19th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the fact that there is a home-consumption price for wheat, which enables the Australian public to buy bread at a reasonable price, can the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether the Government will consider instituting a home-consumption price for wool so that the people will not have to pay .so much for their clothes ?
– The point raised by the honorable senator is a very interesting one! I cannot give him an answer offhand, but if he places his question on the notice-paper, an answer will be prepared and supplied to him later.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Health noted an announcement by the Labour Government of New South Wales that it intends, if returned to office, to institute a free dental service for children, as well as ether health benefits? Can the Minister say when the Australian Government’s national health scheme is likely to be introduced ?
– The Minister foi Health is making progress in the preparation of a national health scheme, which will be placed before the Parliament at the appropriate time. I am sure that the Minister for Health will be prepared to discuss with the Government of New South Wales any proposals it may have for the institution of dental and medical services.
– Will the Minister representing the Prime Minister say whether the Government, in re-organizing the Public Service, has considered the employment upon a permanent basis of temporary employees whose services are to be retained, and who, in many instances, have been employed in the service for ten or fifteen years ?
– The honorable senator has raised this matter on previous occasions. I also raised it on one occasion when I was a member of the Opposition hi thi9 chamber. He is eager that public servants who have been employed upon a temporary basis for many years should now be employed upon a permanent basis. I am not certain, but I understand that in the inquiry that is now being conducted that aspect of the matter is being considered.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs cause inquiries to be made by his department in order to ensure that prefabricated housing components now being imported into this country free of duty shall be used only for the purposes envisaged by the Commonwealth when it granted the concession, that is, for housing, hospitals and schools? lt is possible that some of them are being used for purposes other than those.
– The point raised by the honorable senator is a very important one. The reason why some materials are being allowed to enter this country duty free is that they are required to alleviate the acute housing shortage from which we are now suffering. The allocation of the materials after arrival in Australia is the responsibility, not of the Australian Government, hut of State authorities. The Commonwealth does not issue permits for the erection of buildings in the States. Control of the types of buildings that may be erected in the States and of the purposes for which these buildings are used is exercised by State governments and local authorities. I shall cause communications to be addressed to the appropriate State authorities requesting their co-operation to ensure that the building components that are now being allowed to enter this country free of duty shall be used only for the purposes for which the concession has been granted, that is, to provide houses and other necessary buildings for our people
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The Minister for Works and Housing has supplied the following interim reply : -
Stops are being taken towards obtaining the information requested and advice in regard thereto will be furnished as soon as possible.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether the Government intends to alter its present policy of preventing persons who have established taxi-cab businesses in Canberra from disposing of their businesses and goodwill in the same way as persons in other parts of Australia are permitted to do? I point out that I have asked this question on two previous occasions.
– I apologize to the honorable senator for the delay in supplying him with an answer to his question. I assure him that I am not unmindful of the matter. Only the other day I issued a “ hurry-up “ to the department. I shall endeavour to expedite the matter further, and will supply the information sought as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The Minister forWorks and Housing has supplied the following answers: -
– Last week, in answer to a question relating to the importation of American machinery, the Minister for Trade and Customs informed me that an arrangement had been made whereby that machinery would be obtained in future without the use of dollars. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the Australian Government would raise any objection to American capital equipment being obtained under an arrangement whereby the American company would accept shares in the Australian company in payment ?
– I think the honorable senator will appreciate that each application would have to be dealt with on its merits, depending on the urgency of the requirement in this country. For instance, if the capital equipment were required to manufacture in Australia goods that were already in ample supply, the application would not be regarded so sympathetically as would an application to import from United States of America components that would enable the manufacture in this country of goods in short supply. The overall policy of the Government is to give the utmost encouragement to the investment of American capital here to provide commodities and articles that are in short supply in this country at present.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Customs in a position to furnish the Senate with a survey of trade movements between Australia and the South American countries? I point out that recent press statements have indicated that trade is increasing between Australia and those countries. It is most important that that trade should be increased. Can the Minister supply me with the latest available figures in relation to it?
– I have not before me figures indicating the trend of trade between Australia and the South American republics. However, as a result of the trade treaty recently concluded between Australia and Argentina there is a considerable exchange of goods between the two countries. From Argentina we are importing cotton and other commodities that we require. In return, Argentina is buying from us considerable quantities of farming machinery and implements. The trend in developing this most advantageous trade is very encouraging. I shall obtain for the honorable senator the latest available figures in relation to imports from and exports to the South American republics. The prospects of a mutually satisfactory trade are highly encouraging.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer: -
I, 2 and 3. - Statistics are not available in thu exact form required by the honorable senator. However, the following table shows the value, in Australian currency, of trade with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics during the period 1st July, 1945, to 31st March, 1950:-
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General aware that there are now in use in the United States of America 5.000,000 television sets, compared with 1,000,000 sets in 1949? As the manufacturers have gained considerable knowledge of television since 1949, will the Minister consider taking the necessary steps to install television apparatus in this country at an early date, so that a view of the pageantry that will be associated with the royal tour in 1952 shall be available to people throughout Australia?
– I realize the great advantage that would be gained by the people of Australia if television apparatus was installed as suggested. I shall be pleased to bring this matter to the notice of the Postmaster-General.
– Will the Minister say whether tenders have been called for the erection of antennae and studios for television? If so, how many tenders were received, and who was the successful tenderer? The previous Government called for tenders for the installation of television apparatus. I understand that further tenders have since been invited by the present PostmasterGeneral. Because of the importance to Australia of television, I- should like to have a clear statement on the whole matter. Will the Minister request his colleague, the Postmaster-General, to make a complete statement on television, which I am sure, would be appreciated by all honorable senators ?
– If the PostmasterGeneral is prepared to make a complete statement on the matter I shall make it available to all honorable senators. However, if my colleague has not prepared such a statement I shall be pleased to request him to furnish a reply to the honorable senator.
Broadcasting of Proceedings - Questions
– Can you inform me, Mr. President, whether consideration has been given to tie installation of another row of microphones to improve the broadcast of speeches made by honorable senators who occupy what I might term the back benches in this chamber? The result of tests that have been made and reports that I have received indicate that the closer the proximity of microphones to honorable senators the better the broadcast of the speeches.
– Several honorable senators have spoken to me about the matter raised by the honorable senator and I have also received complaints about the acoustics of the chamber. Most honorable senators can hear the proceedings quite plainly, but in some parts of the cham.ber the acoustic properties are not good. In consequence of the complaints, I made arrangements some time ago for the installation of concealed amplifiers similar to those that have been installed in the House of Representatives. In that chamber a concealed amplifier is placed behind the desk of each member. Orders have been given for the installation of concealed amplifiers in this chamber, and I have been informed by the responsible official that its acoustics will thereby :be improved and that the broadcast of honorable senators’ utterances will also be improved. I think that the installation of concealed amplifiers is preferable to the installation of yet another row of microphones.
– Last week, I placed on the notice-paper a question concerning the dismissal of Dr. P. R. James, but no reply has yet been received. Surely it does not take a week to prepare a reply to a simple question.
– I can only call on those questions the answers to which have been placed before me. Perhaps the Minister for Trade and Customs (‘Senator O’Sullivan) can give an explanation.
– The question was not directed to me. Honorable senators must appreciate that it is a matter of courtesy and a privilege that questions asked by honorable senators of Ministers are answered, but the courtesy is gladly extended. Ministers are very busy at the present time. If a question, even a simple one, is to be answered accurately, it is sometimes necessary to examine a large file very carefully, and that takes time. If no answer to a question is forthcoming, there must be a good reason. I assure honorable senators that all questions will be answered with a minimum of delay.
– I should like the Minister for Trade and Customs to elaborate his statement that the answering of questions by Ministers is a matter of courtesy only. Is this a new procedure? Under the Standing Orders every honorable senator has the right to seek information from Ministers. Is the Government now taking the attitude that when honorable senators seek information on matters of public interest, their questions are answered only through the courtesy of Ministers?
– The position is clear. Every honorable senator has a right to ask questions on matters of public interest.
– I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am not questioning the right of honorable senators to ask questions, but I repeat that the answering of them is a matter of courtesy and privilege. My authority for that is May’s Parliamentary Practice, and May is supported by every one else who has written on the subject. The right to ask questions belongs indisputably to honorable senators; whether they are answered or not is within the discretion of Ministers.
– Senator Morrow asked a series of six questions about the dismissal of Dr. James from his position in the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne. I assure him that his questions will be answered. Other honorable senators and some members of the House of Representatives also have directed questions to the Government in regard to Dr. James, but the only question in relation to him that appears upon the notice-paper is that which stands in the name of Senator Morrow. I have caused some preliminary inquiries to he made, but I am not yet in a position to answer the question fully. Dr. James was dismissed from the Heidelberg Repatriation
Hospital. The decision to terminate hid appointment as a temporary medical officer at that institution was made by the Public Service Board, in accordance with its authority. I shall furnish a reply to the other parts of the question as soon as possible.
– In view of the answer furnished yesterday by the Minister for Trade and Customs in reply to a question that I had asked concerning the refusal of the Government to make available dollars for the purchase of newsprint from Canadian sources, will the Minister now indicate whether the Government will reconsider its decision?
– I am afraid that the honorable senator could not have paid sufficient attention to the answer that I furnished yesterday. I indicated then that his question was obviously based on substantially similar facts to the representations that were recently made to the Prime Minister and to me by the Australian newspaper proprietors. I pointed out then that the representations made by the newspaper proprietors were being considered by Cabinet. I do not know what the decision of Cabinet will be and I do not know when it will be announced, but I assure the honorable senator tha t the matter is receiving serious consideration.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether the Government, in implementing its national health scheme, will investigate the practicability of replacing aircraft of the flying doctor service with helicopters ?
– I assure the honorable senator that the Government is most concerned with out-back medical services. It has given further assistance to the flying doctor service, and I shall be pleased to bring to the notice of the Minister for Health the honorable senator’s suggestion that helicopters be used to provide a service to areas that cannot be reached by orthodox aircraft.
– Can the Minister representing the Treasurer say what payments have been made to the States individually under the Federal Aid Roads and Works agreement during the current financial year? What amount of such grants, or of previous grants, is held unexpended by each State?
– I have not the exact details that the honorable senator seeks, but I know that last year the total grant to all the States was approximately £9,000,000. I shall obtain the information that the honorable senator has asked for.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware that many flour mills in Australia are not getting sufficient orders for flour to permit them to operate their mills to full capacity ? Is he aware that many members of the Flour Millers Union cannot be given full employment, and that some have been stood down altogether? Is he aware that, as the result of those conditions, there is a scarcity of mill offals including bran and pollard which is impeding the production of eggs and pigmeats, and seriously embarrassing the dairying industry and other primary industries requiring mill offals for economic production? Will the Minister give attention to obtaining overseas markets for Australian-milled flour? Is the Government prepared to explore the possibility of arranging contracts with countries that buy our wheat to accept a proportion of their imports in the form of flour? Will he ascertain for the information of the Senate what the Government has done to alleviate the unsatisfactory position that exists in all States ?
– The honorable senator has asked important questions. I know that the position has not been very satisfactory, but it was even more unsatisfactory when the Chifley Government was in office. The matter is being examined by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture within whose province it comes. If there are ways and means whereby exports of our primary products can be improved, I am sure that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture will be only too happy to explore them to the fullest. In view of the importance of this matter, and because it is not within my own knowledge, I ask the honorable senator to place his questions on the notice-paper so that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture may answer them in detail.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Supply say whether the Government has consulted the Government of New South Wales about the appointment of a successor on the Joint Coal Board to Mr. Cameron? If consultations have been held, what is the attitude of the New South Wales Government?
– I shall be pleased to get the information for the honorable senator and let him have a reply as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The following information has been supplied by the Prime Minister in reply to the honorable senator’s questions : -
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
” MISS AUSTRALIA “ QUEST.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate the following questions, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
Debate resumed from the 6th June (vide page 3711), on motion by Senator
That the bill be now read a second time.
– In our most violent nightmares, we did not dream that the present fascist Government would introduce this repressive and vicious legislation into the Parliament of this democratic country. The measure, in the form in which it was introduced into the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), was the most vicious measure ever presented to the Parliament of an
English-speaking country. Honorable senators opposite cannot escape by saying that the bill has now been amended and watered down; they must accept responsibility for it in its original form. Had there not been a Labour majority in this chamber, probably the measure would now be upon the statute-book in the form in which it was introduced into the House of Representatives, because every honorable senator opposite who supports the present fascist Government would have approved of it whole-heartedly. Theoriginal form of the measure proves that the Prime Minister is still as dictatorially minded as he was in 1938.
– I rise to order. I submit that Senator Sandford has referred to the Prime Minister and to the Government in a manner that is contrary to the Standing Orders. Hehas referred to the Government as being a “ fascist government “ and to the Prime Minister as being dictatorial.
– I do not consider that it is disorderly for an honorable senator to say that any one is dictatorial. The terms “ fascist “ and “ Communist “ have been used in this chamber on several occasions. I have said that, although there is nothing in the Standing Orders to prevent an honorable senator from using those terms, I believe that it is unwise having regard to the present state of mind of the public and of honorable senators in relation to these matters, to use them in a general way. I cannot prevent Senator Sandford from using the term “ fascist but I say that, in my opinion, it would be preferable, in this democratic age, when governments are elected by the people, to refrain from using either that term or the term “ Communist “ to describe a government. If the parties on my left do not use the term “ fascist “ when referring to the parties on my right, then the parties on the right should certainly not use the term “ Communist “ when referring to the parties on the left.
– In support of my statement that the present Prime Minister was dictatorially minded in 1938, I shall remind the Senate ofa statement that he made in that year upon his return to Australia after visiting Germany and other European countries.
– I rise to order. I submit that statements made by the present Prime Minister in 1938 after his visit to Germany have nothing to do with this bill.
– I am presiding over this assembly. I cannot see ahead, and I do not know what is in Senator Sandford’s mind. I shall be interested to hear what he has to say, and I .assume that lie will connect it with the bill.
– Most decidedly. It cannot be denied that the original measure, which has since been amended owing to the efforts of the Labour party, was definitely dictatorial and fascist. The Prime Minister, upon his return to this country from Europe in 1938, said -
Australia should realize that democracies have much to learn from other systems of government. Democracies cannot maintain their place in the world unless they are provided with leadership as inspiring as that of the dictator countries. Why was Hitler able to tear up the Treaty of Versailles, and absorb Austria and the Sudetenland without firing a shot? The dominating reason why lie was able to do it all is that he gives the German people a leadership to which they render unquestioning obedience. If you and I were Germans sitting beside our own fires in Berlin, wc would not be critical of the leadership that has produced such results.
– That was before the war.
– To show that the right honorable gentleman was dictatorially minded at a date later than 1938, I shall read what the present right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) said on the 6th April, 1943, in a broadcast from Station 2UW. It waa ut that time that the present Prime Minister had formed a national service group and broken away from his then leaders. The right honorable member for Bradfield said -
Mr. Menzies deplores the selfseeking, whispering campaigns and intrigues, ho passionately urges the need for unity but is himself the great self-seeker, the man behind the scene in every intrigue, the fountain-head of evm’ whispering campaign, the destroyer of unity . . . The people of Australia will no doubt form their own opinions of these wretched party intrigues and can hardly fail to sheet them home to their instigator.
In further support of the facts that I have already mentioned, I shall cite, what Sir Charles Marr said about certain gentlemen.
– I rise to order. Senator Sandford has already cited the utterances of various people in the past, none of which have anything to do with this bill. He is about to make another citation. As the honorable senator made no attempt to limit his remarks to the bill, I submit that he should be ruled out of order.
– I do not know whether I should accept the AttorneyGeneral’s dictum as to what I should or should not do. Although the Minister was within his rights in rising to order, I have already indicated to Senator Sandford that he should connect his remarks with the bill. I do not know exactly what he is driving at.
– Neither does any one else.
– It is wrong for any honorable senator to say that Senator Sandford’s remarks are not connected with the bill. I assume that Senator Sandford, a reasonable man, will show why he has cited those words and how they are connected with the measure that is before the chamber.
– The AttorneyGeneral’s attempt to put me off my line of thought has not been successful. I do not want any advice in the matter. My remarks are most definitely connected with the bill, as I shall now show. I do not want to be dictated to by the Minister about when and where I should connect my remarks with the measure. Perhaps at some other time the President may be thankful for the Minister’s assistance. However, I repeat that the original measure would have had tha effect of establishing a police state in this country. Most assuredly that would have been so if Labour had not had a majority in this chamber.
– The honorable senator is perfectly in order proceeding on those lines.
– At the time to which I have referred the United Australia party was controlled by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies).
– The Prime Minister is not dealt with in the measure before the chamber.
– Order !
– Sir Charles Marr said -
The weakness in the United Australia party side of the House is due to the fact that private members have been ignored the whole time. You can talk in party meetings until you are blind, but no notice is taken and nothing is done. The leader (Mr. Menzies) expects paTty members to be a baud of yes-men, to vote in any direction he instructs.
I stress that had it not ‘been for Labour’s majority in the Senate this -measure would now have been law. I am not dealing with the proposed amendments because they have been forced on the Government. They would not have been brought forward, hut for the Opposition. During his second-reading speech in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister stated that one senator could be declared and that one member of that House might escape the provisions of the bill only by the skin of his teeth. It is astounding that the original bill applied not only to Communists, but also to people who had the audacity to advocate an improvement of conditions or anything else that may have been advocated by Marx or Lenin. Under the original measure they would have been liable to be declared. Clause 3 defines a Communist. Anybody connected with any doctrine that was similar to a Communist advocacy of any description could have been declared under the original measure. Many anti-Communists who have urged amendment of the political and industrial sections of the Crimes Act could have been declared under the original bill. In fact, any industrial organization at all could have been declared. Any organization that was established for the purpose of gaining improved terms and conditions of employment for the workers could have been declared under the bill in its original form.
– They were expressly excluded. Apparently, the honorable senator has not read the bill.
– It is clear that any industrial union that advocated an improvement of working conditions - as was done by Marx and Lenin - could have been declared under the original bill. The change of front by honorable senators opposite is remarkable. Prior to the 1946 general election the present Prime Minister affirmed his belief that the Communist party ought to be outargued, not outlawed. Why, then, has this change of front occurred?
– Because the international outlook has changed.
– Keep quiet, small change.
– Order ! I do not know whether Senator McCallum has yet spoken on this measure, but I have a list showing several honorable senators on my right who will have an opportunity to rebut anything that is said by the Opposition, and vice versa. I do not see why honorable senators should get so heated and excited. This is a serious matter, which-, as serious men, we should discuss seriously. Every honorable senator will be given an opportunity to express his views.
– In introducing the original measure, the Government aimed not so much at the Communist party as at the Labour party. I make that assertion advisedly. Neither the Prime Minister nor the AttorneyGeneral had any intention other than to cause a rift in the ranks of the Labour movement. They know now that they cannot do it. They have climbed down. This measure has been watered down to such a degree that they are being ridiculed throughout Australia. Had the bill been passed in its original form it would have been placed on the statute-book by now and the gestapo would be operating in Australia as it operated in totalitarian countries in the past. Apart from the fact that the Prime Minister was speaking English, any one who entered the House of Representatives while he was delivering his second-reading speech could easily have imagined that he was in the Reichstag in Germany listening to the German fuehrer a few years ago. After slashing the air with his arms and pointing an accusing finger, the Prime Minister, using all of the dramatic skill at his command, would turn around and seek the approbation of his fascist “ yes-men “. However, because of the outcry not only by members of the Labour party but also by many conservatives, the Prime Minister has seen fit to introduce a number of amendments additional to those that have been forced upon him. As an indication of the harm that would have been done by the passage of the bill in its original form I propose to read an extract from the Melbourne Age of the 27th May concerning the treatment of Jewish youths in Melbourne. I point out, parenthetically, that conduct of the kind complained of in the following extract would have occurred throughout Australia. The report is as follows: -
The Premier (Mr. Hollway) has asked the Chief Secretary (Mr. Leggatt) to investigate charges that members of a Jewish non-political association had been interrogated by the police.
This action followed a complaint yesterday by the vice-president of the Jewish council (Mr. S. Goldbloom) that the interrogation had distressed Jewish youth and girl members and greatly alarmed their families. According to Mr. Goldbloom, police had questioned not only the young people, but their associates and relatives, who were most alarmed at the talk of “anti-British activities” and of threatened deportation. More than a dozen such cases had been reported to him, he said.
Most of the “ suspects “ were members of the Kadimah Younger Group, one of the bestknown Jewish organizations established for the spread of Yiddish culture.
He claimed that the youths and girls were most incensed as not only were they nonpolitical but were anti-Communist. “ The parents particularly, regard these occurrences as ominous, as they have vivid and bitter memories of the special police in Europe”, Mr. Goldbloom added.
The interrogations were said to have occurred soon after the introduction into Federal Parliament of the anti-Communist bill.
It is clearly evident that if the bill had been passed in its original form the “ police state “ would have been foisted on the people by the present Government. Had the bill been enacted in that form, I cannot help wondering whether the members of the Liberal party who were responsible for endorsing a candidate who was a Communist for the State seat of “Waverley at the forthcoming elections in New South “Wales, would have been “ declared “ under the legislation. It is ironical that the Prime Minister, who is responsible for the introduction of the measure, should profess to be so concerned about the safety of the nation and the preservation of our democratic rights. The Government has provided that the bill shall have retrospective effect to ‘ a date in 1948, but had the date of retrospectivity been a little earlier the right honorable gentleman himself might have been liable to be “ declared “. Honorable senators will not forget that during the war when the fate of this nation hung in the balance the right honorable gentleman walked out of the Advisory “War Council because his ego had been wounded, and demanded that other members of his party who were members of that council should also walk out of it. Two members of his party who refused to do so, the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) and the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes), were expelled from the party in consequence, although they were later re-admitted. It is- strange that the right honorable member, who now professes to be so concerned about the safety of Australia, should have permitted two world wars to slip through his fingers without doing anything tan’gible for the safety of this country. “We must remember that fact. We must also remember that the daily press is violently opposed to this fascist-like legislation, because of its potential dangers to democracy. For instance, the Daily Mirror stated -
There should be no misunderstanding about this bill. There should be no loose talk suggesting that any method to suppress com.munism is justified. In order to suppress the loathsome doctrine of communism, the MenziesFadden Government seeks to adopt itself loathsome totalitarian methods.
The article goes on to say -
Nothing was said during the elections that Menzies and his Government would proceed to stamp out the filthy menace of communism to Australia by methods similar to those used by the Gestapo, by fascism, or by the Russian Secret Police.
That newspaper is by no means a sup- . porter of the Labour party. Of course, the Government claims a mandate to ban the Communists. Even if we grant that it has such a mandate, the fact remains that the people did not give it a mandate to impose upon them a “ police state “, which would be the consequence of the passage of this legislation in its original form.
In 1943, when the present honorable member for Mackellar in the House of Representatives (Mr. “Wentworth) was speaking of the present Prime Minister, who had been the leader of his political party, he said -
Mr. Menzies can neither call nor command as a leader. Under his leadership the party broke up, and yet he refuses to co-operate under the leadership of anybody else.
In these circumstances the greatest national Service he can render the party and Australia would be to quit politics.
Those of us who stand for a more vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies’s inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.
His criticism bears out the observation often made of the present Prime Minister that he is a man who cannot lead and will not follow.
– He is leading all right.
– He will lead the country to ruin, with the support of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan), who has just interjected. Had it not been for the outcry raised by the people, led by the Australian Labour party, this iniquitous legislation, which was, I emphasize, inspired by the Prime Minister, would have been enacted. The right honorable gentleman has never faced an enemy and has never faced an issue. He has been an utter failure, even amongst his own followers, in every important issue with which he has been confronted. In 1941, he was thrown out by his own political party as a selfconfessed failure.
– I rise to order.
– It is hurting!
– It is not hurting-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Order! What is the point of order that the Minister desires to raise ?
– I object, first of all, to the remark made by Senator Hendrickson that Senator Sandford’s utterances are hurting me. The fact is that Senator Sandford is wasting the time of the Senate. He has not yet connected one of his remarks with the legislation under discussion. He is indulging in mere vulgar abuse of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies)-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- No point of order is involved. If Senator Sandford connects his remarks with the bill he will be quite entitled to continue.
– It is amazing that the Minister for Trade and Customs, who has just raised a point of order, should himself indulge in cheap abuse.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! The Minister was quite entitled to raise a point of order. I ask Senator Sandford to connect his remarks with the bill.
– I shall deal a little further with the original bill. Obviously, honorable senators opposite do not like the truth. My approach has been this-
– Through the sewer.
– I have already said that the Minister for Trade and Customs is the only one in this chamber fit for the sewer. Probably, that is where he came from.
– I rise to order. I ask that Senator Sandford’s low-down remark be withdrawn. It has emanated from a mind-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.Order! “What is the honorable senator’s point of order?
– I object to the remark that I come from the sewers, and I ask that it be withdrawn. It is most offensive.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Senator Sandford did not reflect on you in any way. I listened to him attentively. It was the Minister for Trade and Customs who first mentioned “ sewer “. Senator Sandford replied to that interjection. I remind Senator Sandford that he must not reply to interjections, and again I nsk him to connect his remarks with th, bill.
– Speaking in the House of Representatives on the 9th September, 1939, the Prime Minister said -
That shows how the right honorable gentleman has changed his mind because, in 1950, he has the colossal effrontery to introduce a totalitarian measure into this Parliament. The clause of the original bill dealing with officers and members of unlawful associations indicates the length to which this fascist Government is prepared to go, and will go, should it obtain a majority in both Houses of the Parliament. There will be no talk of amendments then. Bills such as this measure in its original form will be put through without any hesitation. The Prime Minister is surrounded to-day by a batch of fascist hero-worshippers. Years ago, Sir Charles Marr said that, the rank and file member of the United Australia party had no chance of being heard in the party rooms. Apparently, a similar situation exists to-day. While this bill was before the House of Representatives the honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) circulated an amendment designed to limit the operation of the measure to twelve mouths. That amendment was never moved, and we have not heard anything about it since. Apparently, he was silenced by this would-be Australian fuehrer. Clause 7 requires officers and members of unlawful associations to cease to act as such, and not to display anything to indicate their former association with such organizations. A breach of that provision carries a penalty of five years imprisonment. Under the original measure any body could be “ declared “ on mere suspicion, and premises could be searched without a warrant.
– That is a different clause.
– That does not matter. It was all in the bill. “ Declared “ persons could appeal only to the High Court and that is a course that few people can afford. As I have said, a breach of the provisions of clause 7 carries a penalty of five years imprisonment. The inordinate nature of clause 7 is shown particularly in paragraph (c) of sub-clause (1.) which forbids contributing or soliciting anything to be used directly or indirectly for the benefit of an unlawful association. In other words, people are to be virtually prevented from participating in any public activities that may be construed as being indirectly connected with the work of some unlawful association. Under such legislation, nobody in this community would be safe. It would not be safe to express an opinion when strangers were around. A person could be “ declared “ without knowing what charge had been made against him, or by whom it had been made, and under the original bill he had no redress. The provisions relating to the declaration of Communists and members of unlawful organizations are retrospective to the 10th May, 1948. By executive act, any member of an unlawful association or who was a Communist can be “ declared “ by the publication of his name in the Gazette, as a person engaged, or likely to be engaged, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. Could anything be wider than that? Such a declaration that a person was engaged, or was likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security of the Commonwealth can be made by a peace officer, or any “ authorized person “. Obviously, “ authorized person “ means a person authorized by the Minister himself. Under this measure the Minister would be virtually the dictator of this country.
– A declaration has to be made by the Governor-General.
– That might fool a lot of the people, but we know that, in practice, the “ Governor-General “ in this sense means a Minister, because the Governor-General acts only on the advice of his Ministers. In any case, the original bill was definitely anathema to the people of Australia. The Government has at last realized that, because it has accepted the principles of vital Opposition amendments. In addition, it has circulated a list of thirteen or fourteen amendments of its own. Yesterday morning’s press proclaimed that the Prime Minister would not accept any amendments of the onus of proof provisions, yet the evening press reported that the right honorable gentleman had climbed down and would accept such amendments. When the Prime Minister first introduced the bill it was a matter of “ the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill”. He stated publicly in Sydney that he would not accept any amendments. Now, the bill is a mass of amendments. It is supposed to be aimed at the Communist; but what about the “ red “ and “ pink “ doctors and professors? Does the Government propose to do anything about them? What about the officials of the British Medical Association? They have defied the law of this country for years, and denied the people of this country medical and pharmaceutical benefits to which they are entitled. Are they to be declared subversive? Surely the health of the com munity is important. In fact, health is an integral part of defence.
– Would the honorable senator “declare” them?
– If there was a provision for inane interjectors, I would! certainly declare the honorable senator. This would-be dictator of Australia, Robert Gordon Menzies, would have had a gestapo running around Australia under the provisions of the original bill which honorable senators on the Government side supported so wholeheartedly. A look of grave concern came over the faces of honorable senators opposite when this three page list of amendments was introduced to the chamber. Not long before its introduction those honorable sena-. tors had been telling the Senate that this bill would have to go through and that it was urgent. They charged honorable senators on the Opposition side with not co-operating with the Government. I am certain that the people of Australia will be forever grateful when they realize that honorable senators on the Opposition side have saved them from the introduction of a nazi and fascist state in Australia. Had it not been for the Labour majority in the Senate, the dangers that are inherent in this bill would have been on the statutebook.
The honorable member for Chisholm apparently had been suppressed in the party room after he had circulated an amendment to make the bill operative for twelve months only. I suppose that the honorable member has been put in his place. Irreparable damage could have been done to innocent people in this country through this legislation. It is pleasing to know that the Government has seen the error of its ways and has noted the grave concern of the general public of Australia regarding the dangers of this bill. It has realized that the amendments insisted upon by the Labour party were at least worthy of consideration. The Government has seen that many amendments other than the Labour party intendments should be included in this bill to make it a little more like a demo- cratic measure.
The people of Australia missed this most repressive and vicious legislation only by the skin of their teeth. It is an indication to the people of Australia what the present Government will do if it ever gets power in both Houses of the Parliament. It will be a danger to the people of Australia. Under the original provisions of the bill, it would not have been safe to think. One of its provisions was that anybody who was likely to become engaged in activities prejudicial to the safety of Australia could be declared. That gave a wide power to any government. I was contradicted by the Leader of the Go vernment when I said that anybody could have been declared on mere suspicion and had no right of appeal under the original bill. Any home could have been forcibly entered by a peace officer or by an authorized person without even a warrant I am sure that the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) will not deny that. The people of this country were to be exposed to that ruthless danger with the full support of the Liberal party and Australian Country party members in both Houses.
– That is just wild exaggeration.
– Is the Attorney-General denying that that was in the bill?
– It was not in that form.
– The original bill said that the homes or business premises of anybody could be searched without a search warrant by any authorized person on mere suspicion.
– For certain limited purposes.
– I want the people of Australia to know what kind of vicious legislation the Government would put on the statute-book if it had the opportunity. This bill is a warning to the people of Australia and an indication that the people now realize that they made a mistake on the 10th December. It shows also that the Government does not want to face the electors. There was a lot of talk before about a double dissolution.
– Is the honorable senator going to vote against this bill?
– The AttorneyGeneral has been playing the same old record all the week. For goodness sake give us a change!
– I have been trying to get an answer, but without success.
– The people of Australia now know exactly where the Government stands. They know that the bill has been much watered down only because of the opposition of the great Australian Labour party. I do not deny that one of the factors in the Government’s election policy was to ban the Communist party. I do not hesitate to say that the Australian Labour party has been, still is, and always will be, irrevocably opposed to the Australian Communist party but it is not going to stand for repressive and vicious legislation such as that contained in the machinery clauses of the original bill. The Labour party is determined to go to any extent that is necessary to ensure that the rights and freedoms for which two wars were fought are maintained for every individual in the country. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber are not concerned with any particular sect or “ ism “. Thought will never be killed by legislation and repression. If the Government can ban the Australian Communist party effectively, it can claim that its policy has been endorsed.
– Freedom can be killed by socialism.
– I said that thought cannot be killed by legislation and that applies to any thought whatever. I agree with Voltaire who said -
I do not agree with a word that you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Persecution has never achieved any good. In 1940, a government of the same colour as the present Government but masquerading under another name, banned the Communist party but did not kill it. Actually the Australian Communist party emerged stronger after its banning.
– When the Labour party was returned to office, it let the Communists out again.
– The honorable senator has changed parties so often that it takes him all his time to know what party he is in. In 1940 the antiLabour forces banned the Communist party. What happened? In Victoria, two prominent Communists, Dr. O’Day and Ralph Gibson, stood for Parliament as independents. What would be the position, under this legislation, of a known Communist who sought election to Parliament? Is it suggested that he could be prevented from taking his place if elected? In the last Queensland Parliament there was a well-known Communist, Mr. Paterson. If he were still a member, would the Government consider that it had a right to take action against him under this legislation, and have him dismissed from the State Parliament after being democratically elected to it? I am sure that the Government did not think of those points when the bill was being drawn . The Government knows that the people are afraid of communism, and it is now doing its best to create a fear psychology in their minds on the subject of communism in Australia. The Communist bogy, which has been used so often before, has been pressed into service again by the present Government. However, so great were the clangers inherent in the bill as originally drawn, that there has been such a popular reaction against the measure, that the Government has had to yield to public opinion. Although the Government has been in office for six months, it has not succeeded in getting one measure through the Parliament, and Ministers have had the cheek to say that the delay is due to the obstructionist tactics of the Opposi tion. The Prime Minister is certainly in first place as a muddler and maker of mistakes. As the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) once said of him, he could not lead a flock of homing pigeons. His position as leader is becoming very shaky, as is indicated by the fact that he has been prepared to water down this legislation. The people will be forever grateful to the Labour party for having saved them from the Nazi dictatorship that would have been imposed on them by this fascist Government.
Motion (by Senator McCallum) put -
That the document quoted from by Senator Sandford during his speech be laid on the table.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator T. M. Nicholls.)
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the negative. .
.- I support the bill.
– Which one?
– I support the bill in its entirety. I wish to make my position clear. The vital principle of the bill has not been affected by the various amendments that have been made or proposed, and I support the bill for the specific reason that the people of Australia, after having seen what is happening on the other side of the world, and after witnessing the tactics of Russian communism in Europe and Asia, as well as in our own near north, have given the Government a. mandate to act. The people recognize that, over a long period of years, the Communists in Australia have been playing their part in a world-wide Communist plan. They have been doing their utmost to bring about industrial chaos in Australia so that the people, in desperation, may become willing to accept the Communist doctrine. The parties that support the present Government told the people before the last election that, if they were elected to office, the Communist party in Australia would be banned, and the people in no uncertain terms gave those parties a mandate to dissolve and ban the Communist party.
This afternoon, Senator Sandford took advantage of the fact that proceedings were being broadcast to make a villainous, spiteful and unfair attack on the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). He did so because a general election campaign is in progress in New South Wales, and he tried to put into the minds of the people of that State the idea that there is disunity in the ranks of the supporters of the present Government. His purpose, of course, was to influence voting in New South Wales. Nothing could be farther from the truth than the honorable senator’s suggestion. Unfortunately for honorable senators opposite, the cooperation between the Liberal party and the Australian Country party has never been more effective than it is to-day, and that is what hurts members of the Opposition.
Senator Sandford also tried to associate this measure with inquiries that are being made among Jews in Victoria. He SUE.
gested that if the bill were passed, inquiries of a similar nature would become general. The investigation that is taking place in Victoria was instituted, not because certain persons are Communists, but because unpatriotic statements were made in the course of references to Britain and Australia. When there exist9 a body of citizens . who make no bones about saying that they are not loyal to thi6 country, they should be investigated so that we may know where we stand in relation to them. If their activities are found to be subversive, they should be dealt with. The purpose of this bill is to deal with Communists who, by their disruptive activities, have held back production in Australia. It has been claimed that the bill will not achieve the purpose that we hope it will, and that no benefit will be derived from banning the Communist party, because the only result of the ban would be to drive the Communists underground. Senator Sandford said that the Communist party made greater progress under a ban than it made when it was free to operate openly. I say that that is not correct. If the Communist party were banned, its activities would be curtailed and its progress impeded. In support of that statement, I shall quote a passage from the book An Outline History of the Australian Communist Party written by Mr. Sharkey. It is as follows :-
Despite the fact that the Party consolidated and showed healthy growth in the illegal period and the Party Press appeared regularly, the ban hampered the work of the Party. Contrary to the opinion of romanticists and leftists, the Communist Party had no desire for illegal conditions of work. An open legal Party had greater opportunity for growth and mass contact than an illegal one.
– The honorable senator is apparently prepared to accept Sharkey’s word.
– Sharkey should knowsomething about the operations of communism. That is what he said about the progress of his party when a ban was imposed upon it. It has been said that the present Prime Minister has changed his attitude towards the banning of communism. When the right honorable gentleman went abroad, he had an opportunity to see, at first hand, some of the activities of the Communist party in Europe. I believe that what he saw led him to come to the conclusion that it was his duty to agree to a ban being imposed upon the Communist party in this country.
Senator O’Flaherty attacked honorable senators on this side of the chamber because they had criticized the Australian Peace Council. He said that supporters of this Government were bound at all times to ridicule any move for peace, because the capitalist system forced them to do so. We have attacked the Australian Peace Council because we believe it to be Communist dominated. It fits into the pattern of the Communist technique. The Communists persuade some persons to establish organizations; then they infiltrate the organizations, and ultimately assume control of them. That is what has happened in relation to the Australian Peace Council. I point out to honorable senators opposite who have attacked us for saying that the Council is Communist controlled, that the Federal Executive of the Labour party also has declared the organization to be one that is controlled by Communists. In those circumstances, we were surely within our rights in saying what we did say about it.
It has been said that this bill is designed only for the purpose of smashing trade unionism in this country. If I thought that for one moment that that was the purpose of the bill, I should be one of the first to oppose it. The intention of the Government in introducing the bill is to give the trade union movement of this country an opportunity to stabilize itself and become an instrument of progress. At the present time, the movement is hampered by the Communists who have obtained control of some trade unions, and up to the present time no government has given it an opportunity to rid itself of the Communists within its ranks. This measure, if passed, will give trade unionists an opportunity to clean up their movement. I believe in decent trade unionism, because it is a force for good in the community. Decent trade unions should be preserved, but they should not be allowed to come under the control of a Communist minority that desires, first, to overthrow the unions, and eventually, to overthrow this community.
Several honorable senators opposite have said that the Government, by accepting suggestions for amendments made by the Opposition has exhibited signs of weakness. I deny that. The actions of the Government have been in conformity with the principles of democracy. The Government, having introduced a measure into the Parliament, has shown that, after the measure has been discussed, it is prepared to consider making amendments that will improve it. The treatment that the Opposition is receiving at the hands of this Government is very different from that which the present Government parties received from the Labour party when they were in Opposition. For eight years, the position in the Parliament was that a bill was introduced, after, it had been considered by Caucus, and any amendments proposed by the Opposition were rejected out of hand, irrespective of whether the measure would have been improved if they had been accepted. We are showing the people of this country that the Commonwealth Parliament still works along democratic lines. We are prepared to consider any amendments that are suggested. If they are reasonable and will not affect the vital principles of the bill, they will be considered sympathetically.
I do not believe that the foreshadowed amendments will make very much difference to the bill. I am not a lawyer, but my view of the effect of the present provisions relating to the onus of proof is that if a person is declared, he has an opportunity to appeal to a court, and that if he does that and then enters the witness box and swears that he is not a Communist, the onus of proof shifts to the Crown. The foreshadowed amendments are necessary only because the Opposition, realizing that the Government had a definite mandate for this measure and was prepared to introduce it, was afraid that the measure would do what the Government wanted it to do. Therefore, the Opposition endeavoured to create in the minds of the public a fear complex. They did not wish to give the people a true interpretation of the clauses of the bill. They hoped that, by creating a fear complex, they would get the Government “ on the run “. The foreshadowed amendments are designed to ensure that, despite what the Opposition has said, the public will know that the Government proposes to act along the lines that it indicated to the people prior to the 10th December, Honorable senators opposite have indulged in humbug about the Government retreating and bowing only to their opinions. What the Government proposes to do is to counter the fear complex that the Opposition has created by making its intentions so clear that a boy in the street can understand them.
I have been amused, in the course of this debate, to hear honorable senators opposite say that, over the years, the Labour party has been the only political party to fight communism successfully. That is not borne out bv the facts. Over the years, the Labour party has not fought communism. Indeed, in 1921, it opened its doors to communism. In J une of that year, an all-Australian trade union conference was held in Melbourne. That conference passed a resolution which provided that the objective of the nationalization of industry and the means of production, distribution and exchange should be made part and parcel of the policy of the Labour party. The resolution was placed before the Brisbane conference of the Labour party and was accepted, despite the argument that it would have an adverse effect upon the Labour movement in the future. The resolution was opposed by Mr. Theodore and Mr. McCormack. They pointed out that the Labour party, by adopting that communistic objective as a plank of its platform, was trying only to placate a certain section of the community. The resolution was accepted, and that objective is still a plank of the Labour party’s platform. It is also a plank of the platform of the Communist party. There is no evidence that the fight waged by the Labour movement against communism has been very strenuous. Having regard to the association of the Labour party with Communists over the years, it is clear why, on the 10th December last, the people decided that they would entrust 1he present Government parties with the task of combating the Communist menace. For years, a number of prominent mem bers of the Labour party have been very sympathetic to and associated with some Communist movements. Consider the case of Mr. Olive Evatt, a Minister of the New South Wales Government. At one time he was president of the AustralianRussian Friendship Society.
– That is not a Communist organization.
– The Labour party declared it to be a Communist organization, and forced Mr. Evatt to resign from his position as president. In 1947, Mr. Olive Evatt attended a concert given by the Communist party. After the show, in a speech to the assembled guests, he said -
For economic stability, a high standard of living, general contentment of the people, the Russian Government deserves the greatest commendation. . . . Let us congratulate the Russian democracy on its 30th birthday.
I point out that Mr. Olive Evatt is one of the leading Labour men in this country. Although the Opposition claims that Labour has fought communism, Mr. Evatt associated himself with the Communists in making that statement. The Communist party arranged to hold a meeting in the Sydney Town Hall, and quite a number of people were asked to attend, including the then AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt). His secretary replied to the invitation as follows: -
The Attorney-General wishes me to acknowledge receipt of your invitation. If he cannot attend, he will endeavour to send a message to the meeting in the Town Hall.
That was during the period that communism was banned in Australia. How can honorable senators opposite seriously claim that Labour has been fighting communism ?
– At that time, Mr. Winston Churchill and Marshal Stalin were co-operating.
– In 1944, the Labour Government then in office proposed fourteen amendments of the Constitution. They formed a campaign committee consisting of the then Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), the Attorney-General, and two other Australian Labour party members, and three Communists, namely, Mr. Chandler, the organizing secretary of the Communist party, Mr. Jeffrey, secretary of the Sydney branch of the
Communist party, and Mr. T. Wright, a member of the central executive of the party. Although Labour enlisted the help of the Communist party, honorable senators opposite still claim that members of the Australian Labour party are the only people who can fight communism. They contend that they have been fighting it for years. At the 1948 Easter Conference of the Victorian Labour party, the then Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) said that those who were opposing communism were suffering from a phobia, and that what they had to do was to fight capitalism and not worry about communism. Honorable senators opposite have stated that at election time the Liberal party had leaned to the Communists more than had the Labour party. I contend that Labour has not always fought communism as it should, and has not always tried to see that Communists were not elected. When an election was held in New South Wales - -
– Was Sharkey given position number 26 ?
– He was placed at the bottom where he ought to have been. I shall not be side-tracked by the honorable senator who has just interjected. At the Cobar by-election, held on the 12th March, 1949, “ How to Vote Labour “ cards were issued on the authority of Mr. W. E. Dickson, M.L.C., Parliament House, Sydney. He was a responsible Minister of the Crown. The tickets were printed by the Worker Print, Sydney, being job No. 5205. Electors were advised to vote for the Labour candidate, Mr. E. Wetherell. first, the Communist candidate, Mr. H. J. F. McMeekin, second, and another Communist candidate, Mr. H. O. Campbell, third.
– Order! In what way does the honorable senator relate his remarks to the bill ?
– I contend that my remarks relate to the bill, because of the arguments that have been advanced by the Opposition that it is fighting communism, and that by this measure the Government is not fighting communism. This “ How to Vote Labour “ ticket shows that at that time the Labour party co operated with the Communist party.I ask for leave to incorporate this original “ How to Vote Labour “ ticket in Hansard.
– Is leave granted ?
Leave not granted.
– ‘Some honorable senators opposite have claimed that the Communists have had no say in selecting Australian Labour party candidates for endorsement. I say that they have. Every member of an affiliated union who pays union fees is a member of the Australian Labour party. Therefore, Communists have a very definite influence on the candidates that may be selected. In 1947 the affiliated unions paid £6,220 as dues to the Labour party in Victoria. The Australian Labour party branches paid only £787, as dues in that year. Although the Labour party takes cash from Communist members of affiliated unions, it falsely asserts that Communists cannot join the Labour party.
– Which unions?
– The Amalgamated Engineers Union, the Australian Engineers. Union, the Miners’ Federation, the Tramway and Motor Omnibus Employees Union, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Union, the Waterside Workers’ Federation, the Clothing Trade Union, the Plumbers Union, the Liquor Trades Union, the Meat Employees Union, and the Dockers and Ship Painters Union, are affiliated with the Labour party. Their members, by paying dues, become members of the Australian Labour party automatically.
Senator Hannaford. - I rise to order. Is Senator Grant in order interjecting?
– Honorable senators have been members of this chamber long enough to know that all interjections are disorderly.
– The members of those unions - some of them Communistcontrolled - have a say in the selection of candidates for election to the Parliament. For that reason I contend that they must have some influence. And it is probably that influence that is making the Opposition put up a fight to make this bill inoperative. The attitude adopted by the Australian Labour party at these different conferences is not well received by some prominent members of the community. On the 27th October, 1947, Archbishop Mannix is reported to have said -
All sane and wise Christian people were shocked at the spectacle of a prominent politician in the Federal Parliament stating that there was little or no difference between communism and Christianity.
Mr. Keon, Labour M.L.A. in Victoria at the time, but now a member of the House of Representatives, is reported in the press of the 27th March, 1948, to have said -
The first blow at the Chifley Government had been struck when a senior Minister told them they need not worry about communism. lt was regrettable that a delegate should state that people who opposed communism were suffering from a phobia. I would like to know if the silence of the Chifley Government means that they endorse this doctrine.
Archbishop Duhig is reported to have said -
I warn men and women of the land, who by the sweat of their own brows have built up homes and reared families, to beware that socialisation leads only one way, and that if it prevails communism, which is its natural consequence, will swifty be on the doorstep to take its place and bring about in Australia the conditions of serfdom that have replaced freedom in so many countries of Europe today.
– The honorable senator is proving that the Government intends to get at the Labour party as well as at the Communists.
– The provisions of the bill are quite clear. By his repeated interjections, Senator Grant is trying to create in the minds of the community the feeling that this bill is designed to crush everybody other than Liberal party or Country party supporters. There was never any intention of that. Under the terms of the bill that cannot be done. The amendments suggested set out the position quite clearly. The bill has been introduced in accordance with the mandate that the Government received from the people. I support the bill before the chamber. If the bill is read correctly, and not misinterpreted - as it has been - there is no reason for any one to fear that the will of the people expressed on the 10th December last will not be given effect. The Communist party shall be dissolved and its members dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the bill.
– With apologies to Robert Burns, I would say that I wish the powers some “ gif tie gie “ that would enable honorable senators opposite to understand the true intentions of the Government as I see them.
– I should think the honorable senator would apologize to Burns.
– I consider that a grave mistake will be made if this measure is placed on the statute-book of thi3 country, and that we shall live to regret it. I quite agree with the view that has been expressed by honorable senators opposite that the Government has a mandate from the people to suppress or outlaw communism. In fact, the supporters of the anti-Labour parties featured that subject during the last general election campaign. As the people endorsed their candidature, we must assume that they were given a mandate to do something about communism in thi* country. But whether the people would approve of the methods by which the Government is setting out to outlaw thc Communist party is an entirely different matter. I am not convinced that thb majority of the people of Australia, when seised with the full significance of certain clauses of this measure, would approve of the Government’s proposed method to deal with the Communist party. Whilst members of the anti-Labour parties claim that they have a mandate to do something about communism, we seriously question the method that they propose to adopt to deal with communism. What is the real intention of. the Government in seeking to outlaw the Communists ? Does the Government fear the Communists as a political party ? It cannot do so because the result of the last election demonstrated that the Communists are a negligible minority. Does the Government fear that the Communists will jeopardize the defence of the country if we become involved in war with Russia? I cannot believe that that is the Government’s reason, because the Government already has ample powers to deal with all the known Communists in Australia.
– But only after the damage has been done.
– I assume from the remark just made by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) that the Government fears that the Communists will sabotage our defence works. I say to honorable senators in all seriousness that if there were any likelihood of war occurring between Australia and Russia all the known Communists would be placed under detention overnight. We should have nothing to fear from the Healys, the Sharkeys and the Thorntons, who are all avowed Communists, because we know what any government would do with them in the event of war. They would be placed where they could do no harm.
Having disposed of two of the alleged reasons for the introduction of this measure, the only remaining reason is that the Government wants to outlaw Communists from industry in Australia. But does the Government really believe that by implementing this suppressive legislation it will effectively outlaw communism in this country? Does it really believe that by “ declaring “ Sharkey and other known Communists in the industrial movement it will succeed in suppressing the Communist party? If members of the Government really hold that belief it does not reflect much credit on their intelligence. However, I am convinced that the Government has other motives.
– The honorable senator is quite wrong in that supposition.
– I am pleased to hear the Minister say that, but. I am Scotch and I feel that his reply is not entirely satisfactory. Having secured the known Communists in the industrial movement and having suppressed the Communist party, what is to happen then ? Will that be the end of strikes and of leaders of the industrial movement who advocate direct action? Certainly not. Long before the Communists were thought of in this country we had militant industrial leaders who advocated direct action to obtain their industrial rights; and so long as trade unions exist in this country I hope that we will always have militant leaders who will see to it that the working class receives the justice to which it is entitled.
– What does the honorable senator mean by “ direct action “ ?
– I say that it is the right of all industrialists to take direct action if they so desire. That has been an accepted right of trade unionism throughout its history in Australia. Once that right is taken away, militant trade unionism would be entirely suppressed, and we should enter upon a stage of “ company unionism “, which would, of course, accord with the desire of many honorable senators opposite. Let us consider what will become of the Communists whom the Government proposes to outlaw under this legislation. After the legislation has been implemented we are entitled to assume that no Communists will be left in the industrial movement. The Government will not then be able to “ declare “ the leaders of militant trade unions, because it will be an accepted fact that all Communists have been removed from the unions. But what, is to become of the allegedly Communist leaders who will be removed from the trade unions? We shall simply drive them from an open camp into organizations under which they will take shelter and we shall not know where they are. They might, for instance, become part and parcel of the Liberal-Country League in South Australia.
Government supporters interjecting,
– Honorable senators opposite- may laugh, but if I know anything about the organization of the Liberal-Country League, that organization cannot protect its members from infiltration by Communists.
– That is not correct.
– There will be nothing to prevent “ under-cover “ Communists from joining branches of that political organization, and they can then proceed to consolidate their position in it. Since it is not a registered trade union, it would not be long before some branch of the organization brought itself within the ambit of this legislation. Similarly, it would be impracticable to prevent Communists from further infiltrating other political parties, including the Australian Labour party. So much for that. I repeat that I do not believe that the real desire of the Government is to deal with Communists. I believe that its real intention is to “ get at “ militant leaders of the trade unions.
– The honorable senator is quite wrong.
– I have listened attentively to the debates that have taken place on various subjects in this chamber, and it is significant that honorable senators opposite always return to the attack on the trade union movement. Senator Reid admitted in the course of his remarks that the only people whom he could imagine being affected by this legislation are the leaders of the trade union movement, who, he said, are causing so much havoc in industry. But we can never prevent union leaders from causing disruption, and I hope that no legislation will ever be passed that will take away the right of the workers to take such action as they think fit to obtain justice.
What, after all, has caused the infiltration of the national life of this country by Communists? It is not hard to realize its origin if we cast our minds back a few years. Senator Kendall said last night that communism originated in Australia about 1927, and I accept that date as being approximately correct. Until then we did not have known Communists taking an active part in the industrial life of this country. Those individuals who advocated militancy in industrial matters were then known by some other ‘ name. However, the background for the expansion of communism was established during the fearful years of the depression. Conditions such as those which prevailed during the depression breed communism, and the state of society at that time was directly responsible for the growth of communism in this country. After all, can- we blame people, who had to line up in queues in order to obtain a bare ration of food, for listening to the propaganda of the Communists, who advocated that by changing the capitalist system the community would be better off? Shortly after the depression had passed we entered upon another frightful war, and the Communists, who had been preaching their doctrine to the trade union movement, had by that time infiltrated the unions and had succeeded in capturing the leadership of a number of important trade unions. How did the Communists achieve that? They were able to do so because the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, whose duty it was to fix wages and conditions in industry, was hopelessly overworked, with the result that considerable discontent existed in many unions. I do not blame the court, for not being able to do everything- that was expected of it. I blame the Government of the day, which expected the three judges of the court to deal with all the industrial disputes that arose throughout Australia. The procedure followed by unions which desired the court to redress their grievances was to file a formal claim in the court and await a hearing of that claim. Most of the trade unions were satisfied with that system, but, as I have already said, considerable delays occurred, and the Communist element which had obtained control of certain unions, adopted a different technique. The implementation of their new technique certainly “got them places “, and the Commonwealth Arbitration Court unwittingly assisted them because of the prolonged delays that occurred in the hearing of claims. On every occasion that the court refused immediately to consider their grievances, the Communist trade union leaders threatened industrial trouble and said that they would bring the wheels of industry to a stop. In practice, they did not often need to do so, because the court would invariably put aside the claims of more moderate unions that were awaiting hearing in order to deal with the claims of the militant unions which were threatening trouble. In that way, the Communists brought about a break-down in our system of industrial arbitration. I have repeatedly heard Communist trade union leaders advocating that their method was the only one to obtain quick decisions. The success of their method caused ordinary, reasonable unionists to believe that the Communists were right and that the only way in which they could obtain redress of their grievances was to by-pass the Arbitration Court. Many union leaders acquired the psychology that the wheel that squeaks most gets the grease, and it is a fact that the wheel that squeaked did get the grease. The result was that those men became strongly entrenched in the industrial movement.
– Honorable senators opposite do not understand that.
– Probably not, but it has been a lifelong study with me.
.- This bill must stand or fall on the truth of its preamble. In any examination that we make of the measure, we must bear in mind continually what is stated in that preamble, and apply it as a touchstone to test the rightness and necessity for both the principle and the provisions of the bill. If, as the preamble states, the Communist party is a subversive, terrorist association, organized in the interests of a foreign power and with the object of causing economic misery in Australia so that a revolution may overthrow our system of government, that fact must colour our judgment of the principle and the provisions of the bill. In the examination that we are making of this bill, I ask the Senate to bear that preamble in mind, and- to consider whether it states the truth. It is right, I believe, that a keen examination should be made of a measure of this kind, because it does contain provisions that will result in some reduction of the f’ull civil rights that we have hitherto enjoyed, and it does contain an unusual provision for the abolition of a political party. In these circumstances, it is the Parliament’s right and duty to subject the measure to the keenest scrutiny.
Although I do not agree with the arguments that have been advanced by honorable senators opposite, or share their fears, it is as well that those arguments should be advanced, and that those fears should be expressed, because, in that way, and by counter-examination, the Senate and the people of Australia at large can form a proper judgment of the value of those arguments, the validity of those fears, and the worth of the bill generally. Before I proceed to that examination, I must express regret at the tone that was introduced- into this debate by Senator Sandford. When we are discussing a matter of the urgency and importance of this legislation, to take up the time of the Senate and of the nation by making a scurrilous attack on a man greater in stature that Senator Sandford could ever hope to be, and to hurl accusations of fascism at a party, a great number of the members of - which fought and bled in the fight against fascism, can only lower the tone of the debate, and emphasize the party line that the Communists are trying to foist on this country. I hope that we shall not again hear such an ill-bred and unwarranted attack during the discussion of a matter of such importance as the bill now before the Senate. I said it was right that this bill should be thoroughly and keenly examined and that it was as well that the Opposition had advanced arguments against the measure. I believe also that a great deal of criticism that has been levelled at the bill has been misleading, untrue, and in many instances, I fear, shaped by the hope of gaining some political advantage. I hope that tie truth of that statement will become apparent as our examination of the measure continues.
The first provision that we find on examining this measure is that providing for the dissolution of the Communist party. Here, the attitude of the Opposition throughout is, generally speaking, that as the Government has a mandate to dissolve the Communist party, honorable senators opposite will not vote against the proposal. However, their attitude also is that they believe tbv action to be wrong in principle, and useless, because it will not attain the ends that it is designed to attain.
– No; because it will suppress the trade union movement.
– I thank the honorable senator for pointing to the truth of the statement that I have made. Over and over again, we have been told that the proposal to ban the Communist party is wrong ‘and useless because it represents an attempt to crush an idea, and that, in the classic phrase, “ You cannot impale an idea on the point of a bayonet “. That argument, to which honorable senators opposite have directed considerable attention, is one with which I can thoroughly agree; but the fact that it has been brought up in this debate shows a complete and utter misconception of what the bill is designed to do, and of the provisions that the bill contains. The bill is not intended or designed to crush an idea, and it contains no provisions directed towards that end. It is designed solely to ‘prevent treacherous actions, directed by a power outside this country, at the economic well-being and safety of Australia. The Government is not saying to any one, “ You must not hold or propagate certain ideas, upon pain of imprisonment, fine or death “. It is saying. “ If you hold certain ideas then you cannot also hold positions through which the action that you are likely to take as the result of those ideas will cause misery, suffering and death to your fellow Australians “. That is the whole purpose of the bill - to prevent action and not to crush thought. Therefore, all the quite truthful but irrelevant statements that thought cannot be crushed do not apply either to the principle or to the .provisions of this measure. If the bill can succeed in removing people from positions before they have an opportunity to carry out treasonable actions instead of afterwards; if it can even partially succeed in doing that, it will have achieved what it set out to achieve, and it will have. 1 believe, rendered a service to all the people of Australia. I emphasize again that this bill is not an attempt to suppress ideas. It is merely an attempt to prevent action as the result of an idea - action directed from without. On the question whether, even in these circumstances, action such as this by a democratic government is justified, I refer honorable senators once again to the preamble to the bill because therein, I believe, lies the whole justification for the steps that we are seeking to take. If the preamble is true, then we have ample justification for this measure. In examining, as I believe we should examine, whether the preamble is true, we have already had brought to our notice by various speakers on both sides of the chamber, what has been happening in the world recently. We have seen - and it is well that we should keep it in mind - Russian power sweep through the Balkans, through Albania, Bulgaria. Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the Latvian States. Tn every instance that power has been imposed on a people by the force of arms from without, aided by a treacherous minority within. Coming closer to the shores which it is our peculiar duty to protect, we have seen the Communists sweep down through China and into Burma. We have the spectacle to-day of murderous bands of Chinese ranging through Malaya, killing and ravaging. They are not in the guise of patriots; they are not even Malayans. They are Chinese sent from abroad at the behest of the power that we are trying to fight by means of this measure. Even SO, we still find in this country people who condone the actions of those Chinese bandits and so make themselves accessories after the fact of murder.
– Who condones such action ?
– The “ Red Dean “, the Communist dominated Australian Peace Council, which the executive of the Australian Labour party opposes, and various other organizations. I do not say that the honorable senator or his party condones the activities of those murderers, but they are condoned by Communists and Communist sympathizers in this country. That should bring home to us the danger in which we stand. We are called upon to make a decision in the light of what is happening abroad and coming closer and closer to this country. The objectives of the Comintern arc written as plainly as the objectives of Hitler in “Mein Kampf”. They are there for all to read. That is the justification that I put before the Australian people and before the Senate for taking this step to prevent treacherous action. Objections have been raised not only to the justification for this step, but also to the necessity for it. We have heard various arguments that have sought to show that this is not the correct method by which to attain the ends that we seek to attain, and, in some instances, arguments that have sought to show that there is no necessity for any action at all. I shall deal briefly with the latter arguments. Foremost amongst them, perhaps, is the argument that if the conditions of economic misery in which communism breeds are removed, the danger of communism will be removed also. There is a grain of truth in that argument, but in this country, which, amongst the nations m the world is a “ have “ country, conditions of economic hardship have been so far removed already - I do not suggest that they have been yet removed far enough - that there is no justification for saying that therein is the root of communism in this country. That is proved, if proof be necessary, by the smallness of the number of Communists in this country. Further, communism does not breed only in economic misery. We have, and we shall always have, the misfits, the psychiatric cases, people who believe that their outstanding gifts are not sufficiently appreciated by those around them. Their spirit turns sour within them. They lust for power and seek to overthrow any one who crosses their path. In these people there is a fruitful source of communism. That is the source from which the Communists in this country draw their strength. They do not get it from the economic misery of to-day or recent years.
Honorable senators have been told that action can and should be taken under existing laws. It has been suggested that the Crimes Act and other laws could be used to deal with anybody who commits high treason. Those who express that view have completely missed the point. What the Government is seeking to do is not to punish people after they have committed treason and after they have caused damage and loss to the people of Australia. That is all that the Government could do under existing laws. So far as it can do so the Government wants to prevent such people from carrying out treason before it is done. That is why it is not right or proper to rely on laws which depend on an offence being committed before they can be used. It may be too late after sabotage has been committed to apply laws which depend for their application on some overt act.
– Doe9 not the honorable senator believe Mr. Justice Lowe’s report ?
– If the honorable senator could read it, I doubt if he could understand it. He should be careful that somebody does not throw a brick at him and make him run away. It has been said that Communists are in such small numbers that they are scarcely worth bothering about. The danger from Communists does not arise from their numbers but from the positions in which they have been able to place themselves. Those positions have been carefully chosen so that they are in the exact place where the Communists can carry on sabotage and espionage and create economic disruption. Their activities are directed at both the Public: Service and the trade unions.
If a good deal of discussion in this debate has centred on the trade unions, it is because the debate has been brought hack to that subject continually by honorable senators on the opposite side of the chamber who have shown no fear of the effects of this measure except as it applies to the trade unions. If the bill is wrong for one section, it is wrong for all. If it is right for one section, it is right for all. The influence of the Communists lies .solely in the positions that they hold in the life of this country. Surely it will be agreed by most people that the whole object of the Communists has been, and still is, to use force, fraud and blackmail on unionists. They have placed themselves in positions from which they can use force, threats and blackmail to hold their positions and impose their will on the Australian people. The recent history of the Federated Clerk9 Union of Australia, Federated Society of Boilermakers, and the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia, shows that those are the tactics adopted- by Communists for the reasons that I have given.
Taking an objective view, I believe that there are honorable senators opposite who have fought strongly against Communists during most of their lives. I believe that the Australian Labour movement as a whole has been struggling with communism, but the struggle has been carried on within its own ranks and has not been directed to destroying communism outside the party. Although the Labour party has been partially successful, it has not been completely successful yet. The methods used in the Federated Clerks Union elections and through the machinery of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to eliminate Communists from union ranks are right and proper. There is nothing in this bill to prevent the unions from carrying on the fight in exactly the same way. But in view of the preamble to this bill and the danger that the Communists present to the whole Australian people, it is wrong to ask any government to abdicate to the unions its responsibilities for getting rid of the Communists who are out to wreck this country. I cannot agree with those honorable senators, including Senator McKenna, who said that that responsibility should be left in the hands of the trade unions. Every member of this chamber knows well that although the struggle has been going on, all the key industries, including those associated with defence and transport are still dominated by Communist executives.
If the power of Communist executives over non-Communist membership is doubted there is need to look only at what happened in Victoria two days ago. In spite of a twelve to one vote against a strike, a Communist executive was able to (.all a strike and the rank and file could do nothing but comply. It has been said that the Government is under a misapprehension in believing that this measure will stop strikes. The bill is not designed or intended to stop strikes, but surely all honorable senators will agree that if it is successful, it will stop one particular type of strike to which all responsible men are opposed. That is the type of political strike which prevented ships from sailing to the Dutch East Indies and caused the recent coal strike. The coal-fields dispute was a political strike. Labour members and their leaders agreed that it was not designed for industrial gain but to impose the will of a minority on the people and to cause the greatest possible damage to the economy of the nation in the shortest possible time. If militant Labour men, instead of persons who owe allegiance to Russia, were in the key positions of the unions they would confine their activities to strikes which were directed to industrial ends, and not towards strikes of the type that I have mentioned.
Attacks have been made on the bill in this chamber and in another place and amendments have been foreshadowed largely as a result of those discussions. It seems very peculiar to me that some honorable senators on the opposite side of the chamber now contend that there have been too many amendments to the bill. How they can see anything discreditable in the bill because it has been amended escapes my comprehension. A bill of this nature needs first to be effective against the people at whom it is aimed. Secondly, it should not be possible to use it against those it is not aimed to touch. Such a bill requires a full discussion and should be thoroughly debated by the Parliament. If the bill is amended and welded into a better implement for carrying out the will of the people as a result of that discussion and opinions put forward by the members of different parties, surely that is something of which a government should be proud, rather than something for which it should be blamed. It is the parliament acting at its highest level. That is very different from passing a bill in minute detail through a party caucus, where the public are not admitted, bringing it into the Parliament and contemptuously refusing to listen to any amendments at all. That happened in connexion with the 1947 Banking Bill. The previous Government refused to listen to the clearly expressed wish of the people that the bill should not ‘he proceeded with. I am pleased that this Government is treating the Parliament in a different way. I suggest that it is a complete answer, if any were needed, to the silly and irresponsible cries of fascism which have been levelled at this Government by some of the less responsible honorable senators on the opposite side. I believe that the majority of the people of Australia will be pleased to see the Parliament working in the way in which it was meant to work.
The other arguments used against this bill have been largely met. As the Senate was told by ‘Senator Tate, people can see how the onus of proof will work and how they are to be safeguarded. As far as I can see, the amendments are designed to make this bill deal only with Communists. The amendments relating to the onus of proof have made it absolutely certain that the bill cannot be used against any one other than those against whom it is ostensibly aimed. There must always be a danger of some innocent person being charged under any law made by a parliament. People are charged under the law with murder and robbery. The only way to prevent the possibility of an innocent person from being charged under a law is to refrain from enacting a law. In view of what I have said, and of the amendments, I suggest that it is at least as unlikely that any innocent person would be charged under this bill as it is under any other law. Even if there were any chance of an innocent person being charged, and we must direct our attention to the most tenuous chance, there will be as many safeguards against that innocent person being convicted as those existing under any other law. In fact, I believe there are more safeguards.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
– I agree chat this bill should be thoroughly examined by the Senate. It is an extraordinary piece of legislation. It confers on the Executive powers to which we are not used, and it involves some diminution of rights to which we have become accustomed. Therefore, although I do not accept the arguments which the Opposition has advanced, nor do I share their fears about the results which this legislation will produce, I think it is well that the arguments should be advanced, and the fears stated, so that honorable senators, and the people of Australia, can exercise their judgment on the value of the arguments and the validity of the fears.
The bill should be considered, bearing in mind the preamble which states, in effect, that the Communist party, against which the measure is directed, is a subversive and terrorist organization. It is not a political party at all, but an organization which, at the direction of a foreign power, seeks to disrupt the economy of Australia in the interests of a foreign power, and to take advantage of the resultant misery in order to bring about a political revolution, and to overthrow the existing form of government. I suggest that the Opposition, by not objecting to the proposal to dissolve the Communist party, has accepted the truth of the propositions set forth in the preamble in which is to be found the justification for this legislation. I trust that our consideration of the bill will not again be marred by irresponsible and ill- informed statements about the Prime Minister and the Government. If the preamble of the bill is correct, then it ill becomes members of the Opposition to hurl charges of fascism against members of the Government. Many supporter:of the Government, like many members of the Opposition, shed their blood (.< defend Australia against fascism, and they are now using their talents in the service of their country. I hope that no further attempt will be made to employ guttersnipe tactics in the course of this debate.
The arguments against the bill should be examined in the light of the propositions stated in its preamble. Honorable members of the Opposition have said that, the bill is wrong in principle and that it is not right in a democracy to ban any political party. With the preamble in mind, I say that the Communist party is in no sense a political party, as we in Australia understand that expression. If we believe that the Communist party was formed to advance a particular political philosophy and to persuade a majority of the people of Australia to accept that philosophy with the idea of eventually electing by constitutional means a government to give effect to that philosophy, then there would be no justification for taking action against the Communist party. However, if we believe, as the preamble to the bill states, and as most reasonable people in Australia believe, that the Communist party is not a political party, but a terrorist organization formed to further the interests of Russia by following the dictates of the Comintern, and to use fraud and blackmail and force to get its members into positions where they can use fraud and blackmail and fore against the people of Australia, then we are justified in declaring the Communis? party an illegal organization. Indeed, it is no more a political party than i? “ Murder Incorporated “, that strange organization that was discovered to exist in the United States of America. If it if argued that, because the Communist, party runs candidates at elections as n blind, it is to be regarded as a political party, and should not, therefore, be interfered with, then “ Murder Incorporated “ could, by running candidates at elections, demand freedom from interference while plotting assassinations, and could claim to be subject to legal sanctions only after it, had committed its crimes.
Besides denying that there is any justification for this legislation, members of the Opposition have also argued that it is unnecessary. Right throughout the debate, they have argued that Communists can be dealt with effectively under existing legislation. I point out, however, that under existing legislation action can be taken only after the law has been broken. In this bill the Government, in accordance with the wishes of the people, is attempting to prevent persons from breaking the law, rather than to punish them after they have broken the law. There is no provision in the bill for crushing any idea or opinion. Its purpose is to hinder or prevent treacherous behaviour by persons holding Communist ideas. We are not saying to any one, “ You must not hold or propagate this idea, or you will be punished “. We merely say, “ If you hold Communist beliefs, you cannot also hold a position in which your actions, inspired by those beliefs, may bring misery and degradation, and even death, to your fellow Australians “.
We have also been told that the bill will not work and that it will not achieve its purpose. Only the future can determine that point, but I believe we have a much better chance of achieving our purpose through this legislation than by sitting down and doing nothing at all. Although I believe that many members of the Australian Labour party have fought hard against communism in the ranks of their own organizations, I do not know of any instance in which they have tried to protect the people generally against injury from Communists. We have been told what the Labour Government did during the coal strike. It is true that some of the leaders of the strike were gaoled, and that the Government eventually brought the strike to an end. That, however, did not make the Labour Government the victor in the struggle. Actually, the ‘Communists won the strike. Their purpose in fomenting the .strike w.as to disrupt the economy of the country, ito prevent .’houses from being ,:DUET;. and ‘to delay the -production of goods so urgently needed in Australia. In that design they succeeded, in spite of the fact that the Labour Government, on its own admission, knew that the strike was being planned, and that its purpose was political rather than industrial. The purpose of the bill is to prevent Communist victories of that kind. The bill will not prevent strikes, but it will prevent the particular kind of strike that is instigated, not to benefit the workers, but to hamper industrial activity at the dictation of a ruthless international organization acting on instructions from Russia. All of us in this Senate agree that strikes of that kind do take place, and that if the agents of Russia can be removed from the positions in which they can instigate such strikes there will be less possibility of such strikes in the future. If this legislation only partly succeeds in preventing strikes of that kind, it will he of great benefit to the Australian people.
It is now proposed that the bill should apply only to Communist organizations, and members of the Communist party. The amendments foreshadowed by the Government would strengthen the bill, without destroying any of its effectiveness. It is strange that the Government should be attacked for adopting amendments that were suggested by the Opposition itself. In any case, this is not a. party measure. All parties, except the Communist -party, can agree on the general principles of the bill. It is difficult to prepare legislation that will be .effective , against the Communists without harming .some persons who are not Communists. Therefore, when legislation finally comes before the Parliament, it is .only reasonable that it should be debated, that all opinions should -be heard, and that the bill should be amended, if necessary, to incorpor ate -any suggestions of value that have been made. I am very .proud to see that -the Parliament is once more functioning as ;a national forum in .which the wisdom of the .elected .representatives -of the people can be brought to bear effectively upon national problems. That is ho.w the Parliament -was meant to wor,k, and it -is better that it -should work in that -way than that legislation -should -be ‘framed :by .caucus, and that -the Parliament should be treated with contempt by an Executive that refuses to accept amendments, and proceeds in defiance of the clearly expressed opinion of the people. A glaring example of that was provided in connexion with the Banking Bill introduced by the Labour Government in 1947. I hope that the Parliament will continue to function in the way it is now doing, because I believe it is the way in which the majority of the Australian people wish it to function.
I believe that it will be possible, even if the foreshadowed amendments are accepted, for an innocent person to be declared under this measure. An innocent person can be charged with murder, robbery, or other crimes. Although it is theoretically possible that a person who is not a Communist may be declared under this bill, the safeguards against that happening are greater than the safeguards against the ordinary citizen being charged with a crime. Some of the safeguards for which provision is now made, or will be made, in this measure are peculiar to democratic countries. They constitute an answer to the charge that the bill is totalitarian. The ordinary citizen will not be, as we have been told, at the mercy of informers. The case of a person whom the authorities seek to declare under this measure will have to be submitted to a committee consisting of five high-ranking and responsible persons, most of whom are in the service of the Government, and then Cabinet will have to accept full responsibility for recommending that a particular person be declared. Another safeguard is provided by an alert Opposition in the Parliament, ready at all times to call the Government to account if it abuses its authority under this measure. A further safeguard is provided by periodical general elections, at which the people will have the right to express their approbation or disapproval of the actions that the Government has taken under the measure. The last safeguards is the appeal to a court of law. It is proposed that a clause shall be inserted in the bill to provide that the measure shall be deemed to have been repealed when the Governor-General is satisfied that its continuance in operation is no longer necessary and he issues a proclamation to that effect.
I stress that when the measure ceases to operate, things will he as they were before. In that way, the bill is completely different from tyrannical legislation of the type that was introduced by Labour governments. Although such legislation could be repealed, the damage would have been done. To use a famous phrase, the eggs would have been scrambled.
What is the alternative to this bill? If the preamble be correct, the alternative is to leave in key positions in this country the agents of a foreign power that seeks to draw Australia into the Communist sphere of influence and to overthrow popular parliamentary government; he is to take the risk of having imposed upon us, by treachery, something that the greatest military power of recent times could not impose upon us by force of arms; it is to risk the establishment in Australia of a State that offers only the false and damnable choice between economic freedom and political freedom. We say, as does any democratic Australian, that it is possible to have both economic freedom and political freedom. The alternative to this bill is to risk the establishment in this country, by force from abroad, aided by treachery within, of a State in which a. man must, in effect, enter a prison in order to be free from the fear of unemployment or other economic disabilities, in which he must submit to his children being spies in his own household, and in which he must sell his immortal soul for a loaf of bread. We shall be faced with the risk of the establishment of a State of that kind in this country if we leave Communists in positions in which they can assist a foreign power to invade lit or create misery in order to promote a violent revolution with the object of overthrowing our present system of government. In our lifetime, two generations of Australians have fought, bled and died to prevent that doctrine of despair from being accepted in Australia.
– Perhaps the honorable senator will recite “ Casablanca “ now.
– It may not mean very much to .Senator Hendrickson, but it is true to say that Australian men have used their flesh, blood and guts as a living bulwark against oppression from abroad. The danger exists. A real attack upon this country may not develop, but, having regard to what has happened abroad, and bearing in mind what the Comintern has said it wants to do, is there anybody who will say that that cannot happen? Can we look at the seeds of time and say which grains will grow and which will not? If not we must be very careful before we take any action that will render this bill ineffective to deal with the persons with whom it is designed to deal. If honorable senators opposite render this bill ineffective, it will mean that that which other Australians have fought for will fall from nerveless and unworthy fingers. It is because I do not wish that to happen, that I support the bill.
Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) “8.24’. - I consider that Senator Gorton’s closing remarks were uncalled for. He said that those who would support this measure offered their bodies as a bulwark against oppression.
– He included supporters of the Labour party.
– I propose to make my speech my own way. I do not want ex-Labour men who “ ratted “ on us to make it for me. I remind honorable senators opposite that sons of miners, waterside workers, and others whom they have called Communists, are lying in graves on the battlefields of the Middle East and New Guinea. It ill-becomes an honorable senator to say that members of his party were the only people who shed their blood to protect the interests of this country, and to defeat fascism and nazi-ism.
– I did not say that.
– Senator Gorton had a lot to say about what he termed irresponsible members of the Senate who referred to supporters of the Government as fascists, but he had little to say about the fact that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’sullivan) stated that members of the Labour party were close friends of Communists, and were associated with the Communist party. He said also that he was very proud to support a government that had permitted the pros and cons of this measure to be discussed fully. The members of the House of Representatives were not allowed to discuss the pros and cons of the measure fully because the Government applied the “guillotine” in that chamber. If the Labour party had not a majority in this chamber, the Government would have allowed us very little time in which to discuss this important bill. It is because honorable senators on this side of the chamber are in the majority that we have been, able to engage in a frank discussion of the measure, and to learn what is in the minds of those who supported it in its original form.
Senator Gorton said that, under this measure, it is possible that an innocent person may be declared. He stated that innocent persons may be charged with murder and other crimes. The fact that he admits there is a danger of innocent persons being declared under the measure shows that our contention that the onus of proof should lie upon the Commonwealth is well founded. The party to which I belong is opposed to capital punishment. It knows that innocent persons may be hanged, and for that reason it says that capital punishment should be abolished.
This is one of the most far-reaching measures with which the Parliament has had to deal. It provides for the imposition of a ban upon a section of our community, for the confiscation of the property of that section, and for the declaration as Communists of persons who support or advocate the teachings of Marx and Lenin. Measures of this kind are not new in world politics. The governments of other countries have indulged in acts of oppression, but with what results? The history of the world shows what has happened to those who have oppressed the people in any country. Under the regime of the Russian czars, the Russian people had a terrible time. They were not permitted to receive an education, and they were really slaves. Then came the great revolution, of which Kerensky was the leader. We know what happened then to the people who supported the Czar. We know what happened to those who supported the oppression of the German people by Hitler. We know what happened to Mussolini and other fascists who oppressed the Italian people. Governments that have oppressed the people of any country have been able to carry on only by indulging in further acts of oppression, until the people have revolted and a situation similar to that which exists in the Balkans to-day has arisen.
My mind goes back to the birth of the Labour movement in this country. The movement grew out of oppression. We know what happened to the shearers and the wharf-labourers towards the end of the last century. The Labour movement was born in 1890, and within twenty years it had a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Its progress was due to the oppression of the people by the “ squattocracy “ and the bullion holders of this nation. Not one of the great democratic nations of the world has attempted to do what this Government proposes to do by means of this bill. It is true that in Canada and South Africa idea has been toyed with, but up to the present time the governments of those countries have not reached a decision. Although the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said that he would ban the Communists it would be interesting to know what caused him to alter his opinion. On the 15th May, 1947, the right honorable gentleman said, as recorded in Hansard, volume 191, at page 2460-
One reason why I have repeatedly expressed thu view that these people should be dealt with in the open is that I have complete confidence in the basic sanity of our own people. If we deal with these people openly we shall defeat them.; but we cannot deal with them openly unless their operations are known.
That is what we say. Minorities are banned in some countries of course. Action has been taken in different ways. In some countries the breadwinners have been executed. Under the Hitler regime in Germany revolvers were used to kill babies in prams. The fact remains, however, that the Communist party is still very strong in Germany. According to press reports, the German Parliament has issued an apology for Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. The Australian Government should take care that the bill now being considered will not, if passed, react against the people of this country. The Government has introduced this measure solely for window-dressing purposes. If the Prime Minister had sincerely wanted to ban the Communist party he would not have gone beyond clause 4 of the bill as it was originally introduced. Such a measure could then have been passed by both Houses of the Parliament in one day. Contentious clauses 5 and 9 were included for the purpose of embarrassing the Labour party. The Prime Minister knew that some people would accuse the Labour party of supporting the Communist party and that there would be innuendoes that Labour was alined with the Communist party. However, the Menzies Government has been seriously embarrassed as the result of Labour’s criticism of this measure.
Though the right honorable gentleman refused, in the House of Representatives, to accept an amendment proposed by the Opposition, he has now arranged for the Minister in charge of the bill in this chamber to move sixteen amendments. Furthermore, another fifteen amendments proposed to he moved by the Opposition have been circulated. It would be interesting to know whether the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) or Professor Bailey, the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, instructed the Parliamentary Draftsman about the clauses of the original bill. As this measure has been altered since its introduction, the Parliament should be informed fully on this aspect. I have been told that the Constitution does not empower the Government to ban a section of the community. Although the Constitution specifically provides that the Parliament shall have control over banking, the High Court invalidated portion of Labour’s banking legislation. This measure cuts across the Charter of the United Nations, the special purpose of which was to protect with minorities. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have concurred with the principles of the four freedoms, and the programme of the United Nations. I do not support the Communist party. However, I contend that the Government is not sincere in its desire to ban that party. The Government now proposes that the onus of proof shall be on the Crown if a declared person is willing to go into the witness box. If Senator Wright, who is a lawyer, was appointed to represent the Crown he could only get his information by cross examination and accusation. The onus would still rest on a declared person to rebut the allegation that he was an associate of Communists, or had attended a Communist party meeting. It is common knowledge that counsel endeavour to discredit witnesses for the other side. A person may find himself in the witness box not because he may be a known Communist, but because he has been declared probably following the receipt of an anonymous letter written by a pimp, stooge, or snooper.
– Or a Liberal.
– Fascist-minded people, in order to get square with an individual, may write anonymous letters about him. I remember being required to appear before a magistrate some years ago as a result of anonymous letters which contained baseless allegations. A man’s workmate could easily write to the security service and claim that his fellow worker was a member of the Communist party, as a result of which that man could be declared. It is the Government’s responsibility to deal with Communist activity. The Communist party, subsidiary organizations, and individuals can be declared under this measure. I claim that the Government had sufficient power under the Crimes Act to protect the nation, but it thought that to ban the Communist party and endeavour to split the Labour party would be a popular action. The measure is designed to cause the people of this nation to think that honorable senators on the Opposition side of the chamber are fellow-travellers of the Communist party. This measure proposes to interfere with the election of officers in the trade unions. I point out that if the members of a union wanted the advice of a Communist who had occupied a key position in the union they could engage him to sweep the floors. I remind the Senate that Labour introduced a measure to provide that any trade unionist who considered that malpractice had occurred in the union, or that a ballot had been rigged, would be entitled to apply to the court to conduct another ballot.
The Australian Labour party has fought the Communist party for years. It will not admit a Communist to its ranks. If a Communist should gain entry to a Labour organization and be subsequently identified as a Communist, he would be expelled. I do not think that the Liberal party would take that action. The Government gives no credit to the industrial group which comprises people who have worked incessantly to rid the trade union movement of Communists. The Liberal party has amongst its members people who support the Communist party. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) conducted a newspaper called the Illawarra Star in 1938, and a ban was imposed on that newspaper by the local trade unionists. In consequence of the ban he called on “ Ted “ Roach in his home at Wollongong and contributed £10 to the miners’ strike fund. He also presented a trophy, the Illawarra Star Cup, for the best display in a local May Day procession. In fact, the Port Kembla branch of the Waterside Workers Federation won that cup, and “ Jim “ Healy presented it to Roach on behalf of the federation. Healy and Roach are both avowed Communists, of course, and do not deny their membership of that party, but the honorable member for Mackellar would deny association with the Communists.
– The strike mentioned by the honorable member was a strike against the former Menzies Government?
– Yes, and I repeat that the honorable member for Mackellar gave £10 towards the fund for that strike. Senator Gorton said that the debate has centred around the trade union movement. The Opposition is rightly concerned with the trade union movement because that is the basis on which the community depends and on which the Labour party stands. Vested interests and the big nien in industry want the unionists declared. ‘ That is why Labour is concerned about the effect of this legislation on the trade unions. Under this legislation the leader of every strike could be branded as a Communist, expelled from office in his union, and even sent to gaol..
I propose now to say a few words about the Public Service, which has served the nation so well at all times and particularly during times of crisis. The Labour party i3 .proud to have been associated with the Public Service during its periods of office. This measure, which proposes to outlaw the Communist party, has been subjected to a full examination in the light of day, not only by the Opposition in the Parliament, but also by the press. In to-day’s issue of the Sydney Morning Herald, there appears a report of a statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) in the course of which he offered advice to the New South Wales branch of the Liberal party. The report reads as follows : -
The Minister for External Affairs, Mr. P. C. Spender, said to-day that when the Liberal Party became the New South Wales Government it should take care that its governmental advisers adjusted their outlook to the absence of Socialism from the Government.
He waa amplifying a statement he made at a Liberal Party election meeting at North Sydney last night.
The Socialists had been in power in New South Wales for nine years, Mr. Spender said to-day. As a result, many governmental advisers hari become conditioned to dealing with Socialism as something always present in government.
When they were called upon to advise a Government opposed to Socialism, they would have to forget the Socialist approach to public problems, to which they had been accustomed For many years when Labour was in power.
The honorable gentleman was saying, in effect, that if the Liberal party attained office in New South Wales it should get rid of a large number of public servants. I challenge the honorable gentleman to invoke this legislation, if it is enacted, to get rid of them. It ill becomes the Minister, Senator Gorton and other members of the anti-Labour parties to insult the public servants of this country, who are a fine body of men with a. record of devoted service to Australia over many generations. Many public servants burn the candle late at night, not in their own interests, but in the interests of the nation, and they should certainly not he disparaged by the anti-Labour parties. Although Labour was scarcely in power in this Parliament for 25 years it never at any time accused the public servants of responsibility for the malpractices of the various anti-Labour administrations that were in power during that long period. If there are any shortcomings in governmental administration to-day members of the anti-Labour party should not blame the Public Service, but should blame themselves.
I shall support, with all the vigour I possess, the amendments that the Opposition considers should be made to this bill, and I shall oppose other amendments which we believe should be rejected. I trust that the Government, which, has already submitted approximately 35 amendments to the bill, will withdraw the measure and submit fresh legislation which will seek to enact only the first four clauses of the present bill. If it will do that then we shall see whether the Government is really determined to ban the Communist party.
– I do not propose to reply to the statements made by Senator Amour because I regard them as not being worthy of an answer. I wish I were in the position of the little American hostess, who, I feel sure, would deal very satisfactorily with the type of argument employed by the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator is a great gentleman ! He is about the lowest card in the pack. Let him he a man, and withdraw.
– When Senator Hendrickson will give me a chance to proceed, I propose to refer to one or two observations made by Senator McKenna and other members of the Opposition, and then to discuss the contentions that are chiefly an issue in the debate. I shall deal with the objectives of the bill, and then the means by which they are to be achieved. I am extremely interested in the daily exhibition which we have witnessed in this chamber of members of the Opposition giving “ qualified support “ to the bill, as was promised by the leader of their party, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Chifley). With the exception of Senator McKenna, Senator Willesee and Senator Finlay, I do not recall any member of the Opposition who has expressed even one thought in favour of the objectives of the bill or its provisions. The outlook of members of the Labour party is, perhaps, best indicated by a statement made by Senator Amour, who said that regardless of any action that the Government may take to disqualify officers from industrial organizations on the ground of communism, they will still be able to exercise effective control of those organizations. That statement is a most craven and abject admission of Labour’s surrender to the Communists. Members of that party have been constantly reiterating that they have fought communism in this country for 30 years. Yet Senator Amour, speaking on behalf of the Labour Opposition, says that despite Labour’s influence, outJawed Communists will continue effectively to exercise power in the unions. That must be one of the most shameful admissions that the Labour party has ever made.
The bill deals with communism, and all members of the Opposition profess to be the enemies of communism. Not one of them is game to vote and to put himself on record as a supporter of communism; but the indirect effect of their attitude, if it became effective, would be to procure immunity for the Communists from the operation of the bill. The next five years may witness the most serious developments that Australia has ever known. The great nations of the earth have felt it necessary to protect their democratic institutions and to combine against the Communist menace which is sprawling over Europe and spreading through Asia. I believe that communism presents a problem of paramount importance to our future, and that that problem is every bit as serious as the nazi menace that confronted us in the ‘thirties, when, to the eternal shame of the people of the democracies, they refused to hearken to the warnings of Churchill. I remind honorable senators now that since 1945 Mr. Churchill ha3 uttered similar warnings in regard to communism. In fact, he has described it as the most overwhelming danger and evil that could beset the free world. Those who now refuse to hearken to his warnings must take their share of culpability if another world war occurs.
– I hope that they will realize that the honorable senator was opposed to the Communists.
- Senator Grant has not much interest in the legislation before us, I suppose. I propose now to invite the attention of honorable senators to the view recently expressed very emphatically by Lord Vansittart in the House of Lords, and I hope that even honorable members of the Opposition will give serious consideration to the views expressed by a man of such experience. The National Newsletter in commenting upon Lord Vansittart’s speech in support of the motion that he moved in the House of Lords, said that his purpose was to awaken the people of the United Kingdom to the reality of the existence of the third world war “ in which we are now engaged and in which the British way of life is at stake “.
The methods adopted by the enemies of democracy, the Communists, are unusual. In the present age hostilities are not preceded by a courtly declaration of war and the assembly of armies. All that happens is that Communists infiltrate the country that is the target of their hostile action, and, by burrowing like rabbits, they endeavour to riddle that country’s institutions and to impoverish its industrial organizations. In that way they hope to weaken the country in advance. In other words, they operate a kind of fifth column activity. That imposes on us a special duty to use all the power that is available to us as a National Parliament to protect the community that we represent. Anybody who remembers the despicable surrender of this country during the coal strike last year, when unemployment and distress were widespread, will surely not deny that to ensure continued prosperity and to build up the internal strength that is necessary for our national safety it is our elementary duty to take whatever action we consider necessary to prevent the Communists from giving effect to their programme of disruption.
We- are told that the Opposition is not opposed to the legislative dissolution of the Communist party, but that the Executive should not have the power to declare affiliated organizations. Surely, in any responsible Parliament, the Executive can he assured that it has all the power that is necessary for national security and defence. It is so difficult to legislate in such a way as to distinguish between
Communists who are capable .of doing harm, and others who are not, that it is essential that the Executive should have the power provided in this legislation. It would be quite easy for the Government to establish a tribunal to which it could “ pass the buck but any Executive worth its salt will accept the responsibility of making its own decisions, and meeting the Parliament as often as the Parliament itself, and ‘particularly the Labour Opposition in the Senate, is prepared to meet, so that the Executive can answer for the declarations that it has made. In the discussion of this bill great confusion has arisen between penal legislation which creates criminal offences, and legislation which simply affects civil rights. In respect of all offences created under this legislation, there is not the slightest alteration of the ordinary criminal procedure. There is no departure from the ordinary rule whereby the Crown, prosecuting a criminal offence, accepts fully the onus of proof. In respect of the offences created by this bill, it is encumbent on the Crown to accept the onus of proof, and to adduce evidence to prove the prosecution’s case beyond reasonable doubt. I venture to suggest that the whole of the Labour party’s propaganda has been based on the confusion that I have mentioned.
– Then the public and the press of Australia must be wrong.
– The Leader of. the Opposition (Senator Ashley) may speak with warm approval of the press of Australia, but when he throws into the ring the statement that the press is against the bill, I pause to give pity to his intelligence. I repeat that in relation to the criminal offences created under this bill, there is no departure whatever from the ordinary criminal procedure, or from the ordinary tradition of British justice, in accordance with which the Crown accepts the full onus of proof, and undertakes to adduce evidence to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt.-
– Absolutely wrong.
– Senator Cameron has interjected with the knowledge that we have learned to expect of him. If he can induce any honorable senator opposite to gainsay what I have said, I shall be prepared to debate the matter with him .before ,any court or any lay audience. We have heard reference to the introduction of a police state. I am interested in that line of thought. I have just; re-read some descriptions of the propaganda that was issued when the original police force of Great Britain was established by Sir Robert Peel in 1829. At that time, civil insurrection was breaking out daily, and .there was mobbed violence in the City of London. Sir Robert Peel decided that the time had come for the establishment of a civil police force. The propagandists of that day said that Peel’s police force -
Was to spy out the land, to enter people’s houses at will and arrest them in their beds; it was to be recruited from Irish Papists from whom no mercy could be expected, it might even one day depose the noble and patriotic House of Hanover and place on the throne none other than the Duke of Wellington himself.
Clearly the propaganda of those days bears a striking resemblance to the fumbling propaganda of the Labour Opposition to-day. Honorable senators opposite are so unfamiliar with the real principles that underlie the liberty of the subject, that now, 125 years after the establishment of the civil police force, they aru trying out the same vacuous nonsense. After a century and a quarter of experience of the work of the civil police in Great Britain and in British democracies throughout the world, Churchill was able to say that the police were not regarded as anything but friends by anybody but the lawbreaker.
Senator Amour said that we had disparaged the Public Service. It is clear from this bill that we have every confidence in public servants generally. We are giving to our security service powers analogous only to the powers of the civil police. Let us consider what some of the powers of the civil police are. If a policeman suspects that John Smith ha.? committed a burglary he is authorized under the law that we have inherited, and which has remained unamended for morethan a century, to arrest John Smith. When John Smith appears before a court on the charge of burglary, are not his means of livelihood gone? Has his good name not been destroyed? Has he not been subjected to the same opprobrium that will attach to a person who is declared under this legislation?
– No. The onus of proof is on the policeman.
– Senator Grant persistently endeavours to correct my statements on criminal procedure. I do not yield to him in my knowledge of that department of. the law,, whatever hie experience of it may have been. I repeat, . that in the circumstances that I have mentioned, the policeman is authorized to arrest John Smith even if there is- only a reasonable suspicion of John Smith’s complicity in the (.’lime. Action cannot be validly brought against a policeman who makes such an arrest, whether the charges again-st the accused person are proved or not. Honorable senators opposite are so unfamiliar with the principles on which the liberty of the British subject is founded that they claim that Communists will be in special danger because we propose to give to the security police power analogous to that possessed by the civil police force. Their argument falls completely to- the ground.
While we are dealing with criminal matters, let us look at some of the instances in which, even when a man stands charged with an offence, and his personal liberty is in danger, the wise legislators of the past have placed the onus of proof upon him. Take for instance the crim°. of murder. If the defence relies on a plea of insanity, the onus of proof is on the accused. Take also the case of suspected possession. Once the police establishes that they entertain a reasonable suspicion that possession is improper, the onus of adducing evidence to establish the propriety of that possession is on the accused. I come now to a matter with which some honorable senators may be a little more familiar, the Gaming and Betting Act. If evidence is given which raises in the mind of the court a reasonable suspicion that there has been contravention of the act, the offence shall be deemed proved until the accused proves the contrary. That applies to gaming and betting. Is it to be supposed that the menace which comes from illegal bookmaking or something of that sort is more important and urgent to the community than is the menace of communism?
– The argument is entirely the other way.
– Again I do not yield to Senator Grant. Other cases which have been referred to are in relation to the Customs Act and the Immigration Act. Those who seek to distinguish the Immigration Act from this bill in this connexion seem to me to be on very narrow ground. The whole purpose of the Immigration Act is to prevent the entrance into the country of persons who are considered by the Government to be undesirable immigrants. They are foreigners whose presence would be invidious to the community and the Government places on them the onus of proving the lawfulness of their entry into the country. That is very analogous to the conception of giving the Communist the right to be employed in this community.
In regard to offences which are punishable under the law, I have referred to a few of those cases in which British common law and the statutes passed by this Parliament and the State parliaments have placed the onus of proof on the accused. In respect of offences which are made punishable by imprisonment or fine, this bill does not depart from the ordinary traditional procedure that the onus of proof is on the Crown. But the bill does not stop at that, point simply by creating offences for which certain people are punishable in the courts. The Government does not take such a purblind view of the appropriate measures to suppress the Communist menace that it thinks the gaols and the law courts are the most effective remedy. It takes the view that legislation which is preventive is infinitely better than legislation which seeks the sanction of punishment once the law has been broken and the community has been held to ransom and after the disorganization which the Labour Opposition would condone has been caused. This bill wisely provides that a person who serves in the Commonwealth Public Service or one of its great corporations such as Trans-Australia Airlines, the Stevedoring Industry Board, the Housing Commission or any governmental agency of that sort, shall be disqualified from service in the Government if he adheres to Communist activity.
The bill goes further. It recognizes that this country has made great strides in establishing a system of industrial arbitration and a new province for law and order in which it was hoped that, under wise and national leadership, the industrial men of this country would be enabled to seek economic justice through the arbitration courts. The Menzies Government places special value on the achievement of that purpose so that arbitration may become effective for the wage earners and they may receive the entitlement of the economic production of a country that is their due. Knowing that the Communists make a special target of the arbitration system of this country^ the Government proposes to provide that once a Communist is declared as a Communist, he should he disqualified from holding office in the industrial organizations that have been set up and are the chief units to make effective the machinery of arbitration.
Therefore I wish to pay my tribute to the wisdom of those people who conceived this legislation when they said in effect, “ If we find a Communist in the Public Service, or if we find a Communist, whose activities are prejudicial to the national safety, holding office in industrial organizations, it is fair and proper for the protection of the national safety of the country and of the men who are dependent for industrial justice on those organizations, that we prevent the Communist from serving either under the Crown or in the unions “.
– Has the honorable senator given any thought to what is to be done with the Communists when they have been displaced? Are they to be put in concentration camps?
– The idea of Arthur Augustus Calwell, expressed in his Sydney Domain speech, to place Communists in a concentration camp does not commend itself to me or to this Government. If I can only penetrate the understanding of Senator O’Byrne by repeating what I have said, I emphasize that the purpose of this bill is not to punish offences and imprison people. Its purpose is to remove them from positions where they have peculiar opportunity to destroy thenational safety of the country or the industrial framework of our arbitration system.
With that purpose in view, I invite honorable senators to look to some other legislation that was placed on the statutebook at the instance of honorable senators opposite who are servile to their pledge of socialism. Under that pledge,, they have never cared for the liberty of the subject and have crushed any individual who came in the way of their party steam-roller. Senator McKenna said that when the Labour Government passed its approved defence projects legislation, it was careful to see that it applied to every one irrespective of his colour. But if one examines that legislation, it will be found that it applies only to projects that were declared by the Labour Government or, in other words, to projects approved by proclamation in the Gazette.
I invite honorable senators to consider the Crimes Act that was so ably used by the Menzies Government recently. If there is a strike threatening interstate trade, it is perfectly lawful for it to be continued, but if the government of the day proclaims that the interstate dispute has reached such proportions that it threatens the country with an emergency the continuance of that strike becomes an offence immediately. When the Labour Government wanted to take over control of the banks and acquire their property, what was the liberty left to the staffs of the banks in their employment except to follow in the wake of the Executive Council that wished to own them and master them thereafter ? I ask honorable senators to consider the ordinary acquisition of land, whether it be for the purpose of- erecting a school, for a housing subdivision, the re-settlement of soldiers or, as in Tasmania, to create a Stateassisted factory. An orchardist whom I have in mind had spent fifteen years of his life bringing his orchard to fruition. Out of fifteen acres, the Government took twelve by proclamation. Immediately the orchard was cut down and the orchardist was turned adrift with such compensation as he could recover and without any right of appeal and without even being given an opportunity to bring evidence against the acquisition. He was simply deprived of his livelihood.
– And he is a good citizen.
– Yes, an orchardist, one of the agricultural community who are the backbone of the country. No breath of suspicion could be directed against him. The arbitrary legislation has been made more arbitrary by the Labour party so that in that case a law abiding citizen had his livelihood removed without the slightest right of appeal to a court of law. In another case concerning a housing sub-division, two pensioners aged 63 years and 65 years respectively who owned their own home by the thrift of themselves and their family, were the recipients of a government proclamation simply acquiring their home so as to take advantage of a. reduced scale of compensation to which the Government was entitled. These things show that arbitrary injustice is the by-word of the Labour Government and the new-found protectors of civil liberty on the opposite side of the chamber. When those people came to recover their compensation, they found that it is a provision of the act that the value of the land as assessed by the Grown Assessor shall be prima facie evidence of the value of the land.
– It has always been so.
– It has always been so, and I am not complaining.
– Why blame the Labour party?
– 1 blame the Labour party because after a study of legislation of the past three years, I have found two of the most diabolical intrusions into the liberty of the subject that one could imagine. In the socialist conception of the Attlee Government, it is competent for the Minister of the day, if he believes a farmer is not farming his own land in accordance with the best tenets of good husbandry, to put in a supervision order after the farmer has had the doubtful privilege of being heard by a person appointed by the Minister. If, after twelve months’ experience of the supervision order, the farmer is still not complying with the Minister’s wishes as to the quality of the pigs he breeds or the pastures that he grows, the farmer may be ejected without right of appeal.
– I rise to order. When the honorable senator is discussing pigs, to whom is he referring? I draw attention to the fact that Senator Wright is not discussing the bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Senator Wright will he in order if lie subsequently connects his remarks with the bill.
– The scheme of the socialist government is made apparent by that reference. When I speak on behalf of the farming community, whether in Great Britain or in Australia, I speak from my heart. The existence of such a provision, which is supported by honorable senators opposite, brands these new protectors of civil rights as persons who are much more in sympathy with Communist practice than with the welfare of the farmers. My own experience has not been all the time in agriculture. In the free and democratic atmosphere of Australia it was competent in my youth for a boy from the farm to enter a profession if he did the necessary work to qualify. Let us now see what the socialist Government in Britain is doing with the professions of dentistry and medicine.
– I suggest that dentistry and medicine have nothing to do with this bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Senator Wright must connect his remarks with the bill.
– I shall undoubtedly do that. The lesson to be learned from the vicious legislation for which the socialist Government in Britain was responsible is that the individual farmer, and the individual doctor and the individual dentist in Australia will put no faith in the hypocritical espousal of the cause of individual liberty by honorable senators opposite,’ but will join wi<t,h us in a national crusade to make Australia safe from the menace of communism. The man who has trained himself for a professional career in dentistry or medicine in Great Britain, and was so misguided as to become part of tile civil service by serving in the national medical scheme as introduced in 1946, can be removed by an administrative tribunal from the list of those entitled to practise, and his only appeal from the decision of that tribunal is to a Minister of the Crown, to a single Minister who, at the present time, supports Labour policy. Men carrying on lawful occupations in Australia will decide, after reflecting on those facts, whether their interests will be best protected by this bill or by the amendments proposed by the Opposition.
In contrast with the arbitrary provisions of legislation sponsored by a socialist Government in Great Britain, the bill introduced by this Liberal Government provides that the Communist party, or any affiliated organization, may bo declared, and thereupon it becomes unlawful. The bill also provides that a known Communist, who is in the Public Service, or who is an official in one of certain trade unions, may be declared, whereupon he will be disqualified from employment in the Public Service or from holding office in a declared union. Whereas it used to’ be the prerogative of the Crown to dismsis its servants at its pleasure, we have now moved on, and public servants enjoy protection under the Public Service acts of the Commonwealth and the States. Even though it is proposed only to interfere with the right of declared persons to be employed in the Public Service, or to hold office in certain industrial organizations, and not to create in respect of them any offence punishable by fine or imprisonment, they are to be given the right to appeal to a court which, with its traditions of British justice, will decide whether or not the person declared is a Communist. The bill provides that declaration by the Governor-General shall be prima facie evidence of the truth of the declaration, and members of the Opposition have said that that provision places the onus of proof on the person affected. . To any lawyer present, it is only necessary to cite the judgment of Mr. Justice Dixon, in the case of Bex v. Hirsh, reported in C ommonw edith Law Reports, volume 42. He was interpreting a provision in the Crimes Act which is the very same as the provi- sion to be found in the bill now before the Senate. This is what he said -
Section 30 r ( 1 ) of the Crimes Act provides that in a prosecution of the present description the averments of the prosecutor contained in information shall be prima facie evidence of the matter averred. It is to be noticed that this provision, which occurs in a carefully drawn section, does not place on the accused the onus of disproving the facts which the guilt depends, but, while leaving on the prosecutor the onus, initial and final, of establishing the ingredients of the offence, beyond reasonable doubt, provides, in effect, that the allegations of the prosecutor shall be sufficient in law to discharge the onus.
I now quote from a book prepared by Mr. Justice Barry, Professor Paton and Professor Sawer, in which they state -
The effect of these provisions is that on proof of certain facts, there is, by force of the Statute, evidence sufficient to launch a prosecution and justify a conviction. If evidence is given on behalf of the accused, however, the Statute does not affect the burden of proof resting on the prosecution; it is then for the Court to decide on the whole evidence if the offence has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
I have not quoted tory legal writers as my authorities. The authorities whom I have named should excite respect even among the vigorous honorable members of the Opposition. However, in order to put the matter beyond doubt- even in the minds of Labour senators, we have written into one of the main amendments that were circulated to-day the very proposition that was always to be understood on an intelligent reading of the bill. The nonsense that has been talked about the onus of proof is shown to have no foundation when the bill is intelligently examined in the light of Mr. Justice Dixon’s judgment, and of the statement by Mr. Justice Barry, Professor Paton and Professor Sawer.
– What abour Professor Wright?
– The other night, Senator McKenna was good enough to make a personal reference to Professor Wright, my distinguished medical brother in Melbourne. But this is not a question of physiology. This is a matter upon which constitutional and legal knowledge has special benefit. Let me now advert to what Mr. Attlee, the Prime Minister of England,, had to say in circumstances very similar to these. Despite the presence of Mr. John Strachey, Mr. Zilliacus and
Sir Stafford Cripps in the British Cabinet, the Government of Great Britain in 1948 was so disturbed by the Communist menace that there was a partial cleansing of the civil service in that country. It was done, not by legislative action, but exclusively by Executive action. The persons affected had no access to the law courts, they had no right of appeal to a tribunal, and there was none of this nonsense about onus of proof.
– They were removed to other jobs at the same remuneration.
– They were not. I propose to read an extract from a statement made by the Prime Minister of Britain, and I hope that, on this occasion, I shall be in order in quoting in this august chamber the remarks of that right honorable gentleman. This is what he said - in answer to questions on the subject of the transfer or dismissal of certain government servants, I have said that there are certain duties of such secrecy, that the State is not justified in employing in connection with them anyone whose reliability is in doubt. Experience, both in this country and elsewhere has shown that membership of, and other forms of continuing association with, the Communist Party, may involve the acceptance by the individual of a loyalty, which in certain circumstances can be inimical to the State. it is not suggested that in matters affecting the security of the State, all those who adhere to the Communist Party would allow themselves thus to forget their primary loyalty to the State.
Mr. Attlee continued ;
But there is no way of distinguishing such people from those who, if opportunity offered, would be prepared to endanger the state in the interests of another power. The Government has, therefore, reached the conclusion that the only prudent course to adopt is to ensure that no one who is known to be a member of the Communist party, or to be associated with it in such a way as to raise legitimate doubts about his or her own reliability, is employed in connexion with work, the nature of which is vital to the security of the state.
By Executive action, the Prime Minister of Great Britain dealt with Communist civil servants. We are accused of overriding the liberty of the subject when we propose to give to the Communist public servant who has been declared the right to appeal to a court. Is it not fair that, if such a person wishes to have access to the courts, he should give evidence on oath? If he invokes the jurisdiction of a court, let him declare his innocence. I have sufficient faith in the judges of the courts of this country to say that, on the evidence before them, they will act justly.
Having cited the action of Mr. Attlee, and shown how this legislation is protective of the community and contains abundant safeguards of the liberty of the subject, I say that the present Prime Minister has no plan to bring out the cutlasses or to use any gangs to spy on the people in their homes. The Government is sensible of the swiftness of propaganda, the rapidity of conspiratorial action and the dreadful menace of the fifth column to every hearth and home in this country, and has a responsibility to prevent this espionage. Those accused or declared under this bill will be given access to our courts to invoke a verdict of innocence. The bill is, therefore, an effective blow at the enemy and a magnificent protection of the national well-being and will achieve its ends without undue or improper interference with the rights of individuals.
– I am sure that Senator Wright has enlightened the Senate upon the legal aspects of the bill. I am glad that he has not resorted to the abuse to which we on this side of the chamber have been subjected by almost every honorable senator opposite who has spoken in this debate.
Government supporters have claimed that, during the last general election campaign, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies”* secured a mandate from the people to destroy communism in this country. Even if that contention were correct, it would not justify the methods that the Government proposes to adopt to combat the Communist menace. The alleged mandate has been described by Ministers and Government senators in various ways. It has been referred to as “ an all-out mandate “, “ a great mandate “, “ a powerful mandate “ and “ an unmistakable mandate “. Whatever term be used to make the alleged mandate appear impressive or powerful, there is no evidence that the present Prime Minister, in his policy speech, uttered one word to indicate that in his attempt to destroy communism he was committed to endangering the freedom and justice that the Australian people enjoy to-day.
There are significant differences between the second-reading speeches on this measure that were delivered in the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister and in this chamber by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan). A second-reading speech on a bill in this chamber is usually a replica of that delivered in the House of Representatives, with minor alterations to make it applicable to the Senate. 1 presume that the reason for the Government’s decision that the second-reading speech delivered in this chamber should be different from that delivered in the House of Representatives is the change of public opinion in relation to the bill that has taken place. I hope that the Minister, in his reply, will tell us whether the changes were brought about by public opinion, and whether the Prime Minister was sincere when he stated that the bill would not be subject to amendment. There are now 50 amendments to be dealt with.
The fact that this bill is important has been stressed by every honorable senator opposite who has spoken in the debate. I agree that it is important, but I cannot understand why the Government proposed to deal with it in such indecent haste. It proposed to have it treated as an urgent measure and to pass it through the Senate as quickly as possible. I appreciate the calm manner in which the bill is now being discussed. I ask honorable senators to cast their minds back to a few weeks ago and to contrast the hysteria and the theatrical display that was organized by the Government when the bill was introduced into the House of Representatives with the conditions that obtain now. Any one who was present at that great event could be excused for believing that he was attending the Tivoli Follies or Wirth’s Circus rather than a session of the Commonwealth Parliament. Parliament House was placed in a mock state of siege. The side and back doors were locked. Police were on guard everywhere. Security officers were standing by to check the credentials of visitors. On that extraordinary occasion, visitors had to have a special talisman to enter Parliament House. The password was “ fear “, not “ freedom “. Had the configuration of the ground in front of Parliament House permitted, and had the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) had time to change the colour of his bulldozer from red to .blue, I am sure that he would have dug a moat with it and erected a drawbridge in order to make security doubly secure. I am convinced that the Government now appreciates fully the mistake that it made in attempting to stampede the people. The remedy that it endeavoured to apply to the evil is now, in a calmer atmosphere, resented by the people, who will not accept the restrictive police measures proposed by the Government. The Government sought deliberately to create in the minds of the people a condition of fear and hysteria in which they might unthinkingly accept the theory that Australia, was, in effect, at war or in danger of war. The people have shown that they will not be misled again by bogies. Already there has been a reaction by the public press and leaders of thought in Australia, who, in the early stages, were deluded into applause by the organization of the Government. It cannot be denied that the Government has yielded to public opinion. The amendments to the bill that have been made or foreshadowed show that that is so. I understand that now there are approximately 50 amendments to be considered. After saner and calmer reflection, the people have realized the need for the safeguards that have been proposed by the Australian Labour party, which it insists shall be written into the bill. The Government should heed public opinion, which it loudly claims to represent and ‘ respect. Whenever the opportunity occurs Government senators declare that they are representing and expressing the opinion of the majority of the people in this country. Although in recent weeks there has been increased activity by democratic governments in various parts of the world in relation to communism, I point out that there has not been introduced anywhere legislation so drastic and liberty- destroying as is this measure. In France, a professor was dismissed from the body dealing with the control of atomic energy because of Communist activities. In South Africa, following the May Day riots in the Transvaal, the Minister for Justice in the South African Parliament introduced a bill directed against unlawful associations. It was referred to a select committee but is now again before the Parliament for consideration. The Canadian Prime Minister has found it expedient to state that he does not intend to introduce legislation similar to the measure now under consideration here. The Congress of the United States of America has appointed a committee to investigate un-American activities and dangerous elements associated with American national life. I repeat that no other government has contemplated so drastic a step as this measure to crush communism. The extent of communism in this country fluctuates. During the eight years that Labour was in office the membership of the Communist party in this country decreased from 25,000 to 13,000. Honorable senators opposite can ascertain more readily than I from the security service the present membership of the Communist party. I point out that communism cannot thrive during periods of prosperity such as Australia is now enjoying. The Communist party prospers in times of depression and distress. Great stimulus was given to the growth of the Communist party in this country by conservative governments in the ‘thirties. Communism reached its peak in this country during the depression. It also thrived after being driven underground in 1940. Senator Maher referred to the action that was taken by the former Government to terminate the coal strike last year. I wonder if he is aware that during the ‘thirties, and almost until the outbreak of war, many miners received less than two days’ work a week.
– I am aware of that.
– In winter time I have seen the children of miners and other workers walking bare-footed to school through sleet and slush, and sometimes snow. They utilized cornsacks and chaff bags as overcoats. Those conditions bred communism in this country.
– They do so in any country.
– It is not surprising that the workers in the mining and other heavy industries have a reputation for turbulence. Many of those workers still carry the scars of the depression years. They have not forgotten the semistarvation conditions in which they and their families were compelled to exist in this land of full and plenty.
– They were not singular in that respect.
– Is it any wonder that communism thrives in such conditions ‘( J ust prior to the outbreak of war I made an appeal in. this chamber for government assistance to carry out reproductive work in an industrial area. Although the Government did not heed my appeal, when war broke out thousands of millions of pounds were provided almost overnight. The provision of assistance for those unfortunate people at that time would have enabled them to enjoy a measure of independence and to purchase necessary clothing. They were enabled to keep body and soul together by the payment of a miserable dole of a few shillings a week. .Supporters of the Government parties in industry have contributed to the stability of the Communist party. In many instances they have bargained and dealt directly with the Communist leaders of trade unions. Whilst Australian Labour party union leaders have always supported conciliation and arbitration, the Communists have been prepared to sidetrack the court. It is on record that the Minister for Labour .and National Service (Mr. Holt) met Communist union leaders in connexion with industrial unrest at Cockatoo Dock and arranged for the workers to receive an increase of 6s. a week. In view of the fact that a Minister of the Grown and employers in industry were prepared on that occasion to negotiate directly with Communist leaders, it is unfair that honorable senators opposite should suggest repeatedly that the Opposition and the trade union movement in Australia is coupled with the Communist party.
Last evening the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) stated that the Opposition had accepted the preamble to the bill. One paragraph of the preamble refers to revolutionary actions. Another refers to the overthrow of governments by force. A third deals with such important matters as treason, sabotage, and espionage, for which the maximum penalty is death. Various penalties are already provided in the Crimes Act for offences mentioned in the preamble to the bill. Section 24c of the Crimes Act 1914-1946 reads- 24c. Any person who -
Penalty: Imprisonment for three years.
I have before me a booklet which appears to be an authentic publication, because the photograph of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) appears as the frontispiece. It contains the joint policy of the Government parties announced prior to the general election in 1949.
– It is genuine.
– One portion reads -
Communismin Australia is an alien and destructivepest. If elected, we shall outlaw it. The Communist Party will be declared subversive and unlawful, and dissolved. A receiver will be appointed to deal with its assets.
Subject to appeal, the Attorney-General will be empowered to declare other bodies substantially Communist; to follow the party into any new form and attach illegality to that new association. No person now a member of the Communist Party shall be employed or paid a fee by the Commonwealth; nor shall any such person he eligible for any benefitsin a registered industrial union.
The laws with respect to sedition or 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.
There is no proposal of which I am aware to review and strengthen activities in relation to sedition of subversive actions. I should like the Minister when replying to inform me if that aspect of the matter has been covered. Senator Gorton stated that the Opposition had accepted the preamble and had therefore accepted the bill. The Attorney-General referred to the recitals in the preamble and stated that the Opposition had accepted them. I point out that the Opposition is not so well situated as is the Government in this matter, inasmuch as we are not aware what the security service has reported. We are not in a position to make a decision because we are not fully aware of the international position. I heard the Prime Minister say that the Communist party would be dangerous in the event of war occurring. I want to know from the Government whether it considers that war is imminent. The Prime Minister has even acknowledged the correctness of the contention advanced by Senator McKenna. When the right honorable gentleman spoke in committee on this bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday, the 18th May, he acknowledged the correctness of Senator McKenna’s contention, when he said -
I repeat that when it conies to these matters any democratic parliament confronted by a state of affairs, such as exists to-day will properly repose a great degree of responsibility in the government, which should have, and must have, more knowledge of the security affairs of Australia than anybody outside” the security service can have.
We do not know the state of affairs that exist to-day. The Government is better informed of that than is the Opposition. That is the point which I make. If the Government is in a better position than is the Opposition to know what is happening, why does it not impart some of its knowledge to the Opposition ?
The next matter to which I propose to refer is clause 3, which contains a number of definitions. Those definitions are so wide that the bill will include almost any one. Whilst the Opposition will not oppose clause 4, I think that it is futile and will merely drive the Communists underground, as happened before. However, I sincerely hope that the Government will succeed in crushing them. Clause 5 is so wide that it would probably embrace the Australian Council of Trades Unions or a trade and labour council.
I pass now to clause 7. The Opposition intends to press for the acceptance by the Crown of the onus of proof, and the inclusion of a provision for trial by jury. Clause 9 is important. The Opposition will move four amendments to that clause directed towards (1) placing the onus of proof on the Crown, (2) providing for a right of appeal to a full court, (3) providing compensation for persons wrongly “ declared “, and (4) permitting a person who has been “ declared “ to make application at a later date to have the declaim tion revoked when he has complied with such conditions as would justify the removal of the declaration.
Clause 10, which has been treated very lightly by Senator Wright and all honorable senators opposite, provides a most severe penalty. Notwithstanding the view expressed by Senator Wright who, in the course of his attempt to justify the Government’s proposals, travelled through orchards, Chinamen’s gardens and even to England, the clause is a most punitive one. It provides that a declared person may be removed from the Public Service or from his office in n trade union. That could have the most far-reaching consequences. Obviously, the Government has given no consideration whatever to the rights of the individual. No consideration has been given to the possible effect on the wife and children of an individual who has been “ declared “. Such a person will not be able to obtain employment because the grapevine “ will operate very effectively to destroy his reputation with employers.
Clause 21 provides that any officer authorized by the Attorney-General may break into the home of any person at any time on mere suspicion. The officer conducting the search may seize any documents or materials that he considers may help to convict the individual concerned. I am glad that the Government is now prepared to accept completely the amendment that was circulated by the Opposition in the House of Representatives. The amendment that we shall move to the clause will require the officer who desires to make a search to satisfy the magistrate on oath that he has reasonable grounds for his suspicions. The clause, as it stands at present, permits the worst character in this country to enter the home of any individual and to seize any document he thinks might incriminate the individual concerned. An amendment to clause 23 has been fore shadowed by the Opposition. Clause 24, which deals with persons “ declared “ is most serious. No more serious charge could be made against an individual than to accuse him of being a traitor to his country. In a matter of such seriousness he should be given the same rights as a person who is charged under the Crimes Act; that is to say, he should be entitled to a trial by jury. In committee, the Opposition will move to have inserted after clause 24 the following new clause : - “24a. - (1.) In an application under subsection (3.) of section five, or under subsection (3.) of section nine, of this Act, thu applicant shall have the Tight to elect to have the application tried by jury. “ (2.) Where an applicant so elects, the application shall be heard and determined, as nearly as possible, as if it were a trial on indictment for an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, committed within the State or Territory of the Commonwealth in which the application is heard.”
I have already referred briefly to the speeches made by honorable senators opposite during the second-reading debate. The speech delivered by the Minister for Trade and Customs, who introduced the bill, was compiled from newspaper extracts. Much of the material in that speech was taken from the Bulletin. In the article which appeared in the Bulletin I notice that I was placed in very good company with Senator McKenna, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), and His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy. I also noticed that the Minister was careful only to quote that portion of the remarks of Cardinal Gilroy which suited him. The Attorney-General, who is such a stickler for correctness in quotations, should speak to his colleague about his laxity in this matter. The Minister for Trade and Customs quoted at length from Cardinal Gilroy’s remarks, but he did not tell us everything that the Cardinal said on that occasion. For the benefit of honorable senators I shall quote further from the report of His Eminence’s remarks -
He said there were signs that Communism was on the decline in Italy, where the people were beginning to realize that the promises of Communism were false promises. “ The surest way to secure the overthrow of Communism is a widespread return to the principles of religion, which alone can bring about the true spirit of brotherhood among men he said.
Cardinal Gilroy said it was the Christian duty of Australians to help the poor and suffering people of England, India, and Italy.
If the capitalist class of this country follows the Cardinal’s advice, then communism will not prosper as it did during the regime of the anti-Labour governments. I noticed in the Catholic Worker of June a report of a statement made by Archbishop Mannix, in which His Grace said - “… Last Sunday I had the temerity, if you like, to say I was delighted with the vigorous attempt being made by the Federal Government to deal with the menace of Communism. For my part, I gave my wholehearted thanks to the Government for the action that it proposes to take, with the consent of Parliament of course. Well, as I said last Sunday, I welcomed the action of the Prime Minister and his Government, so to-day I should like to say that I also welcome the efforts of those of the Opposition, who are also opposed to Communism, but are anxious to do anything that they can to prevent the Bill from interfering with the legitimate liberty of the individual or of unions or of societies. This is wise because legislation of the kind proposed can be dangerous. It is intended to meet a special emergency, and there is always the danger that in meeting that emergency legislation may go too far and that liberty, which we should all prize, be sacrificed. I hope, therefore, that there will be calm, deliberate and wise discussion, and that if amendments are needed, the Bill will be amended to include all necessary safeguards.”
In view of the fact that the Minister built up his second-reading speech on this measure with a quotation from His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy, I hope that, in reply, he will answer what Dr. Mannix has had to say. The following statement was issued by the Parliamentary Labour party to-day: -
To-day, the Federal Parliamentary Labour party, acting on the recommendation of the party executive, decided to adhere to its proposed amendments which are all aimed at safeguarding fundamental rights and just procedures. At the same time the party will accept several governmental amendments which do not conflict with those put forward by the Opposition and which should improve the bill.
The amendments of the Labour party in the Senate will accordingly -
Ensure that the onus of proof, under clauses 5 and 9, dealing with “ declared “ organisations and individuals respectively, shall rest upon the Commonwealth.
Provide that the “declaration” of an individual or an organisation under clauses 5 and 9 shall be subject to judicial review not only so far as the “ declaration “ alleges that the organisation or individual is one to which the section applies but also in respect of the allegation in the “ declaration “ that the body or individual is engaged or likely to engage in subversive activities.
Give both to a “declared” organisation and a “ declared “ individual the right to elect to have the case tried by jury.
Give an appeal from the judgment or order of the court of first instance to a full court.
Provide that an individual who is successful in having the “ declaration “ set aside shall be entitled to costs and such compensation as the court thinks fit in the circumstances.
Establish machinery so that a “ declared “ person may at a subsequent stage apply to the full court for an order revoking the “ declaration “ either by a single justice or by the full court.
Limit the security officers searching homes, &c, under clause 21 to those specially authorised by the Attorney-General.
The main Government amendments are -
A proposal that a committee of five, including the permanent heads of three government departments, shall consider the material upon which the Government’s decision to “declare” will be founded. It should be pointed out that this provision does not afford any judicial safeguard for the individual or organisation, not even the right to be heard. At the same time, the provision may be useful and it will be accepted by the Labour party in the Senate.
A new provision dealing with the onus of proof. Under this provision, the onus is placed upon the “ declared “ individual or organizations, unless and until the individual gives evidence in person, or, the organization calls as witnesses such of its officers as in the opinion of the court are “ best able to give full and admissible evidence”. Such a provision means that the court is being directed by Parliament to find against the individual or the organisation, unless they furnish evidence to disprove the Government’s “ declaration after which the burden of proof is transferred to the Commonwealth. Such a provision cannot possibly be justified in cases of the present character. The whole procedure amounts to a reversal of what is normal, appropriate and just. For it is clear that the well-established right of a defendant not to give evidence in criminal cases is itself part and parcel of the general rule that the onus of proof rests upon the Crown and that the presumption of innocence in favour of a person charged continued throughout a trial. Accordingly, the Labour party will oppose the new amendments as to onus of proof and will insert in the bill the amendments put forward by the Opposition in the House of Representatives.
The ne.w amendment of the Government limiting the class of persons who may he “ declared “ under clause 9 is an improvement to the bill and will be accepted by the Labour party.
The Government’s proposal that the bill will be treated as an emergency provision only and that its termination shall be proclaimed when, in the opinion of the Government, the emergency is ended is also acceptable to the Labour party.
From first to last, the Opposition, while accepting the provisions dealing with the dissolution of the Australian Communist party, has endeavoured to include adequate safeguards against unjust and unnecessary procedures.
The Labour party firmly believes that the people of Australia appreciate the important questions of principle which affect the fundamental rules of justice and for which the Labour party is fighting.
Reference has been made in the course of this debate to the Prime Minister. I say quite frankly that any criticism that has come from this side of the chamber of the Prime Minister or any member of the Government, has been invited by honorable senators opposite, notably Senator McCallum, Senator George Rankin, and Senator Maher. If honorable senators opposite throw bricks at us, they cannot expect to have feather pillows thrown back at them. In the interests of the decorum of this chamber, it is most undesirable that the present practice of indulging in personalities should be continued. Slighting references of this kind make the work of the President more difficult. Honorable senators opposite repeatedly accused members of the Labour party of having Communist affiliations, and we in turn have accused honorable senators opposite of being fascists. .Such conduct does not help to solve our problems. However, I repeat that the remarks of honorable senators on this side of the chamber have been provoked by honorable senators opposite, particularly by the speakers I have mentioned.
– The honorable senator must be getting thin-skinned.
– Not at all. I can take as much and give as much as any honorable senator opposite. I resent very much the references that have been made by Government speakers to the late John Curtin, who was revered not only by members of the Australian Labour party, but, I think, by every one in Australia. Such references have been most ill advised, and have done no credit to honorable senators opposite. I am not accusing Ministers of having made derogatory references to Mr. Curtin, but those honorable senators who have endeavoured to make political capital out of such statements are playing the game very lowindeed and I hope that those tactics will cease.
.- Before dealing with the bill, I wish to make it quite clear that I, too, have a mandate. Honorable senators opposite have been telling us that they have a mandate for this legislation. When I contested the Senate elections in 1946 in Tasmania I said in my first broadcast -
I am entering into this campaign with the intention of conducting a clean contest, and hope to go through it with cleanliness and free from personalities. My colleagues and I will place our programme before the electors and if our policy is acceptable, then we ask for their support.
It has been inferred that I arn a member of another political organization. I give that suggestion an absolute denial. The only political party of which I am a member is the Australian Labour .party, and I pledge my loyalty thereto.
The persons you are about to elect will carry grave responsibilities. Therefore, electors should rid their minds of the bogies and red herrings and apply their attention and intelligence to the bigger things required to govern a nation such as ours.
– What was the honorable senator referring to when he mentioned “ red herrings “ ?
– I shall answer that in a few minutes. The honorable senator himself was one of them. In the course of the election campaign, I did not mention any names. I deliberately refrained from vilifying my political opponents. I spoke only of what the Labour party intended to do if it were re-elected to office. There was a man in Tasmania named John Orchard. He was formerly a member of the Australian Labour party but he left that party because he could see no future in it for himself. He stood as a Christian independent. He tried to exploit religion to get into the Parliament.
– I rise to order. The honorable senator is taking advantage of his membership of this chamber to vilify a man who is one of my political colleagues, and a friend for whom I have the greatest respect. The honorable senator’s remarks are offensive to me, and I ask that they be withdrawn.
– I hope, Senator Morrow, that you will connect your remarks with the bill.
– I rise to order. Senator Morrow’s statement that John Orchard exploited his Christian principles is offensive to me, because John Orchard is my close friend and political colleague. I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
– The honorable senator’s objection raises a. difficult problem for the Chair. Senator Wright regards Senator Morrow’s remarks as offensive. At the same time, I believe that Senator Morrow has a right to express himself in the way that be has done. However, in deference to Senator Wright’s wishes, I ask Senator Morrow to withdraw the remarks to which objection has been taken.
– I withdraw them. Senator Wright complains that I am taking advantage of my position in this Parliament to express my views. Both he and John Orchard vilified me under the privilege of the Tasmanian Parliament. I did not have an opportunity to defend myself. Yet Senator Wright comes to this chamber and talks like that!
– I did not mention the name of the honorable senator during all the time that I was a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly.
– I want to connect my remarks with this bill, and the preface to them is very important. Mr. Orchard stood as an independent when he had been defeated as a Christian Independent. If those remarks are offensive, I cannot help it, because they are facts relating to actions of Mr. Orchard. He stood as an independent against Mr. H. C. Barnard, and was again defeated. He issued a manifesto stating that he did not believe in party politics, and said that all party members were fakers, and many other things.
Honorable senators interjecting,
– Order! I ask Senator Morrow to connect his remarks with the measure that is being debated in the chamber. I cannot trace the connexion, but I hope that Senator Morrow will be able to do so.
– I shall connect my remarks with the bill immediately. As a result of the propaganda disseminated by Mr. Orchard, I faced a huge meeting in Launceston, and answered questions that were asked by members of the audience. That is why I claim that I have a mandate. A questioner asked me, “ Will you support the banning of the Communist party?” I said, “No”. Another elector said, “Why? Are you a member of the Communist party ? “ Again I said, “ No “. I was then asked, “ What are your reasons for not banning the Communist party ? “ I said, “ Because there was once a gentleman named Voltaire who said, ‘ I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it ‘. Some of that spirit runs in my veins. I am tolerant. I am- an Australian and a democrat. I do not believe in banning any minorities at all. If we cannot defeat a. minority by truth and argument, then we should give in “. I have a mandate. That question was asked everywhere that I went. I gave the same answer, and I was elected to this Parliament. I have not seen anything since then to change my opinion. I want to make my position quite clear. There will be no ambiguity on my part. This debate has reached the lowest level in my experience, particularly on the part of honorable senators on the Government side. This Parliament is the highest legislative authority in Australia, and its members, are supposed to be intelligent people; yet they come to this chamber and reel out old newspaper articles. They are not able to think for themselves. They have to let the editors think for them. They re-hash all that stuff and the whole thing is based on filthy propaganda, lies and deception.
– What is?
– The speeches to which I have listened in this chamber for the last fortnight. They are based on lies, distortion and deception. I was looking forward to hearing something valuable from Senator McCallum. I used to listen to him when he was a radio commentator on foreign affairs, and I remarked to my wife then that if I ever caught up with Senator McCallum., I would tell him what I thought of him. He was the greatest distorter and misrepresenter that I have ever listened to.
– I rise to order. Senator McCallum is absent from the chamber on public duties. The statement that he is a great distorter and misrepresenter is offensive to me and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– Order ! Senator Morrow was not dealing with Senator McCallum as a senator. He was dealing with Senator McCallum when he was a radio commentator, and it is the opinion of Senator Morrow that Senator McCallum was then a distorter. I cannot support Senator Wright in this matter. If Senator Morrow was dealing with Senator McCallum as a senator and was saying that he is a distorter and a misrepresenter as a senator, it would be a different matter.
– I said that if I ever caught up with Senator McCallum T would tell him what I thought of him. Therefore I hoped that he would be in the chamber to-night, because I do not want to speak of him behind his back. .1 realize now why he used to distort the foreign affairs comments that he made over the air. He reached so low a standard in this chamber that he told honorable senators the “ cold war “ was created by Russia and that Russia would create a war if possible.
– Does the honorable senator deny it?
– I leave that to the honorable senator after I have finished what I have to say. Senator McCallum said that Russia was looking for war. Honorable senators are told that Russia is provoking a situation that will bring war. The following is a newspaper report of what General Macarthur said as late as the 29th May, 1950 -
New York, Sunday. - General Macarthur believed war was not imminent “ because the people of the world neither desired it, nor would they be willing to permit it”, said Cyrus Sulzberger in a despatch published by the New York Times yesterday. The correspondent said General Macarthur told him in an interview in Tokyo that the non-desire of the people for war was “ the basic reason for my belief that war is not upon the doorstep “.
Another basic reason was because of the changed nature of war. “ Scientists of the world have developed, to such an extraordinary degree, ways of accomplishing mass killing that war is no longer rationally a means of settling international problems.”
General Macarthur was quoted as saying - “ On neither side was there psychological preparation for war. “ The Russian masses are probably just as opposed to a shooting war as the AngloSaxon masses,” General Macarthur added. The United States had no thought of aggressive war. She was preparing defensively in case of a tragic emergency. “ It is quite possible that the Russians arc preparing in exactly the same way”, he said. “ Russian propaganda indicates their belief that we are preparing aggressive action. I think it is foolish to assume Russia’s wish to start an aggressive war now. Russia is doing so well under the present no-shooting war that she would probably and logically wish to continue thu existing successful system.”
Lord Wavell, who was not a Labour man, said, when he was Governor-General of Canada, in November, 1949 -
The Russians are looking for security. They do not want war. It is wrong to compare Russia with the German Hitler. The Germans are more of a problem than the Russians.
I quote now what some authorities are saying as to who is preparing for war. The United States Journal of Commerce stated in March, 1948 -
Only an improved international situation can dim the business outlook.
The Wall Street Magazine, of November, 1948, stated-
While a peace scare is not probable in the near future, its impact - if we had one, and it implied a lowering of arms outlays - might easily be worse than a moderate tax increase from the standpoint of corporate profits.
The United States News and World Report, of the 31st December, 1949, stated -
Peace, if it really arrives, would upset things. At present arms expenditure and aid to other countries are bolstering business.
On the 10th December, 1947, the New York Herald Tribune quoted Dr. Slichter, Harvard economist, and high official of the United States Committee for Economic Development, as saying -
Without the cold war, the demand for goods by, the Government would be many millions of dollars less than now. He added that a severe American depression was “ quite difficult to conceive so long as we are enjoying the benefits of a cold war “.
– From what is the honorable senator reading?
– I am reading extracts from those newspapers.
– I thought the honorable senator did not like the newspapers?
– These are extracts.
– What did the ‘‘Red Dean “ say ?
– The very reverend gentleman was a credit to this country, and we should have appreciated his visit. We should not have treated him as he was treated. Honorable senators opposite are prepared to receive a Japanese bishop, Dr. Michael Yashiro, who has come to Australia to plead for murderers, and who said : “ I am so sorry for what happened “. The press to-day contained a picture of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. H. W. K. Mowll, meeting Dr. Yashiro on his arrival from Japan.
– Under the patronage of the Government.
– Dr. Yashiro has stated that he is to plead for those Japanese who murdered Australian boys, yet he was feasted and given a reception. The members of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial. League of Australia are saying that this man should not he given a reception, but he will be given one. The Dean of Canterbury, who was an outstanding gentleman, came here to talk for peace. He was not given civic receptions. He was not allowed the use of certain town halls, and was made to speak in the open in Sydney. Yet a reception is given to this man from Japan.
– Who gave him a reception?
– The people of Australia who support the honorable senator. He is an ambassador for commerce and the past is forgotten provided his visit will lead to profits. The Dean of Canterbury has been misquoted ever since he came to this country. I have heard him speak and have read statements alleged to have been made by him, and they made me ashamed of the newspapers of this country. I said to him, “ I understand that you said we should leave our Northern Territory open for the Japanese and Chinese ? “ The very reverend gentleman said to me, “ Where did you get. that from ? “ I said, “ From the newspapers “. He said, “ Do you think that I would make such a statement ? “, and I replied, “I did not think so, but I have no authority for speculating “. He said, “ I will tell you what I said “. His statement was -
As there has been so much misrepresentation of my attitude in former days and now towards Chinese or Japanese immigration into Australia, I am venturing to send this to put into the Australian archives as the real statement.
In the year 1932 I passed through China and Japan and then through Canada, contrasting the overcrowded condition of the former with the wide empty spaces of the latter. At a missionary meeting, I incidentally said, “ If there are wide spaces on the earth where white mcn cannot, owing to climatic conditions, live and operate, then it would be a dog-in-the-manger policy to shut them up perpetually against the coloured races “. I expressed the opinion, however, that with modern science white men could live in most parts of the world.
I should be the last one to wish to see a flood of pauperized Chinese or Japanese allowed into Australia to undercut the living standards of Australian workers.
The position in the future is likely to” be very different from the present pattern. With her new planned economy, China will find employment for all, together with a rapidly increasing standard of living. The Chinese, therefore, will not have an impoverished coolie class threatening to swamp white labour in Australia, but will have traders eager to supply what Australia can take, and eager to supply what Australia can produce. What applies to China, will, if I am not mistaken, shortly apply to the rest of South-East Asia.
That is a very different statement from what is printed in the newspaper; and it shows that the Dean was misrepresented. When I was reminded of the “Red Dean “, as he is called - I call him a Christian gentleman-
Call from the Chair.
– Order! In accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I protest, Mr. President, against your departure to-night from the practice of giving the call alternately tothe Government side and the Opposition side of the chamber. When the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley) sat down, my colleague, the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport (Senator McLeay) rose to speak. Notwithstanding that, you gave the call to Senator Morrow, thus giving two calls in succession to the Opposition side, and refusing a call that was due to the Government side - apart altogether from the fact that the honorable senator who rose from this side of the chamber is the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. That was very unlike the conduct we have experienced from you. Personally, I trust that there will be no repetition of it.
– I point out to the Minister for Trade and Customs. (Senator O’Sullivan) that he must not reflect on the Chair. Although I am friendly with, and respect him, I do not think that he need have expressed himself in the manner he did. He must know that I try to be completely fair to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, and he knows that I will not depart from the standard I set nearly seven years ago, and have maintained ever since. I was not wrong in what I did, and should not be subject to criticism. On the paper before me, I have Senator Morrow’s name following that of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley), and I promised Senator Morrow that he should he the next speaker. While I was absent from the chamber, and while the Deputy President occupied the chair, a request was made, evidently by Senator Wright or Senator McLeay, and I noticed upon my return that the name of the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport (Senator McLeay) was interpolated between the name of the Leader of the Opposition and that of Senator Morrow on the list. A promise made is a debt unpaid, and I was somewhat perturbed because I had given a promise to Senator Morrow. Senator Wright came to me and said, “ Senator Ashley has spoken as Leader of the Opposition, and I think it is only right that Senator McLeay, as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, should follow him “. Later I called the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport to the chair, because I was upset over having made the promise to Senator Morrow. I said to him : “ I do not feel comfortable about the position. I promised Senator Morrow that he should have the floor, and I do not like to go back . on my promise “. The Minister said to me, “Very well, you must stick to your promise “. That is what I did. I hold no brief for any man’s views, but Senator Morrow’s name has been bandied about in this chamber. On numerous occasions, I have heard from my right certain statements about Senator Morrow, and I believe that I was fully justified in giving him the call. Moreover, I do not know that it has ever been laid down that the call should be given alternately to the right and the left of the chair. The Opposition has a majority of 36 to 24, and it is only right that I should occasionally give the call twice in succession to the Opposition.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following paper was presented: -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Repatriation Department - M.E. Grutzner.
Senate adjourned at 11.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 June 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1950/19500607_senate_19_208/>.