accumulation of evidence of disruption makes it urgent for us to break the grip that the Communist leaders have on the key industries that this bill is designed to protect. By supporting this legislation, we can help the workers engaged in those industries to remove the shackles of Communist control.
Reference has been made in this chamber to Russian imperialism being on the march to-day. Without a doubt, the Australian Communists, like the American Communists and the British Communists, have a link through the Cominform -with Russia. They are the puppets of the “Soviet. It would be altogether wrong for us to leave the great industrial unions at the mercy of men whose loyalty we question. The Communist Sharkey is in gaol because of his seditious utterances. Ite was the leader of the Australian Com.munist party, and the significance of his incarceration is that the .Communist party has not refuted his seditious utterances. We can only assume therefore that the Communist party stands by what Sharkey said. In Canada, the Communist Rose, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, gained knowledge of atom bomb secrets through his membership of a military committee. He divulged those secrets to the Russian Embassy at Ottawa. When he was asked why he had done it, be said that he had a higher loyalty to Russia than to the country in which he had been born and nourished, and which had honoured him by electing him a member of its Parliament. What happened in Canada could happen in this country. In England, Fuchs, a British national and a secret Communist, divulged certain extremely valuable information to Soviet agents. He, too, claimed to have a higher loyalty to Russia than to the country that had been so good to him. In the early days of World War II., Mr. Vincent Sheean, an American journalist interviewed M. Blum, the then leader of the Socialist party in France. That party would correspond to the Labour party in this country. M. Blum told Sheean that although he was the leader of a popular front government consisting of the Communists and the socialists, the socialists could not trust the Communists on military committees that had access to secret information on France’s military strength because the Communists would go straight to the Russian Embassy at Paris1 with that information. At that time, of course, the pact of eternal friendship between Hitler and Stalin had been made. M. Blum said -
Those flays, it is only an hour between Paris and Berlin via Moscow.
A similarly dangerous situation has developed to-day. Certain people with a warped national outlook are prepared to betray their countries because they claim to have a higher loyalty to Russia. Those are some of the reasons why a bill of this kind is so necessary.
Senator Nash said this afternoon that the Crimes Act provided drastic penalties for people who engaged in treasonable or seditious activities. He asked why that act could not be used to meet the conditions described, in the recitals of the bill. I admit that the Crimes Act does prescribe penalties for people who are found guilty of treason or sedition; but this bill is aimed at removing from office in trade unions and from important positions in the Public Service men who are likely to engage in activities that would bring them within the scope of the Crimes Act. Prevention Ls better than cure. By removing potential traitors from vital positions in the Public Service, where their opportunities to do harm are great, and from key positions in the trade unions, we shall minimize their ability to injure this country. It is far better to prevent damage from being done than to punish people under the Crimes Act after the damage has been done.
I remind Opposition senators who have made such a song about the onus of proof that the placing of the onus of proof on an accused person is not unknown in our statutes. Senator Nash is a Western Australian. He should know that under the Gold Buyers’ Act of that State, a policeman who sees a man with a bar of gold in his possession for which he cannot give a reasonable explanation, may charge him immediately. The onus is then on the man to prove his innocence.
– That is not a good analogy.
– I submit that it is, because the Gold Buyers’ Act goes further than this bill does. Illegal possession of a bar of gold is a crime for which a man may be sent to gaol ; yet the onus of proof is not on the Crown, but on the accused person. The Crimes Act provides that a counterfeiter, or a man who has counterfeit currency in- his possession, may be charged immediately in much the same manner as a person who illegally possesses a bar of gold may be charged in
Western Australia. The proof of innocence lies on the man who is charged. The statutes of the Commonwealth and all the States contain innumerable provisions which place the onus of proof in criminal charges on the individual. This is not a criminal offence. When a person is declared the most that can happen to him is that he will be removed from the post that he occupies in the Commonwealth Public Service or in a trade union. The bill is most moderate. If the honorable senator tried to make a case in respect of the onus of proof on a gold stealer, it might have more merit than his argument against the provisions of this bill.
Honorable senators on the Opposition side have complained about the onus of proof and the .alleged injustice of this measure, but in the countries behind the Iron Curtain private murders and legal executions are the methods used to deal with those who oppose or criticize the Communist regime. Expression of opposition to the regime in Russia and the satellite countries can have only one end for the critics - the gallows or the firing squad. It is high treason to oppose the Communist regime and anybody who does so is classified in the jargon of the country as “ an enemy of the state “.
Statements by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place (Dr. Evatt), and by Senator Nash and Senator Sheehan, that the bill provides for a police state, sound hollow to me. What utter nonsense ! This country is the most benevolent land in the world and it is ridiculous to suggest that the Government proposes to employ the methods of a police state simply because it seeks the power to deal with its mortal enemies. The whole object of this bill is to prevent the Communists from getting a stronger foothold in Australia and establishing a police state in the real sense of the term. Dr. Evatt and those who resort to the suggestion that I have mentioned arc hard wished for an argument.
What has an honest man to fear from the onus of proof clause? If he is not a Communist, he can enter the witness box and make a declaration to that effect. The man with something weighing on his conscience is the one who has something to fear. If a person who has been declared enters the witness box, the Crown must be prepared to rebut his sworn denial. If it cannot do so, the man who has been declared frees himself of the declaration. A Communist who testifies on oath that he is not a Communist and gets his release runs the risk of a charge of perjury. If it is proved that a man who occupies any of the vital posts referred to in the bill is a Communist, he will be declared and removed from the post he occupies but if he states in the witness box that he is not a Communist, even if he has some suspicious associations, and the judge thinks from his demeanour that the man is honest, he will go free and the declaration will be cancelled.
If the onus of proof provision were omitted or weakened by the Opposition amendment that has been foreshadowed, and the declaration of Communists for the purpose of removing them from office were taken out of the bill, what earthly good would the measure be? It is not enough to ban the Communist party. The Opposition seeks to remove the teeth from the bill. Honorable senators on the Opposition side know full well the type of men with whom the Government proposes to deal. Criminal law is not involved. The bill is designed, in part, to remove Communists from the Commonwealth Public Service where they can secure and use information that would bc of value to the country’s enemies, and not to gaol or fine them. If some of them are discharged from the Public Service are regarded as suspicious persons and or from office in industrial organizations, they can thank their lucky stars that they are getting off so lightly.
I agree that it may happen that some person who is innocent will be declared. In the subsequent appeal he will be able to prove on oath that he is not a Communist and never was one. But that could happen only in rare instances. It can be accepted that the Cabinet, and not just two members of the Cabinet as has been suggested in this chamber, will check carefully the names of any Communists who are under consideration for declaration, and I do not think that the Cabinet will make a mistake in matters of this kind where the liberty and rights of the subjects are involved.
If doubt exists, those persons will not be declared. That will happen only where the evidence is unmistakable. The possibility of error enters into all human relationships. To err is human. It is possible that some body may be wrongly declared but the chance is remote and I do not think that any serious injury could occur to any person who is a member of it. I think rather that it would stand to his credit if he could vindicate himself.
One of the greatest difficulties is not the open Communist who is known but the person who is secretly a Communist. The Communist party has a secret list because it finds it advisable to have highly placed supporters who do not want their names to be disclosed working secretly for the Communist cause. It will not be so easy to get at those persons. One such secret member of the British Communist party was Dr. Fuchs, who betrayed valuable information to Russia. It is easy enough to deal with the open and self-confessed Communist but the task is far greater in dealing with the undercover man. That is the reason why the onus of proof must rest on the declared person.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.-1 bring to the notice of honorable senators the “ Thought for to-day “ in the Canberra Times, which reads -
When once the multitude is led by one who knows how to use liberty as a lure, they blindly follow at the mere sound of that word.
It is well known that the Communist manifesto was first issued to the world in 1S48. At that period there were great demonstrations throughout the civilized world against the conditions under which workers were compelled to work. The result was that the Communist manifesto drew the attention of all thoughtful lecturers. Within a few years of that period, men were declared in England because they dared to form a trade union. Many of those men were transported to the shores of Australia and the result has been the building up in this Commonwealth of a trade union movement which stands second to none in the world.
The press of the world has condemned the onus of proof provision of this bill. After listening to the previous speaker I am justified in my conclusion that the people of Australia would also condemn it almost unanimously. This Senate and the Parliament of Australia has been threatened with a double dissolution unless this bill is passed. If I had my way, I should send the House of Representatives, with Mr. Menzies as Leader of the Government, to the people, and I am convinced that there would be an immediate change of government.
– Well, call our bluff.
– T am prepared to do that.
– The honorable senator would have to go to the country with us.
– I wish to send the champions of the Liberal party to the country. Because the antiLabour parties were returned in the House of Representatives with a huge majority, perhaps through the use of such propaganda as we have had to listen to in the Senate to-night, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has become drunk with power. For the moment, he is unyielding on the onus of proof provision in this bill, although it has been condemned by practically all sections of the community, with the exception of a few persons like Senator Maher and Senator George Rankin, who believe in the use of force. Senator Maher was a member of the Moore Government in Queensland. The anti-Labour parties in that State were in office for three years away back in the ‘thirties, and they have been in Opposition ever since. What has made it possible for the Labour party m Queensland to enjoy such a long term of office? It is because the Denham Liberal Government in that State tried to destroy trade unionism by legislation. The party went out of office on that issue, and has hardly dared to raise its head since.
Senator Maher said that there was n natural affinity between Communism and the Labour party. Honorable senators laugh, but this is not a joke. If some of these would-be führers on the other side of the chamber had their way, they would, after declaring the Communists, declare representative members of the Labour party as having an affinity with the Communist party.
– No. Members of the Labour party are not disloyal.
– There is reason to believe that Senator Maher would like to deal with Labour representatives in the same way as he would deal with the Communists. He, and others like him, have become so intoxicated with their own political superstitions that they honestly believe certain things to be true even when they are not true. For instance, he said that the Labour Government had put Mr. Healy, the secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, into his position on the Stevedoring Industry Commission. The fact is that Healy was nominated by his own union, and no government in Australia, Commonwealth or State, would dare to appoint to such a position anyone other than a person nominated by his union. Senator Maher charged members of the Labour party with associating with Healy. Only yesterday, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) was in conference with Mr. Healy and, according to press reports, the Minister stated after the interview that the blame for conditions on the waterfront did not rest entirely on the waterside workers. Other parties were to blame. He meant that the ship-owners would have to accept their share of responsibility.
Senator Maher said that Senator McKenna, who led the debate on this bill on behalf of the Opposition, was facing both ways. That is not so. Ho is facing one way only. He wants a person who is declared under this legislation to enjoy the rights of an ordinary citizen. I challenge the Liberal party to go to the country on the onus of proof provision in the bill. Senator Maher said that persons accused in Western Australia of gold stealing were required to prove their innocence and that the onus of proof did not rest upon the prosecution. However, Senator Maher told only half the truth. He did not say that if a person were arrested and charged with gold stealing and was subsequently acquitted, he was entitled, under the law of Western Australia, to receive damages.
There is no similar provision in this legislation. The honorable senator also said that the Labour party was in league with the coal-miners, who, in turn, were controlled by the Communist party. During the last wai*, while the first Menzies Government was in office, there was a- strike on the coal-fields that lasted for ten weeks, and resulted in the loss of 1,000,000 tons of coal. Did Mr. Menzies have the courage at that time to do what members of the Labour Government did last year, when Ministers and rank-and-file members of the Labour party visited the coal-fields, and appealed to the men to resume work?
– Mr. Menzies offered to accompany Mr. Chifley to the coalfields.
- Senator Wright is not a dunce. He is not uneducated, and cannot therefore plead ignorance, but he apparently does not know that if the Leader of the Opposition had accompanied a Labour Prime Minister to the coal-fields during the strike, the efforts of the Labour Government to bring the strike to an end would have been defeated. If Mr. Menzies had gone to the coalfields, would the miners have produced coal ? Of course they would not, and the right honorable gentleman was sufficiently intelligent to realize that.
What has this Government done about the Communist menace? Senator Maher said to-night that in Queensland, members of the Labour party were a leaderless legion. Thousands of unionists, he said, had interviewed him, and told him that they could not get any backing from the official Labour party.
– I did not say thousands. I said crowds of unionists.
– Well, crowds, then. I do not suppose that the honorable senator counted them all. Has the Liberal party ever fought the Communists? The Australian Labour party has formed special groups to fight them. Has the Liberal party formed similar groups? It has not done so. Why has the Communist movement progressed in recent years? I, as one who has spent his life in the industrial movement, and a good deal of his time in fighting the Communist party, can tell honorable senators why: On the executive of the Victorian Trades and: Labour Council there is not one member of the Communist party, nor any person who is sympathetic to the Communist party. We have dealt with the Communists effectively in Victoria. But why did the Communist party get an opportunity to develop in Victoria, as we’ll as in other parts of Australia? Every sensible person knows that, after the economic depression which lasted from 1929 to 1933, thousands of young Australians could not get work. In my own suburb of Melbourne, 60 or 70 young men used to stand all day from S o’clock in the morning until 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the hope of getting employment. Those conditions were the breeding ground of communism. These are matters upon which I can speak with some authority. Probably SO per cent, of the Communist leaders of trade unions were victims of the depression. Yet honorable senators opposite say that their parties will deal with the Communists. Why, it was their parties that helped to breed ‘Communists ! How many mew and women have been declared by employers in the past? At one stage if a member of a trade union dared to take a position on a State wages board, he was declared by the employers. The telephones rang, and the word was passed along, so that he could, not get a job anywhere. If the Labour party does not stand for the liberty of the people, who can be expected to do so? Both in Australia and in Great Britain, the press has. almost unanimously condemned the onus of proof provision of this bill. I quote the following review of newspaper opinion in Great Britain : -
All journals follow the Times and Manchester Guardian in expressing grave doubts about the provisions which place the onus of proof on the accused. The Economist sounds a warning note which is pressed even more strongly by other journals: “These provisions may be essential for carrying out the intention of the bill, but they constitute deep encroachment on the rights of individuals and un invitation to an abuse o.f power by the police.” There are also doubts on the tactical wisdom of Mr. Menzies legislation as the best method of combating Communist infiltration.
Every reputable daily newspaper in Australia is opposed to the. onus of proof provisions in the bill, and I sincerely believe that most Government supporters in the House of Representatives realize that there is little prospect of the provision becoming law. Senator McKenna referred to the remarks of General Smuts. For the last 25 years General Smuts has been one of the best advocates of the need for solidarity of the Empire. In that regard, he is second to no one. No man who loves liberty could support this bill, and it is beyond my comprehension why honorable senators have said that they will do so.
Senator Annabelle Rankin said that the Government had introduced this bill in the interests of the defenceless women of Australia. Let me direct the attention of the honorable senator to something that will affect every man, woman and child in Australia. Increases of the prices of butter, sugar, tea, petrol and tobacco are being demanded. Honorable senators opposite have not had one word to say about how defenceless the women of this country are against the brigands who increase the price of almost every commodity when they think the time is ripe to do so and the people will put up with it.
I am satisfied that there is no chance of this bill in its present form becoming a part of the law of the land. The people will not stand for it. The members of the Labour party in this Parliament will not tolerate it. The trade union movement of this country is opposed to it, and I remind the Senate that when the trade union movement of this country has spoken unitedly upon any public question submitted to the people of Australia it has never been wrong. The Government is attempting to establish a state in which we shall live by declaration and, if the Government can do it, be killed by declaration. I am afraid that it is attempting to establish a servile state, in which any member of a trade union who dares to ask for better conditions will be declared. Every action of the Liberal party, whether it be in the Commonwealth or State sphere, reeks of hypocrisy. Recently the Victorian Government published the findings of the royal commission that it appointed to inquire into the origin and aims of the Communist party in Victoria. Although that Government is not hampered by a Constitution, it has done nothing to deal with the Communists in that State. Senator Maher said that, in the Commonwealth sphere, for eight years Labour governments did nothing to combat communism. The governments of Victoria, which have been mostly Liberal governments, have not done anything in that connexion for SO years, and they will never do anything, although there is nothing to prevent them from taking action. The Labour parly in this Parliament did more to combat communism than all. the other governments of Australia together have done. It protected the genuine trade unionists by securing the passage of a measure that provided that any trade unionist who was dissatisfied with a trade union ballot could approach the Industrial Registrar and, if he satisfied him that there was some substance in his allegations, present his case to a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. The measure provided that that could be done at no expense to the applicant. The operation of the measure has enabled some industrial organizations to rid themselves of Communist control. The Liberal party has never done anything to assist the workers of this country to form trade unions. On the contrary, it has done everything in its power to prevent them from doing so.
– The honorable senator knows that that is completely false.
– I have a very long experience of trade unions, and Senator Wright has no experience of them. I challenge him to tell me where in Tasmania trade unionism is fostered. I could tell him more about Tasmania from the viewpoint of trade unions than he could tell me. When I went to Tasmania as a trade union organizer, the men were not allowed to join a trade union. In Jones’s jam factory, single men were paid 25s. a week and married men 30s. a week. Every one of them was afraid to join a trade union. When the waterside workers went on strike, the employers formed a “ scab “ organization. To-day, that organization has been captured by the Communists. Consider the Seamen’s Union. I was present in court when a “ scab “ seamen’s union tried to obtain registration under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The application was supported by the steamship owners. Those are almost the only two occasions when employers have assisted in the formation of trade unions, and on those occasion.-: they were out to defeat legitimate trade union movements.
In the course of this debate the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) asked by way of interjection, “ What about the unions?” I assure him that the trade unions of this country, particularly those in Victoria, have done everything in their power to defeat the Communist party. It is very seldom that the Labour party is supported by the Australian press in its fight for liberty, but, almost without exception, every newspaper of repute in this country is supporting us in our fight on this occasion to protect the liberty of the subject.
– I rise to give my unqualified support to this bill. Many honorable senators have given us their views of Karl Marx, Lenin, and other notable Communists. They have also related the history of the development of the Communist party. I do not propose to waste the time of the Senate by traversing that ground again; nor do I propose to question the facts that have been presented to us. It will be sufficient for me to say that we must now face the challenge of Russian communism in our midst. This bill is designed to ban a party that advocates that form of government. [Quorum formed.’] There is no need for me to stress the fact, so ably presented to the Senate yesterday by Senator Annabelle Rankin, that the women of this country have borne the brunt of the stoppages of work in Australia which, have been caused by Communist domination of trade unions. I believe that all Australian women support this bill, which is designed to prevent stoppages of work and disruption of home life from continuing to occur. Never before in the history of this country - and we have been through times of crisis - has there been so urgent a need to protect from the enemy within our midst the freedom that we enjoy. If this is an extraordinarily severe measure to place upon the statute-book, I assert that the need for it is also extraordinary. We have in this country a. party which was formed for the purpose of working and moving at the behest of a foreign power and is designed to destroy our Australian way of life. I assert that a party such as that ceases to have any right to exist in our democracy. The most stringent measures should he taken to rid this country of those who would destroy instead of build. In his speech several days ago Senator McKenna assured us that the Labour party had clone wonderful things in the past against the Communist party. I have no doubt that the Government is very glad to be assured that the Labour party has no further use for the Communist party. It is assumed, therefore, that despite the criticism of the Opposition, honorable senators opposite will be 100 per cent, in favour of this bill. However, whatever feeling of assurance I had as a result of that very fine speech by Senator McKenna was dispelled when I heard him make out, ‘ a most eloquent case for the Communist party or for any person in this country who had treasonable notions towards our democratic way of life. He was dealing with clause 9, which seems to be the debatable clause in the bill, because it deals with the onus of proof. A great many very sensible arguments have been advanced bv honorable senators on this side of the chamber in support of clause 9. Senator McKenna’ said, in effect, that the onus-of -proof provision was a breach of democratic freedom. In return, I should like Senator McKenna to inform me whether it is a breach of freedom to recognize the sworn enemies of freedom. Is it a blow at democracy to outlaw those people who are pledged to destroy our democracy? Every member of the Communist party is a pledged traitor to this country, by virtue of his membership of the party. The only limit to his treason is either lack of instructions from Russia or lack of opportunity to do something treasonable. Clause 9 is a serious clause, but serious diseases need drastic cures. That the honest-to-goodness Labour man in this country wishes to see Communist domination ended is proved beyond doubt. We had Senator Murray’s testimony to that this afternoon. I can also add my testimony. Prior to the recent Federal and State elections in Western Australia, on each of the occasions I spoke to men employed in the Midland Junction workshops, at the abattoirs, fertilizer works and in other large factories in Western Australia, I was assured by genuine Labour men and unionists that they felt that the time had come in thi3 country when the flirtations of the Labour party with the Communist party should be put to an end. I therefore believe that those good, honest, trade unionists will be behind the Menzies Government in helping it to free their unions of the Communist influence. Furthermore, those men were very honest against themselves. They told me that they were realizing, perhaps rather late, that it was due to their apathy in union matters that the Communists had been able to gain executive positions in the trade unions. Those unionists, with me, deplored the flirtations of the Chifley Government with the Communists. I point out that it was only when the very disastrous coal strike last year assumed such terrific proportions as to disrupt the industry of this country and interfere seriously with our home life, that the Chifley Government ceased to say that communism was only a political philosophy. The majority of the electors realized that the coal strike had cost this country millions of pounds through loss of production, had deprived the workers of thousands of pounds through loss of wages, which they will never be able to recoup, and had caused the housewives extreme anxiety, inconvenience and suffering. It is time we called that strike by its proper name. I am. sure that the Opposition will agree with me that it was downright treason to the country, particularly to the workers of this country. The former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) thought so, too, because finally he caused huge advertisements to be published in every leading newspaper in Australia calling upon the miners not to allow themselves to be led by these enemies of 0.ur country, but to rely upon arbitration. The right honorable gentleman also took one. of the most serious steps ever to be taken in the history of this country, when he called out troops and put them into the coal mines, in order to save Australia from almost inevitable ruin. Therefore, I repeat that the tardiness of the previous Government has led to the urgent measures that must now be taken so that we may preserve for ourselves our democratic way of life in this country. The present Government, with its unmistakeable mandate from the people of Australia, has grasped the nettle, and, however distasteful the process may be to those of us who love liberty and freedom, these stringent measures must be carried out to the bitter end. We must rid this country of those people who would cause such unwarranted interference with our way of life. It must be well known to every member of this chamber that the Communist party movement is not one of mushroom growth. It did not turn up overnight. As long ago as 1927, the conquest of Australia was planned, plotted, and blueprinted by the leading Communists of the world, Raj ana Palme Dutt, Louis Budenz, and others that I could mention, who were determined to see that the Russian way of life infiltrated every democracy in the world. This afternoon an honorable senator said that no other country had taken such active steps in this connexion as had Australia. I suggest that the Canadian spy trial was an effort by the Canadian Government to pin down at least the disruptive influences of the Communist party in Canada. The action of the United States of America in calling the attention of Great Britain to the shortcomings in the security service of that country was a determined effort on its part to at least draw attention to the fact that things being done the world over were eating at the very vitals of our democratic way of life. That blue-print set out exactly, step by step, the way the conquest of this country would go, that is, through China, across to Korea, down by Japan to South-East Asia, and thence to Australia. Surely all honorable senators are convinced that the “ red “ menace in ‘South-East Asia is uncomfortably near to this country. In all ;sincerity, I ask whether any member of this chamber is so deluded as to believe that .a discussion .such as has taken place in this chamber during the last few days could possibly have taken place in a police state or in .Russia?
Senator Sheehan has stated that we are all suffering from hysteria. If that is so we are surely in good company, because there is a wave of hysteria throughout the democratic countries of the world to-day on account of the cold war that is being waged by Russia. 1 had the privilege of meeting the first boatload of migrants that came to Australia from Europe, and I have since frequently visited the camps where they were placed. At first hand I have heard from them stories about the police state. If any honorable senator should require information about what cannot be done in a police state, I advise him to ask some of those migrants. This bill is designed to prevent Australia from coming under the heel of a foreign nation which would impose on us a police state. I point out that in a police state no charge is necessary before an accused person is convicted and no appeal is allowed. This bill provides both for the preferment of a charge, and an appeal. A declared person will have every opportunity to defend himself. Only guilty people should have any fear of a bill of this kind. This is a most serious matter with which we should deal urgently and carefully. The argument that the machinery provided by the Crimes Act is adequate to deal with sabotage and anti-democratic conspiracies cannot be sustained. If the Crimes Act had provided sufficient machinery why did not the Labour party use it during its eight years in office? During that time there were repeated stoppages in industry, particularly on the coal-fields. The Crimes Act was not invoked against the strikers. The statement made by Senator Ryan this afternoon that this measure is a challenge to the trade union movement and the allegation that the Government hopes thereby to destroy that movement are utterly false. No democratically elected government in this country would dream of destroying a trade union movement that has within its ranks such a large number of men and “women of democratic, thought and fine character. Therefore, it is absolutely false to say that the bill is designed to destroy the trade unions. I am a unionist and I know the things of which I speak. It is hopless, therefore,, for the Opposition to try to “ put anything over “ me. Senator. Murray expressed my point of view when he said that the unions are now seeking to get. rid of the “ Red menace “. Undoubtedly they are seeking help to get rid of the “ Red menace “, and they should not find that there are members of the Senate who are providing the enemies of their livelihood with such excellent stones to throw at this legislation, when it is enacted, as I hope it will be.
I was in Melbourne about two and a half years ago when a metropolitan newspaper was building a canteen for its employees. Large pictures appeared in the newspapers of the building in an unfinished state, and those photographs showed one man standing alone in the building. He was a carpenter, and the caption underneath the photographs explained that the man had been refused the opportunity to earn his daily bread, and that of his family, because he had dared, at a meeting of his union, to question the annual balance-sheet. In consequence of his attitude not a single member of the carpenters’ union would work on the building, and the unfortunate man had to obtain police protection in order to obtain employment free from molestation. That happened in the State of Victoria, which Senator Katz represents, notwithstanding the honorable senator’s contention that the trade unions of Victoria are everything that they ought to be. That was the kind of “ police state “ that they experienced in Victoria. Honorable senators opposite contend that the bill is intended to transform the whole of Australia into a “ police state “. When the individual to whom I have referred lost his employment I did not notice that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) rushed to Melbourne to defend him and to get him a job. I was instrumental in preventing a woman doctor from being deported from Western Australia twelve months ago under a direction issued by the then Minister for Immigration. That woman had not been told of the charges alleged against her.
She found a group of friends to- whom’ she put her- case, and with the assistance of a Labour member of the House of Representatives, I was instrumental in having the deportation order postponed until she could ascertain what the charges against her were. According to Senator Armstrong; that was not an isolated case during Labour’s regime. Those things happened in a state that was not a “ police state “, so let us rid our minds of the idea that such things can only happen in a “ police state “.
The other day I noticed the report of a comment made by a Minister who had just returned from Europe. He said -
Wo should cherish no illusions concerningthe true character of communism. It is powerful-
We realize that when we look, at the condition of Europe and Asia to-day - it is dynamic, and it is ruthless.
That is borne out by the facts. I propose now to read a passage from Stalin’s: book, Foundations of Leninism, in which he exposes the purposes- behind “ democratic fronts “ and “ peace congresses “. He said -
The revolutionist will accept a reform in order to use it as a means wherewith to link legal work with illegal work, in- order to use it as a screen behind which his illegal activities for the revolutionary preparation of tha musses may be Intensified. . . the bourgeois state apparatus . . . must be broken and smashed from top to bottom in order to realize the dictatorship of the proletariat . . . generally speaking, it is not voting, but civil war that decides all questions of politics when history has placed the dictatorship of the proletariat on the order of the day:
And Lenin warned all. Communists, against “ the sentimental winners who are afraid- of war “ If a revolutionary situation is at hand,” he wrote, “ prepare to organize new organizations and utilize these so useful weapons of death- a.nd’ destruction, (‘splendid machine guns ‘ ) against your own Government and your bourgeoisie.”
In Communist philosophy there can be no peace until the final battle against nonCommunists is won.
Those, my friends, are hard words but they are true; and that is the situation that we in Australia are called on to meet to-day. It has been a gathering cloud. The people of Australia have that fear before them, and it is not without reason that they apprehend that unless prompt and effective action is taken now the future of this country as a democracy is doomed. For those reasons, I stress the urgency of the bill which is designed to meet a situation of ever-increasing seriousness. I suggest to all members of the Opposition that they should make up their minds where they stand and on which side they are going to get off. I remind them of the words in the First Book of Kings, 18th Chapter, 21st verse, which recounts how a prophet came down to the people and spoke to them -
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God. follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.
– We are not halting.
– N ot much! The present situation is a challenge to our democratic way of life, to our progress, to our peace in industry. The recitals in the preamble to the bill make it imperative that we should no longer sit on the fence, but should make known where our loyalties reside. I appeal to members of the Opposition to vote for the bill, which I have much pleasure in supporting.
– I trust that, when I have completed my remarks, Senator Robertson will know, at least, exactly where I stand. I say deliberately that [ resent anyone challenging my loyalty. The history of my family and of my close family connexions will rebut any challenge of that nature. I say at the outset that I oppose the whole of the proposals contained in the bill. The first matter that attracts my attention is the preamble. I say that that preamble is amply a propagandist statement designed to ” cash in “ on the hysteria that has been created by interests outside Australia to protect their business and trad:ng interests, not necessarily only in Australia but in other places as well. That design has apparently been followed -slavishly by the Liberal party and the Australian Country party in the local political sphere. The preamble and the statements that have been made in supoort of it, are not based on truth at all. Let me say at once that anyone can pick out excerpts from a statement, a book, or a printed document and use them to distort the general meaning of the statement, book or document. Even excerpts from the Bible have been used for that purpose.
– Members of the Liberal party do not follow the Bible.
– I am not going to answer interjections because my remarks concern a most important matter. It has been a lifelong theme of mine to obtain social justice for the workers. I was pointing out that anyone can take excerpts from a document and use them to distort the general intention of that document, and that is what has happened to the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Looking at the preamble, it will be seen that the first three paragraphs merely set out the source of the power which the Government proposes to invoke to give effect to the provisions of the bill. The next paragraph recites -
And whereas thu Australian Communist Party in accordance with the basic theory of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin, arid the following paragraph states -
And whereas the Australian Communist Party also engages in activities or operations designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system of government of Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices:
The facts are that we can search the entire works of Marx but we cannot find anywhere that he advocates violence.
– Marx does advocate violence.
– I make the challenge now to honorable senators that they can search the entire works of Marx or Engels, but nowhere will they find that they advocate violence. The truth is that Marx predicted violence. He pointed out that no minority holding the power of government had ever given way except in the face of violence. Usually, governments represent minorities, and they will not surrender their power peacefully. The works of Marx and Engels were inspired by the French Revolution, and by conditions in many European countries at that time. Under this bill, anyone who advocates the theories expounded by Marx and Engels is likely to be declared. I am prepared to do everything I possibly can to overthrow the present Government, just as honorable senators opposite did everything they possibly could to overthrow the Chifley Government. The word “ overthrow “ appears in the preamble to this measure. What construction are we to put on that word? Does it mean overthrow by violence? If it does mean overthrow by violence, and I advocate the overthrow of the system of society existing to-day, I can be declared. No charge need be laid against me. Let us examine the Communist manifesto a little further. It may be found in the Library of this building. I believe that during the war, some people were “ pinched “ for having copies in their possession. The manifesto states -
All previous historical movements were move ments of minorities or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious intelligent movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority.
The Labour party in this country is acting in the interests of the great mass of the people and wants to alter the present system of society, but for advocating that I can be declared. I have no doubt that most members of the Labour party and of other reform movements, have, from public platforms, or in literature, advocated a course of action that could be construed as violence. As I have said, there is no incitement to violence in the Communist manifesto, but it does seek the overthrow of the present state of society. Only insane people would prefer violent reform to peaceful reform. Any one who advocates the violent transformation of the capitalist system into the socialist system should be in an asylum for the insane; yet, under this bill if a man uses some of the terms to which reference is made, he can be declared and deprived of the right of trial. He may be declared on information supplied by paid informers who have been set the specific task of securing the removal of a troublesome individual from the path of the government. The information might have been supplied by someone obsessed by hatred of the Communist doctrine, but still, the declared individual would not have any redress. I repeat that the Commu nist manifesto, written more than 100 years ago, was the product of conditions that then existed in many European countries. The prediction that no minority would give way without a struggle was borne out by what happened in Russia. That country has been condemned by many speakers in this debate, but I remind the Senate that the Soviet stood alongside Britain and America when Germany was finally defeated. Russia lost more of its people in the war than did any other nation. The Russian revolution was not brought about by the Bolsheviks.- It was initially the work of the Mensheviks under Kerensky. In accordance with the existing franchise the people elected a Bolshevik government, and the revolution started because the minority would not give way. The American Civil “War started because the minority slave-owners in the southern States would not submit to the will of the majority of the people. The majority had to suppress the slave-owners after the latter had resorted to violence. The Spanish CivilWar followed the election of a majority government to the Cortes. The minority immediately started a rebellion with the assistance of certain other nations. The Government defended itself, but was finally beaten with the result that Spainis now governed by a fascist dictatorship. So the prediction of Marx has been fulfilled oven in our time. Again I say, that there is a big difference between predicting violence and advocating violence, but under this bill the moment I advocate the philosophy of Marx, somebody can say thatI am a Communist and therefore should be declared. The preamble to this bill is not founded in truth. Similarly, the election propaganda of the Government parties was not founded in truth. Hence I do not concede that the Government has a mandate to introduce into the Parliament a monstrosity such as this bill.
– We have a mandate all right and it will be renewed if we have a double dissolution.
– The Opposition parties had paid organizers travelling throughout South Australia and, no doubt, throughout the other States. I defy any one to say that I dodged the issue in South Australia or failed to tell the people that I did not believe in banning the Communists. I made it quite clear that I belonged to a party that believed in freedom of thought and freedom of speech. A majority of South Australians supported the Senate Labour candidates. X repeat, therefore, that I do not concede that the Government has a mandate for this legislation. I go further than that. I say that the passage of this measure will pave the way for a totalitarian state. We have heard a lot about totalitarianism in Russia; but what the Government of this country is doing now was done first by Hitler in Germany. Hitler assured the trade unions that there would be no interference with their work, hut it was not long before all industrial organizations in Germany were brought under the control of the Nazis. They were replaced by what we call company unions. On several occasions, employers in this country have, tried to establish unions of that type, hut fortunately without success. It was tried once at Broken Hill many years ago. An insidious attempt is being made now hy certain employers, through their political representatives, to .control industrial organizations in this country. Senator Maher, Senator George Rankin, and Senator Annabelle Rankin admitted that the Government thought it necessary to control the unions.
– I rise to order. Senator O’flaherty has attributed to me a statement that I did not make.
– Order I That is not a point -of order.
– The statement was offensive to me.
– I have pointed out many times that if honorable senators consider that they have been misrepresented, they may seek an opportunity to make a personal explanation at the appropriate time.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I formally put the question -
That the Senate do -now .adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department - ‘ Repatriation- W. P. Whiting. Social Services - M. M. Kelly.
Senate adjourned at .10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 June 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1950/19500601_senate_19_208/>.