19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie Cameron’) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Minister for Health state whether the statement which has appeared in the press that the bill to deal with national health will not be put before the House until the end of the next session is correct? If the report is correct, what is the reason for delaying introduction of this important measure for so long ? Has there been any alteration in the proposed arrangements with the friendly societies and, if so, is such alteration delaying the introduction of this measure in any way?
– The date of introduction of the measure is dependent upon procedure which must be observed in this House. The programme of Government business will prevent the bill from being dealt with before the end of the present session. Because of the widespread nature of the discussions that have to take place on this matter some delay was inevitable, but it cannot be said that there has been any undue delay. There has been no alteration in the arrangements for participation by friendly societies in the scheme.
– Has the announcement made by the Minister for Health to-day that the Government’s health proposals will not be introduced into the Parliament this session any relation to the fact that the British Medical Association will not define ite attitude on the matter until it holds its conference next month? In view of the Minister’s previous assurances that the scheme must go through a period of gestation, will he help honorable members to determine its parentage by indicating whether the scheme has yet been fully conceived, and, if so, who has really been responsible for it?
– The meeting of the Federal Council of the British Medical Association to which the honorable member has referred is to take place not next month but this month, possibly next week. So far as the period of gestation of the scheme is concerned, it will be found that the child when delivered will be mature and well-born, and, most probably, it will satisfy the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether persons who are not 100 per cent, fit will be debarred from joining the national health insurance scheme. If so, what percentage of fitness must be enjoyed before a citizen can join the scheme? Will contributors who are unable to continue payments, or who are obliged to miss some weekly payments, be debarred from any benefit under the Minister’s proposed scheme?
– I have no intention of answering questions on this subject in any detail apart from announcing that the national health scheme will cover everybody in Australia.
– In view of the fact that the Minister for Health has issued a number of statements and has made a number of speeches to outside bodies outlining in general terms the nature of the Government’s proposed health scheme, when does he propose to pay this House the courtesy of making a statement to it on the subject ? Further, as it appears likely that at least twelve months must elapse before the scheme will begin to operate, will the Minister discuss with the Treasurer the possibility of making refunds of taxes that are levied for the purposes of the health scheme prior to the date of its commencement?
– Any consideration of such a request to the Treasurer would have to extend back over a period of about eight years in order to cover the period of Labour administration, when heavy taxes were levied without any health scheme being in operation. The House will be paid the courtesy of having a complete measure presented to it at the appropriate time.
– Has the Minister for Works and Housing noticed that the recently published result of an Australiawide Gallup poll is that it is the considered opinion of most people that if the State governments really want as many houses as possible built they should stop all government housing projects and leave all available resources to private builders? As the Australian Government is responsible for the financing of State government housing undertakings, is the Minister satisfied that value is being secured for the money expended by State governments and that homes are being erected without undue delay? As, in my division of Mitchell, there is every evidence that government house building is costly and slow and is not resulting in the erection of the number of houses which should be built, will the Minister give consideration to reviewing the agreement between the Commonwealth and the State governments in the light of existing conditions?
– I have not seen the result of the Gallup poll to which the honorable member has referred but I shall inform myself concerning it. If the honorable member’s suggestions were acceded to it would entail a reconsideration of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement which, I believe, is working quite reasonably well. I shall have an investigation made in order to see whether the honorable gentleman’s suggestion that the houses built under this agreement are costing more than houses built by private enterprise is correct. The housing agreements between the Commonwealth and the States are enabling a gap in the home-building programme to be filled and I should be reluctant to recommend that the Government should re-consider them. In any event, I remind the honorable member that approximately 80 per cent, of the houses that now come under the agreements are being erected by private enterprise at the instance of the housing authorities of the States.
– On the 27th April, I asked the Minister for National Development whether he had replied to the request of the New South “Wales Minister for Housing for a reduction of interest rates from 3 per cent, to 1 per cent, for Housing Commission homes controlled jointly by the New South Wales Government and the Australian Government. I am led to believe that the request, if granted, would enable the rent of a house that cost up to £2,000 to be reduced bv about 10s. 6d. a week. I asked the Minister whether a reply had been forwarded to the request, and, if not, when a reply would be forwarded. At that time the Minister suggested that he would regard it as being placed on the notice-paper and advise me later. That was on the 27th April. I now ask him again whether he can tell me when a reply will be given to my question?
– I do not recollect the previous question to which the honorable gentleman has referred, but in any event the matter is one of policy which, if it were to be agreed to, would involve a serious additional burden on the budget. I am not prepared to deal with such a matter on a question without notice.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that under the present regulations governing war service homes, ex-servicemen who desire to purchase homes that are occupied by tenants are unable to secure any financial assistance from the Government, even when there is a distinct possibility that they will be able to obtain vacant possession of those dwellings within twelve months. If the position is as I have stated, will the right honorable gentleman give consideration to the advisability of altering those regulations in order that no obstacles of that kind shall be placed in the path of any exserviceman who wishes to acquire a home?
– The Minister for Works and Housing will answer the question.
– I shall investigate the matter and obtain the information on which to give a reply to the honorable gentleman’s question.
– Will the Minister for National Development prepare for presentation to this House a statement showing the extent to which northern Queensland is included in the Government’s development plans? Will he state whether the schemes for the Burdekin River, the Herbert River and the Tully River are included in’ the plans and whether the Government is prepared to subsidize the schemes that have been submitted by the Premier of Queensland on a £l-for-fl basis?
– As the Prime Minister and I have said many times in this House, plans for developmental projects in northern Queensland will be given the most sympathetic consideration by the Government. The consideration of the three schemes that have been mentioned by the honorable member has not been completed. The Government is still waiting to receive essential additional information about the Burdekin scheme from the Queensland Government before it makes its final decision. I can ease the honorable gentleman’s mind by saying that the three schemes he has mentioned will be given all possible attention by the Government.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service concerning congestion in southern Tasmanian ports, particularly as it affects the shipment c* apples to Europe. What is the present, situation at those ports and how much Commonwealth help is being extended to the local authorities?
– -When the honorable member and his colleague, the honorable member for Franklin, brought this matter to my notice some time ago, I communicated with the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board in order to ascertain what action could be taken to assist in the shipment of the very large quantity of apples that was waiting to be exported to the United Kingdom. I believe that 2,500,000 cases of apples were involved in the contract. At one stage, it appeared that 1,000,000 cases could not be loaded and despatched within the time available, but, as the result of measures that have already been adopted, it appears now that, with reasonably good fortune, we shall be able to remove all of the apples that are involved in the contract. The latest development that has been brought to my notice by the chairman of the board is that a special arrangement is sought to be made at Huon by means of which four lighters and 220 additional men will be made available to assist in the work of loading apples. A representative of the Waterside Workers Federation, a representative of the fruitgrowers and a representative of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board are now actively investigating the plan and I hope that useful results will emerge from it.
– Last week I asked the Minister for Health a question about the provision of acoustic laboratories in the various States. He stated that one had been set up in Perth. Can the Minister now tell the House the number of children that have been examined at the laboratory, and the number of those who have been found to be suffering from defective hearing? Will he also announce the number of hearing aids that have been provided, the address of this laboratory, and the name of the medical officer in charge?
– I shall answer the honorable member’s questions in the reverse order. The officer in charge is Miss Maureen Brown, M.A., psychologist. Miss Johnson has been appointed by the State Education Department, and she. and Miss Brown will jointly undertake this investigation. The address of the laboratory is “ The Cloisters, St. George’s Terrace, Perth “. The number of hearing aids issued by the Commonwealth authority is four, but 55 belonging to the children have been serviced during the past few months. Last month the Perth laboratory issued 356 batteries. The number of children found to be suffering from defective hearing has not yet been determined accurately because the survey has not yet fully commenced, but 450 children are attending the laboratory for testing. The number of children who have been examined at the laboratory is not available at the present time, but Dr. Stang, the State Medical Officer, is carrying out investigations with regard to this matter. I shall be able to give information on that point to the honorable member later on.
– Several instances of “the useful life of Australian-made cords for Hearing aids being less than a month have been brought to my notice recently. In view of the allegedly inferior quality of Australian-made cords, will the Minister for Health have an investigation made with a view to improving the standard of the Australian product or, alternatively, will he confer with the Minister for Trade and Customs with a view to having American equipment admitted to Australia free of duty?
– I shall examine the complaints that have been made about Australian-made cord?. There can be no question about the fact that, otherwise, acoustic equipment made in Australia is equal to the best.
– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. Recently I directed a question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture relative to the serious threatened shortage of cornsacks for the coming harvest. It has been stated by overseas authorities that in Spencer’s Gulf, South Australia, there exists the largest known marine fibre deposits in ‘ the world. Approximately 35 years ago a company started to manufacture products from these deposits at Port Pirie and Port Broughton. Because of the heavy cost of production caused by the shortage of machinery, the fact that the fibre had to be sent to Europe for final treatment, and the competition from 7s. a dozen cornsacks, the company could not carry on. I desire to ask the Minister whether he “will request the officers of his department to make a complete survey and investigation of the advisability of exploiting what should undoubtedly be an industry of national benefit to Australia.
– I shall be glad to have the matter investigated, and give the honorable gentleman the information that ho requires.
– In view of the fact that for some years the States have been endeavouring, without success, to have the existing Commonwealth and State financial relations revised, and in view of the fact that the Government announced recently that a meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers would he convened to discuss that matter, is the Prime Minister yet in a position to advise the House when that meeting will take place?
– I regret that I am not in a position to say when the meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers can occur. As the honorable member for Swan knows, certain elections are pending. An election is to be held in New South Wales, but the precise date of the poll is not yet known, and until some of those matters have been cleared up, it is not possible to fix the exact date for the meeting of Premiers.
– I desire to address a question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. Last week, questions were asked about the anticipated availability of sacks for corn and onions, and again to-day, cornsacks have been mentioned in a question. The Minister indicated in his reply last week that the matter was engaging the attention of his department. Is the Minister aware that a great deal of concern is now being expressed by wheatgrowers, following recent press reports, of a likely shortage of wheat sacks for the coming season’s crop? In order to clarify the position, will the Minister make a statement in which he will indicate the arrangements that are being made to ensure that sufficient wheat sacks shall be available to meet this season’s requirements? Will he also be prepared to arrange a survey, in conjunction with the Government of Queensland, of the wheat-growing areas on the Darling Downs for the purposes of examining the possibilities there for the installation of bulk storage facilities for the wheat grown in that area?
– I shall reply first to the last part of the question which has been asked by the honorable member for Darling Downs, relative to a survey of the possibilities of tie installation of bulk storage facilities for wheat in the Darling Downs region. It has customarily been accepted that the provision of bulk storage is the responsibility of State governments, and, normally the Commonwealth would not intervene or engage in an investigation of the kind which the honorable gentleman has mentioned, unless the State governments asked it for assistance in such an examination. If such a request were received by the Commonwealth, we should be very glad to co-operate with a State government along the lines that the honorable member has indicated. The major issue, by which I mean the shortage of wheat sacks, is a known circumstance. The Government recognizes the importance of having adequate supplies of sacks for the impending harvest and I, through the officers of my department, have been taking every possible step for some time to provide sufficient sacks. The Jute Controller has been sent to India on a special mission, and has done some useful work in that country, but when we ran up against very difficult obstacles, the Prime Minister himself communicated directly with the Government of India relative to the matter. The outcome ha= been that the Government of India has allotted to us a positive quota of 70,000 tons of jute for sacks. The Government of India controls the export of cornsacks by two processes. By the first of these it decides what are described as “ destinational quotas” or the quantities of jute that may be sent to each country. Concurrently with that the Government of India allots, within those destinational quotas, individual quotas to trader exporters. The only problem that we have at the present time is that although we have a destinational quota for Australia the individual quotas that have been allotted by the Government of India are not entirely to traders who are either able or willing to supply Australia with jute and fabricated sacks. Active negotiations are proceeding at the present time with individual traders and the Government of India with a view to resolving that particular problem. We have actually placed firm orders and, I believe that I am correct in saying that we have actually contracted to purchase the total amount of jute for which quotas have been allotted to Australia. However, we are still encountering the problem -that some of the traders to whom the Government of India has allotted quotas are not prepared to sell to us, or else have not the sacks to sell. We have no doubt that we shall solve the problem, because its importance is recognized.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service say whether it is a fact that even if the miners’ federation agreed to the use of machines for the extraction of coal from pillars in mines, the necessary machines are not available to make the change-over to that system possible? Is it also a fact that coal production cannot be increased appreciably by the mechanical extraction of pillar coal because men will be taken from other parts of each mine concerned to work the machines used for the extraction of pillar coal? Is it further a fact that, even with their present inadequate plant, New South Wales coal-mines are from 1,700 to 2,000 mine workers short of requirements and, therefore, the extraction of pillar coal under present labour conditions by mechanical means would not mean increased coal production and fewer black-outs? Is it also true that the mere introduction of machines to work the coal face or the pillars in a mine would not necessarily increase coal production, because the full benefits of mechanization can only be gained when mines are mechanically worked and modernized from the coal face out to the mine-head?
– I cannot answer all the questions that the honorable gentleman has raised because some of the answers would come more appropriately from the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport. For example, I am not in a position to say whether sufficient machines are available at the present time to carry out the work to which the honorable member has referred. I believe from information in my possession that it is true, however, as the honorable member has stated, that the extraction of pillar coal would not necessarily increase the volume of coal that might otherwise be won by the same number of men and the same number of machines if they were engaged on other methods or in other areas for producing coal. I assume that the Coal Industry Tribunal, in giving a decision recently authorizing mine-owners to extract pillar coal, was more concerned with the proper working of the mines than with the immediate problem of increasing coal production. I understand that it is also a fact, as the honorable member has indicated, that there is a serious shortage of coalminers at present available for mining work in New South Wales. The Government is concerned with this problem and is examining various solutions of it. If there are any other points contained in the honorable gentleman’s question with which I have not dealt I shall see that a supplementary reply is given to him.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question supplementary to that which has been asked by the honorable member for Shortland , is it a fact that the Coal Industry Tribunal is the first authority in the history of Australia that has ordered the mining of pillar coal ? Was the mining of pillar coal objected to by the miners and their officials long before any Communists were in control of the union organization? Does the Government support the decision of the tribunal that pillar coal must be mined, or does it support the stand of the men, who claim that the mining of pillars would endanger their lives? If the Government proposes to stand by the decision of the tribunal and enforce the mining of pillar coal, will it also share the responsibility for the consequences if the worst fears of the miners are realized after the pillars have been mined?
– The honorable member has asked whether the Coal Industry Tribunal, in giving a decision that authorizes the extraction of pillar coal by mechanical means, is the first authority to direct men to mine pillar coal. I assume that he refers to the extraction of pillars by mechanical means.
– Yes, and by any other means. The pillars have been left in the mines for the purpose of keeping the roofs up.
– The extraction of pillar coal by other than mechanical means is a long established feature of coalmining, as the honorable member is aware. Without commenting upon the decision that has been given by the Coal Industry Tribunal, I know that different views are held by many people, including practical miners, concerning the safety of mechanical extraction of pillar coal as opposed to manual extraction.. When I was Minister for Labour and National Service in a previous government, I received a deputation from a representative group of miners who said that they would prefer mechanical means of extraction of pillars to manual methods, which were then generally employed. However, it is not my function, or that of the Government, to examine the considerations that were before the tribunal when it gave its decision. The effect of the decision, as I understand it, was that, in the view of the tribunal, employers were authorized to use mechanical means for the extraction of pillar coal. Obviously they could not do so if the necessary labour was not forthcoming, and I have no doubt that they would have to be convinced, as would the tribunal, that the methods of extraction would not endanger the safety of their men. The general policy of the Government, so far from setting itself up as an umpire or an authority on such matters, is to allow the appropriate tribunals to examine problems fully and then, when their decisions are given, to back those decisions with its full authority. We have our measure of responsibility in this matter, as have the mine owners, the State Government and the miners themselves. We shall not shirk our own responsibility.
– In view of the advice that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture gave to the House on the 2nd May to the effect that a new meat contract was the subject of negotiations between the Australian Government and the Government of the United Kingdom, will he now state what relation the price under the existing beef contract with the United Kingdom bears to world parity? In view of world beef prices, is the Australian producer of beef, as an individual, directly subsidizing the British consumer or the British Government? If the British Government is obtaining a trade advantage would the Minister indicate what reciprocal trade advantage, if any, the beef producers of Australia are enjoying? If it is the Government’s policy to give trade advantages in that manner does he consider it fair that the cost of its so doing should be borne by a section rather than the whole of the people? Does the Minister consider that government to government beef contracts offer the same efficiency to the industry as could be offered by private enterprise? A specific instance would be the successful chilling, shipping and distribution of chilled beef from Australia to United Kingdom consumers?
– The honorable member has based his question on the relation of the present price for Australian meat under the United Kingdom contract to world parity. I believe that the answer to that proposition must be that there is no recognizable world parity at present, except in respect of pig meats. The principal exporters are Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. The prices being received for Australian and New Zealand meat are approximately the same with, perhaps, a slight advantage to Australia. The price being paid for meat from Argentina is much higher than the price being paid for Australian meat under the United Kingdom contract, but I am not prepared to admit that that price can be taken as determining world parity. Several of the honorable member’s questions tear to such a degree upon the issue of what is world parity that I am not able to express an opinion on them. The honorable gentleman also inquired whether the Australian meat producers would not be more adequately protected under a system of selling other than direct from government to government. We do not determine whether we shall sell to the United Kingdom Government. That is determined by the United Kingdom Government which is determined to be the buyer under the present setup. However, in order that Australian producers shall be adequately protected in that respect, I propose to confer in Canberra either tomorrow or on the following day, with representatives of the Australian Meat Board with a view to discussing an arrangement under which representatives of the board, particularly producers’ representatives, could be enabled to he in London, when price negotiations are taking place to act as consultants to those negotiating prices on Australia’s behalf and, at the same time, to discuss what precautions must be taken to ensure that commercial representatives on the Australian Meat Board do not have an opportunity to acquire prior knowledge that would give them a trading advantage.
– Has the Minister for Immigration read the newspaper reports in which allegations are attributed to passengers on Empire Brent that conditions on the vessel during its voyage from England were most unsatisfactory, that medical facilities were lacking, that food supplies generally were bad, and that these conditions contributed to the deaths of two passengers, a child and a woman, during the voyage? Can the Minister say whether there is any substance in those allegations?
– Off-hand, I am not in a position to give the details that the honorable member has- requested. I have asked for a report upon the matter to which he has referred and I expect to receive it later to-day. However, at this stage, I am able to say that Empire Brent conforms to the passenger standards of the British Board of Trade which are generally recognized to be the highest in the world. The vessel is being operated by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company for the British Ministry of Transport. The company has a long and good record of passenger carrying in these waters. Empire Brent has made seven previous voyages with assisted British migrants and no complaints of this nature have previously been made. The numbers carried on this trip were slightly less than those that were carried on previous voyages. I view the complaints very seriously and I shall obtain such details as I am able to secure and place them before the honorable member.
-~I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question supplemental to the question asked by the honorable member for Isaacs relating to the last voyage of the steamer, Empire Brent. Will the Minister consider extending his inquiries to cover not only allegations about living conditions, food and other matters in the ship, but also an allegation which has been current in the press during the week-end, which was attributed to a member of the crew, that the drunkenness and hooliganism of some migrant passengers had made the trip the worst that he had ever experienced? In view of the seriousness of such allegations and the adverse effect which they may have on immigration policy, will the Minister please obtain full information about this matter so that steps may be taken to avoid such happenings in the future, or, if the allegations are groundless, in order that they may be characterized as such ?
– I shall see that the matter is investigated, but I point out to the honorable member that the men who have been referred to as poor types are assisted British immigrants. They have been examined and approved by representatives of the British Department of Labour and National Service and they have been nominated by friends, relatives or employers in Australia. From my own observation of British immigrants who have arrived in recent years, I do not think that anybody could fairly describe them as being not of good types, and I have no reason to believe that the men on Empire Brent are of lower standards. It is true that there was a bigger proportion of single men than usual on Empire Brent, and I have no doubt that single men on a long voyage, embarking upon what they Would regard as a great adventure in a new country, would celebrate the experience from time to time in a fashion that is not peculiar to British immigrants but is common to young men all over the world. However, if there has been any conduct of a kind that should be prevented in future, I shall see that appropriate action is taken.
– In view of the alarming increases of the cost of living, and the financial burden thereby imposed on the parents of invalid children between the ages of 16 and 21 years, particularly those who have other dependent children in the family, will the Prime Minister consider the removal of the adequate maintenance provisions of the invalid pensions legislation which debar children between the ages of 16 and 21 years from receiving the pension if the income of the parents is deemed to be sufficient to provide adequate maintenance for them? If the Government considers that these provisions cannot be removed at present, will the Prime Minister consider widening them so that invalid children of parents in the lower and middle income groups may be eligible to receive the pension?
– I shall see that the suggestions made by the honorable member are taken into consideration at the appropriate time.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Interior. I understand that the site of the proposed American war memorial in Canberra is on the crest of a small rise in a direct line between this House and the Australian War Memorial. Since any construction
On that site would naturally impair the view of our national shrine of remembrance, will the Minister consider the selection of another site for the American war memorial ?
– The site of the proposed American war memorial is on what is known as the Parliament HouseAustralian War Memorial axis. The National Capital Planning and Development Committee has already examined not only the site but also the design of the proposed memorial, and in order to prevent any interference with the view of the Australian War Memorial it has suggested that certain alterations be made to the design. If the suggested alterations are accepted, the American war memorial will not constitute an obstruction to the Australian War Memorial.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture had brought to his attention the likelihood that the enhanced value of butter and tea ration coupons has revealed malpractice and may cause considerable hardship ? Is the honorable gentleman able to devise any means, such as the issue of a regulation or a declaration, by which the gap between the former and the new value of coupons may be bridged, so that wellmeaning people will be able to secure the goods to which they would normally be entitled?
– I am not familiar with the situation to which the honorable member has referred, nor do I administer the rationing of butter and tea. The rationing of those commodities is under the control of the Minister for Trade and Customs, to whose notice I shall bring the honorable member’s question.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport. In view of the great shortage in the capital cities of small coke for domestic purposes, and the consequent suffering that will be occasioned, particularly to elderly people and children, during the coming winter, will the honorable gentleman ask his colleague to take up this matter as one of urgency with the State governments with a view to organizing reliable sources of supply?
– I shall bring the honorable member’s question to the notice of the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport and ask that a reply be furnished.
– Will the Minister for the Interior state whether it is a fact that the only laundry in Canberra increased its charges by 100 per cent, recently? Are prices still controlled in the Australian Capital Territory? Is the Minister aware that the domestic implications of this action have been many and varied and have caused great distress among unmarried public servants and members of Parliament? In view of this complaint and others which 1 have voiced recently, will the Minister investigate the operation and profits of this monopoly
– I am not aware that the Canberra Laundry Limited has increased its charges but I shall have inquiries made into this allegation. I understand that prices control still operates in the Australian Capital Territory. If that is so, any increase in charges would have been approved by the controlling authority.
– I desire to ask the Minister for the Interior a question. I have been animated to do so as a result of the volume of protest I have received from residents of and visitors to the Australian Capital Territory. 1 ask the Minister whether he is aware that the policy of the Parks and Gardens Section of his department aims at, and is having the effect of, scrapping the plan to make Canberra a garden city by ruthlessly abolishing flower beds and ornamental flowering shrubs throughout the city area and substituting lawns in their place? Will the Minister seek the advice of the Advisory Council in respect of the present non-creative policy of the Parks and Gardens Section of his department before any further garden plots are obliterated in order to make way for the ordered uniformity of lawns throughout the city area ?
– am not aware that the Parks and Gardens Section of my department has a policy which involves the scrapping df garden beds in the Australian Capital Territory, but I shall have inquiries made in order that I may provide the honorable member with an answer to his question.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether the States have made requests for funds for the maintenance of roads. How far has the Government proceeded with plans for assisting the States adequately to finance road authorities and local governing bodies? Could the Minister have interim payments made to the States pending the next meeting of the Loan Council so that local governing bodies may be relieved, in some way, of the enormous expense which has been brought about by floods which have damaged roads, particularly in country areas and may be assisted in the construction of developmental roads to mineral deposits? I point out that during the last eight years, due to the expansion of government enterprise, particularly in relation to the erection of houses, post offices, banks and other departmental buildings, councils have been deprived of money which they would otherwise have received from rates.
– I presume that the honorable gentleman is speaking of matters other than those covered by the Federal Aid Roads and Works Act. The Ministry of National Development has not yet finalized its consideration of means of helping the State governments in respect of what may be broadly called developmental projects. This matter is undergoing considerable scrutiny at the moment but as soon as I am able, on behalf of the Government, to say anything concerning it, I shall do so.
– Will the Treasurer consider the possibility of exempting all bona fide fishermen from payment of the petrol tax? This request is made on the grounds that fishermen earn their livelihood from the sea and not from the road and that this tax is essentially a road tax. At one port in my electorate fishermen contribute about £50 a month in petrol tax although it is only a small port. Fishermen’s associations have been making representation on this matter for some time.
– Fishermen receive consideration under the Federal Aid Roads and Works Act and also in relation to the petrol tax. Consideration is given by the Government to havens, the erection of boat landings and other structures which may be financed from the petrol tax.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he can give the House any information regarding the practical application of the Government’s intention to take over and develop the aerodrome at Griffith, in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area of New South Wales?
-I, am aware of the problem connected with the Griffith aerodrome and also of the honorable gentleman’s keenness concerning it and the notable initiative shown by the president and members of what I believe is the Wade Shire in building the airfield in the first place. The Department of Works and Housing is taking action in connexion with the widening and sealing of the main strip at Griffith aerodrome. In my dual capacity as Minister for Works and Housing and Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, I shall be glad to write myself a sharp note on the subject.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport whether he is aware that the Commonwealth Government ships are being accorded less favorable treatment in the allocation of labour for the turn-round in Australian ports than are those of private companies ? As this treatment appears to have been particularly noticeable since the commencement of this year, I ask whether it is not the responsibility of the Government to see that its ships are accorded facilities at least equal to those received by the ships of private shipping companies? Will the Minister have this matter investigated in order to ascertain whether any species of sabotage of the utilities owned by the Australian people is occurring and, subsequently, make the results of the investigations available to this House?
– I shall submit the honorable member’s question to the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport, and supply the honorable member with an answer.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether a quota system in relation to imports of oil is operating at present. Did a deputation of representatives of oil companies wait upon the Prime Minister or any other Minister last week to ask that larger quotas he allocated to the smaller companies? Does the Government intend to reduce the importation of oil from dollar areas in order to make dollar funds available for the importation of farm tractors and other essential machinery?
– No representative of any oil company has seen me, but perhaps some interview was held with the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport. I shall communicate with my colleague and ascertain whether he can provide answers to the questions that have been asked by the honorable member.
Zinc, Lead and Wool
– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware of the arrangement under which zinc producers are compelled to sell a certain percentage of their output in Australia at fixed prices that are much below the prices that can be obtained overseas? If so, in view of the runaway increase of the prices of primary products, particularly wool, is the Minister prepared to recommend the adoption of some such scheme for wool in order that the prices of clothing in Australia can be kept within reasonable bounds?
– The only satisfactory marketing scheme for wool that has ever been devised in Australia is the open auction system that operates now.- It is true that zinc producers are supplying the domestic market to-day at a price very much lower than overseas prices. In fact, according to the information given to me, that price is below the cost of production. A similar arrangement applies to lead. This state of affairs is due to the fact that the prices commissioners of the States have, on various occasions, refused to adjust the prices of zinc and lead to levels that would have some regard for costs of production.
Timber - -PETROL
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to a report which appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser to the effect that timber merchants in South Australia recently waited on the Premier of that. State with a complaint that there had been a 33$ per cent, cut in dollar timber, and that South Australia’s quota had been reduced from 7,060,000 super, feet for the quarter ending June, 1949, to 4,704,000 super, feet for the quarter ending June, 1950? It was also pointed out that this reduction in the dollar allocation for urgently required timber is having a serious effect on the home building programme of South Australia, and that the Premier i~ taking a very serious view of the position ? Can the Prime Minister inform the House whether there has been any increase in the dollars spent on petrol since his Government took office? If so, can he state the increase in dollar expenditure on petrol? Does the Government intend to continue a policy which is having such a serious effect on home building?
– I am sorry to say that I have not seen the report in the Advertiser referred to by the honorable member. Therefore, I am not informed of what took place on the occasion of the deputation to which he refers. Insofar as the remainder of his question deals with particular facts and figures, I shall ascertain from the relevant departments what information is available.
Debate resumed from the 11th May (vide page 2565), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the bill bc now read a second time.
.- I do not wish to detain the House more than about twenty minutes, so that as many as possible of my colleagues may speak on this bill. I am sure that such a course will have the approval of all sections of the House. Now that the lid has been lifted off this legislation to ban the Communist party in Australia, two reactions have become apparent among the churches, the press, the Opposition and the people of the nation.
The first reaction is that the vast majority agree with the -banning of the Communist party and agree that such action has been forced on the Government by the disruptive, ruthless techniques of leading Australian Communists, and by the fact that the ultimate objective of the Communist party in any country is the overthrow of the capitalist system by the use of revolutionary means aided by intrigue, subterfuge, subversion and threats. The nation is almost unanimous in the opinion that this threat exists and must be dealt with. That is the first general reaction to this legislation of the people, press, churches and the Opposition. The second reaction of those groups is an agreement among the vast majority that the legislation, to the degree that it goes beyond the banning of the Communist party, strikes a blow at ordinary civil liberties and British justice. I intend to deal with those two reactions. My speech will deal, in a general way, first with the approval of the ban on the Communist party, and, secondly, with the disapproval of certain clauses of thu bill.
-Order ! There is no Minister at the table. Ministers must not leave the table when they are in charge of the House.
A Minister having taken his place at the table,
– In twenty years, communism has expanded from provincial to world status. At the present time it is a force to be reckoned with. It has been nurtured in poverty, depression, unemployment, misery and ignorance, and cradled in democratic complacency. Communism hae grown out of the pre-war soil of economic cannibalism, political instability, financial barbarism and Christian inertia in the nations of the world. Since the end of the second world war we have seen communism as a political party, an economic system, an industrial movement or a religion without God. It exploited in many nations post-war unrest, unemployment, hunger, misery, insecurity and irreligion. That is true of China, Malaya, the United States, Italy, Central Europe, Germany and France. Democracy’s failure to achieve social democracy up to the present time, and to achieve economic and political democracy, has been on a world-wide scale. Our failure to make democracy Christian, our reliance on the law of the jungle in finance and economics, our failure to make human life of more value than profits and money, and our system which has made the rich richer and the poor poorer, are some of the patent reasons why communism has grown in the last 50 years until at the present time it menaces the peace, sanity and security of this nation and other nations.
We must accept some responsibility for the rise of communism. When we consider the tremendous energy and faith of the individual Communist in his ideology, his amazing and ruthless discipline of mind and spirit, his fanaticism in his belief, his organizing genius and determination to use any means to achieve his objective, his lack of inhibitions and rules, his fascist-like methods in union activities, and the history that has made communism possible, it becomes quite apparent why communism and the Communist party are such menaces to us to-day. Last year, in this country, a seven weeks’ coal strike occurred. That was a calculated blow at the previous Government. The attack was on the Labour party and not on the Liberal or the Country parties. It was a deliberate attempt by the Communists to split the Labour movement from top to bottom and tear the industrial wing away from the political wing. Up to that time I should never have approved of the banning of the Communist party, or of any party. I should never have prevented anybody from organizing politically. It was the coal strike of last year, and its ruthless and implacable determination to cripple Labour, that convinced me that something was necessary to be done to combat the menace. I have always been against repression and against the curtailment of speech and movement. It has been hard to have to accept that, but I have given the reason why I have accepted the necessity for banning that party at this time. Chaos was caused and fellow unionists suffered during the coal strike last year. We may sum up the whole position in one sentence, “ The
Communists lost the strike, but won the election on the 10th December last”. They got their way in the end. Short of imposing an outright ban on the Communist party, Labour had hit the Communists hard during the last eight years, as in the coal strike last year, and also in the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act 1947. Action was also taken, under the Constitution, in regard to seditious utterances. Several Communists were put in gaol for having made seditious statements. Any Government supporter who says at this stage that we have not done anything to combat the Communists or communism is stating a complete and utter untruth.
I support the ban on the Communist party for the reasons that I have stated in my speech, but I should like to refer to certain matters about communism. History teaches us that no permanent good can come from this method of dealing with communism. In my opinion, we shall achieve only a temporary good from this legislation, because a government cannot outlaw an idea, or shoot it dead. Our artillery can be arranged against an ideology, but that ideology will survive every time. A government cannot imprison an idea, or stop men from thinking. It can only stop men from assembling, organizing, ministering and lecturing. So let us recognize those fundamental limitations to this legislation, and we shall not be deluded in future.
– Does the honorable member propose to vote against the bill?
– Did you just wake up, Joe?
– Order ! The honorable member may not call another honorable member by his Christian name.
– I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.
– The honorable member may not do so, even though it is a saint’s day.
– We must also remember that the economic, financial and Christian battle must go on against communism even in spite of this bill. Those battles must continue in the economic, financial, Christian and industrial fields against communism, which is an evil thing, because it talks about liberty but does not practise it and talks about freedom but imprisons and persecutes those who oppose it or think differently from it. Communism talks about equality, but is creating in Russia a caste system more vicious than any caste system that we know. It talks about fraternity, but it wishes to destroy all opposition, and foster discontent and warfare within industry and among nations. That is political communism as we know it in the world to-day. Let us heed the warning that was given about two years ago by President Truman in a speech at Chicago, in which he said -
The only way the United States can defeat communism at home and abroad is to produce more and better democracies. You cannot stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it. The best weapons with which to fight communism are laws fulfilling the rights of the people to homes, health, school, security, good jobs, fair wages, and brakes on inflation . . A nation which reaches these goals will never succumb to communism.
We believe that that view is right, even though we are prepared at this stage to go further and ban the Communist party as an organization in our midst on the economic, industrial, financial, cultural and Christian battlegrounds. But we must still go to war with the Communists’ ideas, ideologies and practices in spite of the ban on the existence of that party in Australia. Do not think that the imposition of a simple ban on the Communist party will be the end of communism in Australia, so that we will be able to wash our hands of it. If we were to take that view, we should be like ostriches who bury their heads into the sand. It is not true to say that the imposition of a ban on the Communist party will be the end of communism in Australia. The battle must go on in the fields which I have mentioned, and we must carry on the struggle with all the strength at our disposal. The final victory against communism can be won only in men’s hearts and minds, in men’s beliefs and in their ways of life. The Apostle Paul wrote in his. epistle to the Corinthians -
And yet I shew unto you a more excellent way.
The reference was to the principle of defeating a bad idea, a bad principle or bad mode of life by presenting a better one to the world. That is why Christ came to this earth. Satan cannot cast out Satan. Only a better way of life can submerge an evil way of life. Only a Christian ideology can defeat a pagan ideology. Our democratic ideas, then, must go to war continuously against the Communist ideas. The proposed banning of the Communist party is only one weapon at our disposal to attack communism. There are many other weapons to which I have referred, and we must ever keep them sharp, and always have them in use, now and in the future.
The second point which I make is that there is general agreement throughout the country, including the churches, the press, and the Opposition, to the effect that this bill will go beyond banning the Communist party and that certain civil liberties will be endangered. In destroying fascism, nations so often become fascist themselves. The principle, “ When in Rome, do as the Romans do “, may be very vicious, and it could be involved in this legislation. In protecting our rights and privileges, we may lose them. This bill was meant to be drastic, but if it is not amended it will be unjust. We do not want to pass legislation which can be labelled unjust, to deal with injustice. ]. have not time to quote the opinions of the leaders of various churches on this bill-
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) will be. pleased about that.
– I am delighted.
– If honorable members will read those opinions very carefully, they will note a general agreement among all the churches in Australia on the proposals of this Government for banning communism, but they will also note a warning that we must protect certain privileges, rights and justices that the British people have possessed for centuries. The press is also in agreement with that view; and, strange to say, is almost unanimously behind the Opposition in this Parliament about the necessity for safeguarding civil liberties. I mention in support for that statement, articles in the Age of the 4th May, the Argus of the same date, the Melbourne Herald of the 10th May, the
Launceston Examiner of the 4th May, and the Hobart Mercury of the 14th May, on that provision of the bill relative to the onus of proof. To prove my contention that a large section of the press strikes a warning note to the Government about the onus of proof and the power of search, I shall quote passages from the Launceston Examiner and the Melbourne Age. The Examiner is a very conservative newspaper. It fights the Labour party day in and day out, year in and year out, but we win in Tasmania in spite of it. The article states -
The present emergency legislation is accepted by the overwhelming majority of the people in the game spirit as they accepted that which operated during the shooting war. But they would be very much happier if the government would embody in the bill some guarantee and withdrawal (when the state of emergency ceases to exist) of those provisions that are at variance with fundamental principles of British justice - the placing of the onus of proof upon accused persons and the wide powers of search. . . . The cost of defeating this fifth column should not, and need not include the permanent sacrifice of principles of law that have contributed richly to the development of much that is best in our way of life.
That view is sane, sensible and reasonable. A leading article in the Melbourne Age on the 4th May stated in part -
It would be unwise for the government to insist on the bill the -whole bill and nothing but trie bill in its present form. … It is safe to say 90 per cent, of the community approve of the outlawing of the Communist party. . . .
The Labour party is not only entitled but bound to express its views on procedures that signify their encroachment on individual rights and freedoms. There are inevitable risks of error and injustice in novel dragnet provisions of the drastic scope proposed. It is because of these dangers that liberal minded people feel concerned. The government would be wise to consider carefully how far it could safely go in mitigating its severity of certain machinery provisions.
The onus of proof, which has caused so much concern, was dealt with very brilliantly yesterday morning by the Hobart Mercury. If the Launceston Examiner is a conservative newspaper, the Hobart Mercury is ultra-conservative. It was amazing to read in the Mercury yesterday morning a complete confirmation of the Opposition’s point of view on the onus of proof clause. I have not time to read the article to the House, but honorable members may peruse it in the
Library. That expression of opinion coming from a newspaper like the Mercury, which has bashed and hammered the Labour party throughout the years, is a very remarkable confirmation of our point of view on this occasion. I sincerely hope that this bill is not intended to intimidate any radical members of the Labour party throughout this country, or even industrial leaders, because if it is so intended, it will be a greater menace than the Communist party itself. 1 also sincerely hope that the Government has taken heed of the warnings which we have given to it on this matter. We want to express our ideas, and be free to express them no matter how repugnant they may be to the Liberal party or the Australian Country party. We owe a debt to the Labour movement, which has grown up over the last 70 or 80 years in this country. We shall not surrender our fundamental principles because of this bill. We fought for those principles, and men even died for them in order that they might be given to us. We in this country have always been helped by Labour ideals. Therefore, I say quite frankly that if this bill is levelled at strong-minded Labour men, it will be very bad indeed.
I close with this warning. If this bill is designed to close the mouths or stop the pens of genuine left wing Labourites, Christian socialists and militant democrats it goes far beyond banning the Communist party. Socialism is not an evil thing, but is based on the Christian ethic. I studied the Christian ethic for many years in my former profession as a minister of religion, and I say quite frankly and openly to this Parliament that socialism is based on the Christian ethic ; and the Labour movement, which grew out of that Christian ethic in the nineteenth century in Great Britain, and later here, expresses much of the socialist and Christian socialist thought. Honorable members opposite say that we are exempted from the provisions of the bill, yet they also state that socialism is the road. to communism. Where is their logic ? There is no logic in not including socialists in this bill if honorable members opposite say that socialism leads to communism. I claim that it does not do so. In a democracy the idealist is just as necessary as the realist. Fault3 still exist in our economic and financial systems and must be criticized and rectified if we are to survive. Subversive activity is a different thing altogether. But this bill and the Crimes Act will and must treat subversive activity severely, rationally and ruthlessly, and we are behind any move in that direction. But the ideals of to-day are the realities of tomorrow, and I hope that this bill will not intimidate any strong-minded, outspoken Labourite or democrat in this country from expressing his sincere, honest opinion about things, provided that he does not endanger the country on a security level or engage in treasonable activity. We must have the rights of free and sincere criticism, free expression and free assembly. We must ever safeguard those freedoms. That is why I have given my warning to the Government at this stage. If we do not safeguard those freedoms we shall ourselves have become fascists and totalitarians and have lost the principles and the freedoms that we set out to protect.
– Is the honorable member opposed to the bill?
– I have always in mind a thought with which the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) may not agree. That is, to adapt a scriptural reference, that we must be careful that in seeking to save our soul we do not lose it.
– I support this bill, which I regard as both important and urgent. I consider it to be one of the most important measures that has ever come before this House. As far as its urgency is concerned I consider that the measure is long overdue. A number of surprising statements, and’ one or two shocking ones, have been uttered in the course of this debate. One statement to which I now make reference was made by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) who, in referring to the fact that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in introducing this bill, had quoted from certain works of Stalin, said something like this : “ A biography of Stalin written by an historian named Deutscher who, as far as I know, is the greatest authority on Russia to-day, states that the book from which the Prime Minister quoted was denounced by Stalin himself in 1923 as not having been written by him and as being completely apocryphal “. The statement of the right honorable member for Barton is not in accordance with what Deutscher wrote. I have also found that, so far from being the greatest living authority on Russia Deutscher is a rather mediocre writer who is suspected of Stalinist leanings. Furthermore, the quotation from Deutscher referred to by the right honorable member for Barton does not agree with the facts. I have checked the latest Russian edition of Stalin’s work, published in Moscow and I find that everything that the Prime Minister said is in line with the latest edition.
– Where did the honorable gentleman obtain the book?
– The book was published in Moscow and was purchased in Sydney. It is the book from which the Prime Minister quoted and is obligatory reading for every member of the Communist party and has so been for the last twenty years. It has never at any time been renounced by Stalin as not having been written by him or as being in any way apocryphal. Those are facts. It is extraordinary that anybody should come to this House in entire ignorance of what is fundamental to communism. It is as if somebody who set himself up as an authority on horseracing in Australia confessed that he had never heard of the Melbourne Cup, or as if somebody who set himself up as an authority of Mohammedanism admitted that he had never heard of the Koran. What is really important is that the right honorable member for Barton, while he occupied an exalted position as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, was one of the main instruments in the carrying out out of that body’s policy at a time when Stalin put it all over the United Nations. It is quite certain, now that we can see the position in retrospect, that one of the reasons that Stalin made a fool of that organization was because the people in charge of it knew nothing whatever about communism and were acting in complete, culpable and almost incredible ignorance. That is an important conclusion with regard to the attitude of the Labour party towards this bill.
The Opposition has agreed almost unanimously to support the measure in principle. There is little need for me to voice my support of the principles behind the bill, but I should like to lay renewed stress upon two aspects that do not seem to me to have been sufficiently emphasized. The first is that the Communist party is different from all other political parties. It is in the nature of a conspiracy and that difference applies in respect of, not only the Australian Communist party, but also all Communist parties throughout the world that are in communion with the Bolsheviks in Moscow. That difference stems from something that happened in 1903 which gave the characteristic name of Bolshevik to all Communist parties. At that time Lenin split the Communists and certain factions were called Bolsheviks. The split was on the issue that all members of the Communist party should do as they w§re told, take part in party activities and be subject to iron discipline. The current constitution of the Australian Communist party enshrines the seemingly innocent phrase that a party member shall engage in party activities.. The significance of that phrase is made clear in the official history of the Communist party, and when one reads what happened in 1903. That event was considered by Communists to be so important that it has given the name of Bolshevik to the party ever since.
This results in the conspiratorial nature of the Communist party and makes it different from every other party in that it is, in fact a conspiracy and not a political party at all. Although it has been mentioned in this House, it has not, in my view, been sufficiently stressed that the Communist party is in its nature a fifth column for Soviet Russia which is meditating and planning aggression against us and using Communist parties in every country as instruments in the preparation of that aggression and for the furtherance of its prospects if, and when, that aggression occurs. The nature of the Communist party in Australia and elsewhere as a fifth column at the most critical stage in the world’s history is full justification for applying the principles of this bill on which all parties are agreed. We want the bill to be as effective as possible. That involves two requirements. First, we must hit the Communist party as hard as possible and in the place that will hurt it most; and secondly, we should avoid hitting people who are not Communists. The bill is designed to achieve those two objectives and for that reason it should be, as in fact it is, supported in principle by all parties.
When I come to consider the attitude of the Opposition towards the measure, I must commence by analysing what ha3 happened inside that party. For this purpose, the Opposition party can be divided into three main factions. The first of these comprises those who are sincere anti-Communists in every sense of the word. No one can tell me that honorable members like the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean) and the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) are not sincere anti-Communists; and I know for a fact that there are others. The second comprises a number of honorable members who, judged on their public utterances, are just as sincerely pro-Communists. I mention, for instance, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway), who, judged by their utterances inside and outside the Parliament, have clearly shown themselves to be pro-Communist. In between those factions there is the third group. It comprises of what I call waverers those honorable members who normally in the past have sided with the pro- Communist view although they, themselves, have not, perhaps, been proCommunists.
– Who are they?
– Individuals like the right honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Chifley) and the right honorable member for Barton who, in the past, have had considerable personal and organizational contact with Communists and Communist organizations. Those right honorable members together with the proCommunists have controlled the Labour caucus. But - and this is the important thing - the rank and file of Labour outside the Parliament is almost overwhelmingly anti-Communist. Either by accident or by design it has happened that hitherto in the Labour caucus the pro-Communists have had the day. No legislation against the Communist party was introduced while the Labour Government was in office but once the present Government assumed office and brought in such legislation the situation crystallized and the anti-Communist feeling inside the Labour party became overwhelming. That would not have happened, and, in fact, did not happen, until there was a change of government; but this measure having been introduced, the overwhelming feeling of the rang and file of Labour was such that it was no longer safe for the waverers in the Labour caucus to oppose it and, for that reason, they have agreed to support it in principle with some measure of silence from those who remain Communist in sympathy. Thus, the Opposition party can now be divided, not into three, but into two factions. First, those who genuinely support the bill and wish it to be effective ; and secondly, those who have to give lip service to the measure but are trying in one snide way or another to make it ineffective because they cannot afford any longer to face the electoral consequences of giving open support to communism in their opposition to the bill, in other words, those who are fighting a clever rearguard action against the bill by bringing forward a number of amendments, some of which are justified and some of which are not justified.
Let me distinguish between the two classes of amendment that have been forecast by the Opposition. Some of those amendments have been brought forward inside the Opposition party by genuine opponents of communism, whilst some of them have been brought forward by honorable members who are still proCommunist but who, for electoral reasons, dare not allow their opposition to be open and vocal any longer. I believe that it is a significant and hopeful sign for democracy that the present Government, speaking through the Prime Minister, is not adamant about considering amendments. It will be remembered that when any proposal had the imprimatur of caucus upon it, the previous administration would not accept any amendment and, in fact, did not accept any amendment. However, the present Government is more democratic and less caucus-ridden and, as the Prime Minister himself has intimated, it is at least prepared to consider any helpful and genuine suggestions. If this measure is to be as effective as possible, Opposition support for it is important, even though the Opposition when it was in office did not, and could not, introduce any measure of this nature. Nevertheless, the measure can be far more effective and far more fully operative if we receive from as large a section as possible of the Opposition genuine support for it. For that reason the Government will go as far as it can to meet the wishes of the Opposition without weakening the bill and without infringing its operative principles.
But another factor has, perhaps, eluded the Parliamentary Draftsman in this measure. It is that the Communist party in Australia has a whispering machine of almost unexampled efficiency which is able to put distorted ideas into people’s minds, to get them to believe those ideas and to believe that they are ideas of their own. That is one of the tragic reasons for the success of communism in Australia and in the international sphere. The Communist grapevine is very effective. Those who operate it here pick clauses out of this bill and twist their legal meaning. The clauses relating to onus of proof may be perfectly fair and reasonable. I believe that they are fair and reasonable, and that any jurist would regard them as reasonable and not unfair to the individual. But they may be made to sound bad to the layman, who is not a lawyer. The Communists are very clever at picking out phrases that can be twisted and cannot be properly understood by a layman who is unaccustomed to dealing with legal niceties. It is therefore necessary that the bill should not only he fair but also that it should sound fair and be incapable of distortion by the Communist grapevine. I believe that the Government would do well to accept amendments that do not impair the principles and effectiveness of the bill, but which would in a sense make it even more effective by removing from the Communist grapevine the power to distort and fasify it in the ears of laymen. It is essential that the bill should not only be legally right, out also that it should sound right.
I propose now to deal with foresi!adowed amendments of the bill. The Opposition has suggested, for instance, that it will propose amendments relating to the right of search, the right of appeal to a supreme court, and the payment in certain cases of compensation and costs. I understand that there is also a proposal that parliamentarians should be specifically excluded from the operation of the legislation. All of these proposals are, in my opinion, reasonable. Certain other matters which fall into the same category should, I think, also be considered. First. I suggest that the preamble of the bill should contain two additional recitals. One should name Stalin and Soviet Russia directly as the enemy against whom we are fighting. Do not let us be mealy-mouthed about this matter. We should draw attention to the existence of a fifth column in our midst in order to bring the bill more surely within the ambit of the defence power. The second additional recital that I suggest should be included should link up with the guilt of the Communist party, the guilt of eac individual member of it as demonstrated by the constitution of the party which I quoted at the beginning of my speech. I am not satisfied with the definition of “ Communist “ as it stands at present. Although legally the definition may be all right, it is capable of being twisted. In fact, Opposition members and their official organs have already twisted it. We should devise a definition that is less capable of being twisted. I suggest that it might read something like this - “ Communist “ means a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of Marxist communism in the sense that it has been developed by Lenin and Stalin or is the doctrine of the Soviet Union at the date of the commencement of this Act.
It seems to me that a more rigorous definition would help us to attack the Communists and remove from them their power to distort.
– “Would the honorable member support an amendment along those lines?
– I should probably do so. However, I am not a lawyer and I am not capable of stating in legal terminology what I wish to convey. The general principle of the onus of proof, as embodied in clauses 5 and 9, must stand. As drafted, those clause.0 are legally fair and are not open to the possibilities of abuse that the Opposition has tried to suggest attaches to them. However, besides being legally fair they must sound legally fair in the ears of laymen and should not be capable of being twisted. If the draftsman is capable of devising alternative provisions which are watertight and not capable of being twisted I shall support them. I am not sure, however, whether it would be practicable for him to do so. The intention of clause 22 would, I think, be made more clear by the insertion before the word “ evidence “, which appears in both sub-clauses (1.) and (2.), the words “ prima facie “. I am certain that as the clause now stands the word “ evidence “ is deemed to mean prima facie evidence ; but we should do everything possible to make the intention of the Parliament clear to the layman and to prevent the Communist grapevine from distorting the legal meaning of the provisions of this legislation. Itwould also not be unreasonable to ask the Government to add a clause providing that unless the period of operation of the legislation be extended by a vote of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, it shall expire on, say, the 31st December, 1952. Unfortunately, I have no reason for believing that the menace, of foreign communism will have been removed by that date. While the menace of foreign communism, operating in Australia through a fifth column, continues, this or similar legislation must continue to operate.
In many respects this bill is foreign to accepted tradition. Whilst it is necessary that such legislation be placed on the statute-book now, and whilst it is highly probable that its provisions will need to remain in operation for a long time, we can at any rate indicate that we want legislation of this kind to remain on the statute-book only for as long as it is necessary. It should operate for as long as it is necessary and for no longer.
There are many other matters which, in my opinion, will be worth considering if they can be adequately dealt with by the draftsman and if some degree of Opposition consent can he obtained so that the bill will not be subject to too much contention. It seems to me that in some respects this bill is too mild. For example, I should like the declaration provided for in clause 9 to be made applicable not only to Communists who are employed in vital industries and other posts, but also to all Communists who, by virtue of the fact that they are members of a conspiracy against this country, are all guilty and all potentially dangerous. I do not think that we should abandon that principle. I should like to see a new clause inserted in the bill making it obligatory under a heavy penalty for every person who, since a certain date, has been a member of the Australian Communist party to register as such. Failure to register should be made an indictable offence. It is not possible, within the time limits imposed on my speech, for me to discuss that aspect of the bill fully. It seems desirable that registration of such people should be compulsory so that failure to register would constitute an indictable offence for which the offender could be tried by a jury and if found guilty made to suffer a heavy penalty.
The last matter with which I wish to deal is the fact that no penalties have been imposed for the contravention of the provisions of clause 11, particularly insofar as they relate to returning officers at union elections. We know very well that if an avowed or a secret Communist is appointed as returning officer at a union election the possibility of obtaining a true reflection of the views of the members of that organization is very much reduced. I believe that a very heavy penalty should be included in this bill in respect of any open, secret or declared Communist who acts as returning officer at a union election or in connexion therewith.
In conclusion, I add a plea for recognition of the importance and urgency of this bill. It should be passed as quickly as possible. As far as they are able to do so, honorable members should regard this bill as a non-party measure. I hope that the Government will receive from Opposition members not merely the co-operation that has been forced on them by the real anti-Communist feeling of the Labour rank and file outside the House; but genuine co-operation, directed to completing a workable measure and using it to penalize and hit, as hard as possible, and without respite, every member of the Australian Communist party and that party as a whole.
.- For one who feels that the Communist Party Dissolution Bill is thoroughly good, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) is very liberal in his ideas concerning amendments that might be moved to the hill. The right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) made the naive comment that all the speeches that had been made by honorable members had favoured the bill, but that some of them had favoured it more than others. I noticed that that remark was greeted with approval by honorable members supporting the Government. There is as much trepidation on the Government side of the House as there is on the Opposition side concerning this measure though, perhaps, for different reasons. Fears expressed by the Labour party concerning certain clauses of the bill have been echoed by the press and by legal luminaries. The bill has been examined and has been found wanting because it is lacking in common sense. There is reason for this. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has legal knowledge and experience which are rarely attained by members of his profession. He has also been schooled in the legal tradition that he now so rudely seeks to violate. He knows that the Labour party is opposed to communism and that the Labour party is the only party that has developed any effective means of curbing revolutionary tendencies. He knows that the struggle in the Labour movement and the trade union movement against communism has been going on for from ten to fifteen years and that it is not honest to suggest that there is or ever has been any affiliation between the
Labour party and the Communist party. He knows that those who were aware that Communist-controlled unions have ceased to- pay dues either to the Australian Labour party or to the Trades anl Labour Council and yet attached blame to Labour for revolutionary actions are scandalmongers of the worst type. The Prime Minister knows, or ought to know, that thousands of people joined the Labour movement because they realized that only inside the Labour movement could communism be reasonably combated. It was only after safeguards had been established in the Labour party and the unions, and after it had heard that some of the unions which have a more difficult struggle than others had mentioned that there was a need for some government support, that the party which the Prime Minister leads decided to stand as a champion in the cause of the people against a Communist menace which has been much greater than it is at the present time. The Prime Minister knew that the Labour party would be glad to adopt means for assisting those unions which had been resisting Communist influences. He was aware that he had a mandate to dissolve the Communist party.. He was aware that the Labour movement would be anxious to help those unions which had already been fighting against Communist organization. But party political profit suggested to him that it was as important that he should embarrass the Labour movement as it was that he should commit the Communist party to the limbo of forgotten mover ments. This bill was conceived unnaturally. Its features are vindictive and its approach is treacherous.
The Government intended this to be a bill to liquidate Communists and undesirable parties which would be framed in such a way that Labour could not support it. It was to be the keystone of a double dissolution which might give the Government an opportunity of circulating hot air in order to warm up support for the Liberal party and increase its strength in another place. Because it is not true that the end justifies’ the means, the whole scheme has miscarried and that which was designed to have atomic proportions has exploded with less force than a cracker. Vital energy has been taken from it by the press and the public, and the bill will appear in such a form that it will merely attempt to do what its name suggests, without dissolving the type of society which it purports to destroy.
There can be no doubt that the thing called communism has significant proportions, not in numbers, but in the strength which it gains from its initiative. It has power because it operates in a community a large part of which is sufficiently careless of the athiest philosophy of the Communist party to evade accepting the responsibility that is required if effective measures are to be taken against Communist organizations.
I raise no objection to clauses in the bill which seek the dissolution of the Communist party, as is done under clause 4. I do not take objection to the provision for removing persons from certain employment, provided that that is done sensibly as it may yet be under clauses 10 and 11 and other clauses which, if amended reasonably, may be effective also. But I have little faith in the efficacy of the measure. Communism has something to do with politics. It would set up State capitalism and would probably plan in a very efficient way a State which probably would be an economic success. It would demand and obtain slavish obedience from its citizens. It would manage them as a good sheep dog would a flock of sheep. On the other hand it would deprive them of the spiritual comfort of religion and it would dissolve private property insofar as it is related to the marriage act and the care and guidance of children by parents. Such action violates natural law and because of this is not only anti-religious but also criminal in the real sense of the word. This aspect of communism is shamefully neglected. Because of the casual attention that has been given to it, the wells of Christianity in Australia are rapidly drying up. Australians have been happy to place their economics in- one basket, their religious -affairs in another, and their so-called culture in yet another. These three qualities are inextricably interwoven and the tendency to regard them as separate entities has been respon- sible for the growth of atheism and of atheistic communism.
The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes), last week, quite shallowly commented that the Labour party should accept the responsibility for the growth of communism. How cheap is talk! All who have done anything to lessen the influence of Christianity and to divorce it from the every-day, ordinary actions of life; all who have failed to search for the motive behind public organizations; all who have failed to do justice, in wage, price, or speech, have surely contributed to the fertility of the field in which atheism and atheisticcommunism have developed. The unions were not the only spheres in which communism flourished for a time. It spread in municipalities where it was supported by business men who, anxious for advertisement, contributed to causes organized for the spread of false doctrines. Thus youth clubs in various guises and snide pre-school kindergartens and other movements without genuine motives often succeeded where organizations with really genuine motives completely failed. The business people whom I have mentioned did not examine credentials or reasons. They simply contributed selfishly. “What provision in clauses 4, 10 or 11. against which the Opposition proposes no amendments as far as I know, gives any hope that the intolerable atheism so essential to Communist dogma will be removed from Australia’s communal life ? To what clause in this bill can one look for relief in the form of a just wage, a just price or a just article or from the injustices perpetrated by unbridled capitalism? The only sound cure for communism is Christianity and few enough are saying so. The cure for this ill is individual and no government act can produce a quick cure for a lack of morality which has rapidly gained the- proportions of an epidemic. This bill can merely make the practice of communism more difficult and, by a paradox, it could easily be of great advantage to tho Communist party.
The Chifley Government regarded the ban as a worthless instrument, and tinpresent Government has realized that ordinary means will not suffice. Proof of that fact is to be found in the design of the bill. Ordinary powers are not suggested. Extraordinary methods and practices have diverted attention from what is now being regarded as a lesser evil to what can be a greater evil and the Government cannot, in legislation, destroy the totalitarian by adopting totalitarian practice itself. The press has revolted and the voice of the people is very clear, for Victoria was the “ guinea pig “ that was used in the experiment that the Premier of that State apparently thought would produce a positive reaction last Saturday. I do not assert that the results of the Victorian general election rested on the issue of the dissolution of the Communist party alone, but, as one who took a prominent part in the election campaign, I am sure that the issue was given major significance. However, there has been far too much propaganda about communism. The subject has been used by humbugs entirely for party political and personal gain. Much of the discussion in this House has been unreal, and charges and counter charges have been far too prevalent. The whole situation is too serious for propaganda. People at war do not seek to cause dissension amongst themselves, and we are supposed to be at ~war with communism, though not, of course, with the Soviet Union.
The Labour party has closely examined the bill and, acknowledging the will of the people, first, because it would be suicidal to do otherwise, and, secondly, because this measure gives us an opportunity to emphasize the seriousness of the situation, has determined to effect a recasting of its provisions in order to guarantee that it will do no more than the people consider that it should do. To this end, the Opposition will submit amendments that the Government must recognize as being essential to the preservation of normal civil rights. I am led to believe that the “ stand and deliver “ attitude of the Government has been almost entirely abandoned and that a conciliatory mood will prevail in relation to most of the amendments that the Opposition contemplates submitting. The original proposal to give power to break, enter and search will he amended, and an “ authorized person ‘ will have to be a person authorized by the Attorney-General. Any action will be preceded by the process of demonstrating the existence of reasonable cause to a magistrate, who may then issue a warrant in respect of a specified house or place. Amendments that provide for normal rights of appeal, and more accessible appeal, will undoubtedly earn the consideration that they merit. However, it seems that the serious nature of clause 9 has not so far been stressed to the degree that, in the interest of civil rights, it merits. That is the clause to which attention will be particularly directed. Its application could deprive a person of a livelihood in his normal avocation, as it should operate if a man were rightly declared under the bill. It could apply a stigma that not even time could efface. Therefore, it is reason-able to ask that every consideration be directed to its farreaching consequences. The Minister f01 Immigration (Mr. Holt) made very light of the situation. He said, in effect, that all that would be required of a declared person would be to -assert, after taking the oath, that he was not a person who should have been so declared. That assurance has given a dangerous impression. It should be remembered that the Minister “was speaking neither as a lawyer hot as the Minister in charge of the bill. The clause is reminiscent of section 40 of the Police Offences Act of Victoria. According to Paul’s Police Offences Act, there is no alternative, when doubt exists, to a court deciding in favour of the Crown. An accused person may offer such evidence as he has at his disposal and his case may be concluded with an element of doubt remaining. In those circumstances, the Crown must have the advantage of the benefit of the doubt. However wise that may be in relation in a case of unlawful possession, it is not common practice. It would be regrettable if the Commonwealth should apply such a principle to a person whose livelihood and good name were at stake. I am most anxious for the Government to accept the responsibility of presenting a case against anybody who could be seriously affected in name and livelihood, for there could be no injustice so acute as that which could arise from the application of clause
The basic problem of Socialism is to balance the rights of m?.n with the rights of the community . . . Communism is evil as a social and political doctrine because it would deny the existence of any right in man that the State cannot over-ride … On the face of it, it seems strange that those who profess to uphold the rights of the individual should bring down legislation which strikes at the root of one of the safeguards of personal liberty . . Only the gravest type of crises and the assurance that the legislation could substantially abate such a crisis would warrant such legislation.
Some sound counsels have prevailed with the Government to date, and it has announced that certain amendments will be accepted. I sincerely hope that, in the light of what I have said, it will agree to amend clause 9 so that the measure may be used with justice to ban the Communist party as an organization. I hope that the Government’s attitude will be conciliatory when the Opposition presents its proposals at the committee stage.
Tir. FAILES (Lawson) [4.39].- The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews), like many other members of the Opposition, has, to say the least, left some doubt in our minds as to whether he believes that the Communist party is capable of committing such evil acts as those with which it has been charged in this debate, and consequently he has failed to explain to us whether he believes that the provisions of the bill are entirely justified. No greater indictment of any organization than that which is contained in the preamble to the bill could be uttered. It indicates the exact aims of the Communist party and conveys to us a very clear idea of the methods by which it proposes to carry out its aims. The bill is divided broadly into two parts. The first part is the preamble, which contains a recital of the aims and methods of the Communist party, and the second part sets out the proposed method of dealing with the organization. A dogma of the Communist party is that there can be no permanent peace under capitalism and that social grievances cannot be redressed and social tensions cannot be relaxed by any process of orderly and peaceful progress within the framework of a democratic political system. For that reason the Communist party, in its country of origin, has decided that measures of a political nature shall be taken in order to give effect to the wishes of the people who are referred to as the proletariat. The Communist party has always criticized the system of democracy that is known as capitalism and, rather than try to improve that system by the orderly methods that are available, it aims to overthrow capitalism entirely and replace it with the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat. The bill refers in the first place to the Government’s defence power under the Constitution, the executive power of the Governor-General, and the power of this Parliament to make laws. Then it sets out, in the form of recitals, the facts that the Australian Communist party, as a part of a world organization, aims to engage in revolution, seize power by revolutionary methods, overthrow the Government by force and act in a treasonable manner, and that its activities are affecting vital industries. If any justification of the recitals were required, it could be obtained fully from two books that are available in the Parliamentary Library. One is entitled The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It is an authentic publication that has been issued with the authority and blessing of the central council of the Communist party. It contains a history of the party from its inception almost up to the present, and it deals with what the party has done in Russia. From an historical point of view, it lifts the Iron Curtain slightly. An even more interesting book is A Blue Print for World Conquest, which consists mainly of a statement of the theses and statutes of the Communist Internationale. It contains the programme of the Communist Internationale and the constitution and rules of that body. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the book. A most interesting extract relevant to the Australian Communist party’s aim to foment revolution and seize power appears at page 35 in the following passage : -
In order to overthrow the international bourgeoisie and to create an international Soviet Republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state, the Communist International will use all means at its disposal, including force of arms.
T then refer honorable members to paragraph 1 on page 44 -
Only a violent defeat of the bourgeoisie, the confiscation of its property, the annihilation i>f the entire bourgeois Government apparatus, from top to bottom, parliamentary, juridical, military, bureaucratic, administrative, municipal, etc., up to the individual exile or internment of the most stubborn and dangerous exploiters, the establishment of a strict control over thom for the repressing of all inevitable attempt’s at resistance and restoration of capitalist slavery - only such measures will be able tn gaurantee the complete submission of the while class of exploiters.
Honorable members will see that that dogma is reiterated ad nauseam. The attempt is made to prove that there is a section of the people which is out to tread the others beneath its feet and exploit them to the uttermost. Honorable members will notice the entire lack of any sort of humane attitude towards the way in which these so-called exploiters will be punished. They are to be dealt with in the very strictest fashion. They are to be repressed, and their “ inevitable attempts at resistance “ are also to be ruthlessly repressed. Again, in paragraph 12 on page 54 we read -
For all countries, even the most free “ legal “ and “ peaceful “ ones in the sense of a lesser acuteness in the class struggle the period has arrived, when it has become absolutely necessary for every Communist party to combine systematically all legal and illegal work, legal mid illegal organization.
In the light of those quotations, no question can be raised about the accuracy of the preamble to the bill which recites that the Australian Communist party intends to engage in revolution and means to seize power. I now refer honorable members to paragraph 1 on page 70, which reads -
The proletariat must resort to an armed uprising. Having understood this, one realizes that an organized political party is absolutely essential, and that shapeless Labour organizations will not suffice.
In quoting that I mean to cast no reflection on the Opposition. I do not know whether the Opposition would be classified as a “ shapeless Labour organization but if it is, then it should ensure that in the future it shall no longer merit the description. One of the accusations that may be levelled against the Opposition is that by allowing the Communist party to use the Labour organization it has placed itself in a position where it is to some extent under suspicion. I have evidence, which I shall read later, indicating that despite a desire on the part of the leaders of some of the unions to escape from the Communists, those unions at the present time are being red-anted by Communists. That Parliament itself is not free from the machinations of these people is indicated in this passage in paragraph 4 at. page 90 -
The bourgeois parliaments, which constitute one of the most important apparatus of the State machinery of the bourgeoisie, cannot be taken over by the proletariat any more than can the bourgeois order in general. The task nf the proletariat consists in the blowing up the whole machinery of the bourgeoisie, in destroying it. and all the parliamentary institution” with it, whether they be republican or constitutional-monarchy.
Paragraph 5 reads -
The same relates to the local government, institutions of the bourgeoisie, which theoretically it is not correct to differentiate from State organizations. In reality they are part of the same apparatus of the state machinery of the bourgeoisie which must be destroyed by the revolutionary proletariat and replaced by local Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.
The whole story is contained in this book, and I make no apology for reading these extracts, because of their great importance in establishing the case with which this bill is meant to deal. Paragraph 6 on page 90 reads -
Consequently, communism repudiates parliamentalism as the form of the future; it renounces the Fame as a form of the class dictatorship of the proletariat: it repudiates the possibility of winning over the parliaments; its aim is to destroy parliamentarism. Therefore it is only possible to speak of utilising the bourgeois State organizations with the object of destroying them. The question can only and exclusively be discussed on such a plane.
And yet I remind honorable members that some people to-day are saying that the Communists should be given, to a certain extent, a blank commission. In their own writings the Communists repudiate the possibility of winning over parliaments, and in fact the aim of communism is the destruction of parliaments. Communism says, “ It is possible to speak of utilizing the bourgeois state organizations only with the object of destroying them “. That is the cuckoo in the nest, and the matter of banning the Communist party can be discussed only with those avowed objects in mind.
With regard to the effect of that party on the industries, unions and organizations of this country, I quote from page 47, paragraph 2 -
The principal duty of the Communist parties, from the point of view of an international proletarian movement, is at the present moment the uniting of the dispersed Communist forces, the formation in each country of a single Communist party (or the strengthening arid renovation of the already existing one) in order to multiply the work of preparing the proletariat for the conquest of the governing power, and especially for the acquisition of the power in the form of a dictatorship of the proletariat. [ remind honorable members that that paragraph was written in 1920. On page 50, paragraph 3 reads -
In every organization, union, association - beginning with the proletarian ones at first, and afterwards in all those of the nonproletarian workers and exploited masses (political, professional, military, co-operative, educational, sporting, etc., etc.), must bo formed groups or nuclei of Communists - mostly open ones, but also secret ones which become necessary in each case when the arrest or exile of their members or the dispersal of the organization is threatened; and these nuclei, in close contact with one another and with the central party, exchanging experiences, carrying on the work of propaganda, campaign, organization, adapting themselves to all the branches of social fife, to all the various forms and subdivisions of the working masses, must systematically train themselves, the party, the class and the masses by such multiform work.
The plan is apparent - to establish throughout all organizations, and specifically throughout political, professional, military, co-operative, educational and sporting bodies, nuclei which will carry on the work of the party even though some such bodies are suppressed. My final quotation from this writing is from page 106, paragraph 1 -
The Communists must strive to create as far as possible complete unity between the trade unions and the Communist party, and to subordinate the unions to the leadership of the party, as the advanced guard of the workers’ revolution. For this purpose the Communists should have Communist fractions in all the trade unions and factory committees and acquire by their means an influence over the Labour movement and direct it.
That is a very interesting statement to consider in relation to the present attitude of the Communist party. It is not very pleasant reading, but every one of these quotations backs up to the hilt the recital in the preamble to this bill. They establish that the Australian Communist party is engaged or proposes to engage in revolution, by arms if necessary, in order to seize power. It contemplates the overthrow of constitutional government and the seizure of Australia under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism acts not only in its own country, but also internationally. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) referred to Ireland as a repressed nation. I think that he hardly meant to compare the Irish with the Communists; in fact, I am sure that he did not. But he overlooked the essential point, which is that the fight of the Irish for recognition was conducted solely within their own country. Communism is international in character, and. therefore, it strikes at the root of everything that we hold dear in this country.
Finally, the Australian Communist party has a deadly effect on vital Australian industry. Some figures have been published by Research Service, in a book that is available in the Parliamentary
Library. They relate to the effect of Communist-inspired strikes on some of our major industries. In an issue dated the 30th April, 1950, this Service says that the Communist party has been responsible for 88 per cent, of all mandays lost through strikes in New South Wales since 1946. It states that the Communist-controlled unions, whose members constitute 8.5 per cent, of total non-mining union strength, were responsible for 68 per cent, of all time lost. In contrast, 59 per cent, of the trade unionists in New South Wales were responsible for only 5.5 per cent, of total man-days lost. In the period 1946-49, members of Communist unions lost £33 a head, compared with £1 4s. a head lost by all other unionists. It has been said by honorable members in this House that all strikes are not caused by Communists. I point out that, according to those figures, strikes caused by Communists have been the disastrous upheavals. The statistics justify the propaganda that I have just read, that it is very important to seize control of trade unions and carry out the policy of the party through their agency.
I shall now refer honorable members to a report of the conference of the Australian Workers Union held in Dubbo on Sunday, the 23rd April, 1950. I am sorry that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) is not in the House at present, because I respect bis advocacy of the Australian Workers Union and what it stands for. However, I desire to point out to him personally, the extent to which his union has been red-anted. One of the resolutions of the conference to which I have referred is -
American and British imperialists are preparing for war against Socialist countries where the working class owns the means of production. The Menzies Government is spending millions on war preparation and bringing forward legislation to conscript 50.000 men for fourteen weeks each year. This conference gives full support to the proposals and policy of the Australian Peace Council, and calls on local committees to form peace committees of local citizens in every town.
That is a resolution of members of the Australian Workers Union, which is looked upon as one of the finest of Australian unions. A further resolution is -
We pledge full support to the trade unions, the A.C.T.U. and Labour members of Parlia ment in any stand they take to prevent the passing of Fascis legislation interfering in the trade unions and banning of the Australian Communist party.
When such a resolution is passed by a union which is held to be above suspicion, if it is not an indication that Communists are well within our unions, it is certainly evidence which cannot be disregarded. It justifies completely the provisions in the bill which will prevent Communists from holding high positions in unions. I leave the matter there. The whole value of this bill rests entirely on establishing the fact that the Communist party is guilty on all the counts that are ‘ recited in the preamble. If it is, members of the Opposition should be wholeheartedly in favour of the measure. They should not be splitting straws in this debate, but should come out in the open and say, “ We support the bill ; we speak in support of it; and we shall do everything possible to ensure that it may be implemented without delay”.
.- This bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation that have been introduced in this Parliament while I have been a member of the House of Representatives. If its provisions are not administered in a judicious manner, it may bring about chaos in this country on a scale that has never been experienced in the past. I am completely in accord with the banning of the Communists, with the confiscation of their property and funds, and with the disqualification of any Communist from holding a position on the executive of any industrial organization. I make no apologies to the Communists of Australia for holding and expressing those views. During the strike on the coal-fields last year, I was one of those who were called upon to carry out the most difficult task of fighting the Communists in the streets of every coal-mining town of New South Wales every day for seven weeks. I was one of those who told the coal-miners that the Communists were trying to destroy them, and that, if permitted, they would destroy Australia. We fought the Communists and beat them. We put some of them in gaol, and there has been greater freedom from industrial unrest on the coal-fields since those days than there had been during the previous eight years. I have not read or heard of any hostility on the part of the coalminers to the imposition of a ban on the Communist party of Australia. They remember how they suffered at the hands of the Communists, and, to date, this legislation has not caused industrial unrest. Some people feel that the bill may have far-reaching effects on people who, they claim, preach the Communist philosophy, but I salve my conscience by asking myself this question: “If Dugan, Mears and other convicts in Long Bay, Pentridge and other gaols in Australia were to band themselves into an organization, would we respect it as a political party ? “ I for one would not accept Dugan and Mears and their confreres as a political party. The Communist party is not an Australian movement that preaches an Australian doctrine and tries to uplift the Australian people. The Communists are members of an organization that preaches a foreign ideology which, they pretend, will raise the living standards of the Australian people to the level of those that prevail in Soviet Russia. Has any honorable member a knowledge of the conditions that exist in Soviet Russia outside of Moscow? Very few persons can claim to possess that knowledge, but Viscount Montgomery, who professed to be a great personal friend of Stalin, has told the story of the scene beyond Moscow. That city may be described as a show place, and Australians, Englishmen and Americans are welcome to see it, but the policy of the Soviet Government may be described thus : “ Thou shalt not go beyond Moscow “. What is the reason ? It is that conditions in other parts of the Soviet Union are not comparable with those existing in many other countries. For that reason, I am able to salve my conscience when I say that I support the banning of the Communist party in Australia. I do not propose to support or defend any organization that has not as its background an Australian sentiment and a desire to improve the living conditions of our people. Therefore, I stand for the banning of the Communist party and for the confiscation of its property and funds. I also stand for that provision of the bill that will disqualify Communists from holding positions on the executive of an industrial organization.
– Did the honorable member hold that view last year?
– 1 have always held that opinion, and I have also fought the Communists in the streets and from platforms.
– But not very effectively.
– I have fought the Communists most effectively. I opposed them during the coal strike last year. They did not want to allow members of the Labour party to speak on the coalfields, and threatened to throw us under trains, or cause us bodily harm if we attempted to address the miners. But I fought the Communists until they ran away from us in every coal-mining town in New South Wales. During the last three weeks of that strike last year, we did not see a Communist on the coalfields. Therefore, I have every right to claim that we fought the Communists so successfully that they have not caused a general strike on the coal-fields since the middle of last year. Yet we are Australians. We are a freedom-loving people. I do not raise this matter for the purpose of embarrassing the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), but I believe that this bill must be administered most carefully. We Australians do not believe in placing a stigma on another Australian unless he has the right to defend himself. It is most regrettable that, even before the bill has become law, the Prime Minister should have to make some corrections to the list of the names of important Communists who hold positions in trade unions in Australia. Honorable members will recall that the right honorable gentleman had to indicate to the House, at a time when the proceedings were being broadcast throughout Australia, that, to date, five persons whom he had mentioned should not have been listed.
– No, that is not correct.
– It is correct. The Prime Minister was obliged to state that five of the persons whom he had named in his second-reading speech did not occupy the positions that he had stated they held in trade unions.
– That is a quibble.
– It is not a quibble. The Australian people will demand that the Government shall not make mistakes in administering this proposed law, lest the stigma of being declared a Communist be wrongfully placed on a person. A grave responsibility devolves upon this Parliament to ensure that an innocent person shall not be implicated in that way. The Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), in his second-reading speech, devoted fifteen minutes of his time to an attempt to couple the Labour party, of which I am a member, with the Communist party. In a most unfair manner, he compared the policy of the Communist party with that of the Labour party, for which approximately 50 per cent, of the electors of Australia vote at nearly every general election.
– The Treasurer made his comparison from the platforms of the Communist party and the Labour party respectively.
– That is not so. If the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Charles Russell) is typical of those who will administer this proposed law, I believe that grave dangers may arise from it.
– The honorable member for Maranoa is one of the beef barons.
– Does the honorable member for Maranoa condemn 50 per cent, of Australian electors by saying that they are not aware of the policy of the party for which they vote at nearly every general election?
– Of course, they are not.
– Do Government supporters mean that approximately onehalf of the electors believe that they are supporting conspirators and Communists? Surely that is not right?
– The Treasurer compared the policy of the Communist party with that of the Labour party.
– Does the honorable gentleman say that because I support the socialization or the nationalization of certain essential services in the best interests of the Australian people, I am a Communist? Most Government supporters are fair-minded men, and I am sure that they do not agree with the remarks of the Treasurer, yet the right honorable gentleman occupies a most responsible position in Australia. Because I believe that the nationalization of banking is in the best interests of the Australian people, am I a Communist? Because I believe that the control of banking should be vested in the elected representatives of the people in this Parliament, am I a Communist? Of course I am not! Yet the objectionable charge has been levelled against me that, because I am associated with a political organization that believes in the nationalization of certain essential industries in the interests of the people, I am a Communist. I denounce communism and I also denounce the Government if it is not fair-minded enough to realize that decent Australians could be caught up in the anti-Communist net unless we amend certain portions of this measure. The Government claims that it has a mandate from the people-
– Of course we have.
– I am not denying that you have a mandate from the people to ban the Communists. We support that ban and we agree that you have a mandate to impose it. I would support the bill as a whole except that you have no mandate from the Australian people-
– Order ! The honorable member will please address me.
– I shall do so, Mr. Speaker. I regret that I overlooked the necessity to conform to the correct’ procedure. The Government has no mandate to treat any Australian in a cavalier fashion. It has no mandate to charge Australians with crimes of which they are not guilty. I believe that the Government is aware of the fears of the Australian people, who do not want to have Communists in this country. Many Australian people were bred in a period when starvation existed in this country. The Government can ban the Communists and drive them underground, but it has a far greater responsibility to the Australian people than the mere banning of the Communist party by an act of Parliament. That responsibility is to give to the Australian people a greater share of the amenities of life. If the Government ensured that the coal-miners, about whom I spoke earlier, had decent housing and ‘better conditions in life, the Communists would not last for ten minutes on the coal-fields of New South Wales. If it gave to the Australian people the right to get out into the healthy fresh air, if it built homes for them throughout the length and breadth of this country, and ensured that they had sufficient clothing and food, I believe that it would have taken thereby the greatest step ever taken by any government towards the defeat of communism. I ask the Parliament and the Prime Minister not to reject without deep consideration the proposed amendments that the Opposition has circulated. T ask them to believe that we in all seriousness realize the grave dangers which communism represents. At the same time we also realize what great dangers will face the freedom-loving people of Australia unless we can give to them an assurance that they will not be harassed by legislation such as this. The people at the last general election gave the Government the right to fight communism, and I support those portions of the legislation that are designed to ban the Communists, confiscate their property and funds, and prevent a Communist from occupying an executive position in a trade union.
.- This is probably the most important measure that will come before this Parliament, and indeed it may be the most important measure to come before the Parliament of this country during the political lives of honorable members who are now present. If the scheme envisaged by this bill should fail this may well be the last opportunity that we shall have of effectively tackling the Communist menace in Australia. It cannot be denied that we are living in a state of emergency. The Opposition, having some regard to that fact, has given nominal support to the bill, but when the leading members of the Opposition spoke in this debate it was quite apparent that the attitude of most of them was one of uncompromising opposition to every part of the bill. There was some sign of a change in that attitude during the final day of the debate last week and it has been in evidence again to-day. That change may be explainable on the ground advanced by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) to the effect that the rank and file members of the Labour party caucus have for the first time had an opportunity to express their real views on this matter and we are now hearing them. It was particularly refreshing to hear a former Minister of the Crown, the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers) express his full approval of the principle of banning the Communist party, confiscating its property and preventing Communists from holding office in trade unions. I hope that the same attitude will be taken by other honorable members opposite so that there may be an end to the determination, already shown by the leading members of the Opposition, to give nominal support to the bill but in reality to condemn it. The most notable example of that attitude was the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) himself, in which he showed the most bitter hostility to every aspect of the bill. In a long and careful speech he indicated his determined opposition to every phase of the bill. The end of his speech, in which he stated that his party would not oppose the second reading of the bill, came like an anti-climax, and hearing it one felt that he would have been more honest if he had carried his opposition to the bil] to its logical conclusion and had stated that he would vote against it. The truth is that the Leader of the Opposition does not believe in the reality of the Communist menace. I am very glad indeed to observe that his attitude has not been followed wholeheartedly by the members of his party.
The Opposition has indicated that it will move amendments to the bill, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has already stated quite clearly that they will be given every consideration. The Government will meet the ideas of the Opposition in many respects. I consider, for instance, that it would be proper for the Government to accept the proposed amendment extending the right of appeal to the State Supreme Courts. I al-o consider that the proposed amendment to allow the payment of the legal costs of appellants who have appealed successfully against a declaration under the bill, is reasonable.. I consider, however, that the proposed amendment to the effect that a member of this Parliament shall not be embraced by the declaratory provisions of the bill is quite unnecessary. It is quite dear that the position of a member of this Parliament is in no way affected by the measure. It is very improbable that any declared Communist would be elected to this House. Under the provisions of the bill such a man could be prevented from holding an office of profit under the Crown or an office in certain trade unions, but membership of this Parliament does not constitute an office of profit under the Crown and such a member would therefore be unaffected by the measure. The proposed amendment is unnecessary, but if it would be any comfort to the Opposition to have that provision in the bill I see no reason why it should not be included. lt turn now to the contentious subject of the onus of proof. The Government should be adamant in its determination to retain this vital provision because it goes to the very root of the Government’s scheme to defeat the Communists. If an organization or an individual is declared to have Communist affiliations, an appeal may be made to the court to have the declaration set aside. The bill provides that the High Court and, if the bill is amended, other courts will set the declaration aside if satisfied that it is incorrect. It follows that the onus will be upon the individual to satisfy the court that it should take that action. It is essential that this principle shall be embodied in the bill and that it shall be maintained. Imagine the impossibility of the task of taking proceedings against, say, 100 Communists one after another, and having to prove affirmatively that they were Communists or members of a Communist body whose practices were dangerous to the State. The time factor itself would nullify the whole proceedings. The sources of information available to the Government about these people would be dried up immediately after the first proceedings had been completed and the whole scheme would fail. It is well that the Opposition should realize that in attacking the onus of proof principle it is also attacking the whole scheme for dealing with the Communist party in Australia. The efforts of the Opposition and of the Communist party itself to decry the provision has developed in the minds of many conscientious people an erroneous belief that some principle of British justice will be offended by this Parliament’s adoption of the provision. That is completely untrue, as any lawyer who examined the position would know. There are lawyers in the ranks of the Opposition. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) is very well versed in this particular branch of the law and he very well knows the truth of what I am about to say. I heard with astonishment the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) state that some principle of justice would be offended by that provision, but I have sufficient respect for him as a lawyer to think that he did not make the suggestion with any great seriousness. I propose to show the House that it is in accordance with accepted British legal practice that the onus of proof should be thrown on the defendant in cases such as those with which the bill is intended to deal. Halsbury’s Laws of England, volume 13, at page 54-5, speaking of cases in which the burden of adducing evidence is liable, and properly liable, to be shifted from the party on whom it would naturally fall, says - . . where the truth of a party’s allegation lies peculiarly within the knowledge of his opponent the hurden of disproving it lies upon the latter. The principle of this exception has frequently been recognized both by the legislature and in decided cases.
Can honorable members opposite tell me of any case in -which the knowledge rests with the person charged more appropriately than in the case of a declared Communist? The Communists are operating a conspiracy against the democratic institutions of this country. They work in secret and so far as they can achieve it their work is known only to themselves. Has anybody any better knowledge than the Communist himself of whether or not he is a Communist? Is there any injustice in placing the onus on such a Communist to produce to a court the proof, which lies within his knowledge alone, that he is not a person to whom the act should apply ? That principle is well known to all the text-book writers on evidence. It can be found in Stephen’s Digest of the Law of Evidence, in Phipson and in Taylor.
The same principle was stated in different terms by the late Sir Isaac
Isaacs in the case of Williamson v. Ah On, 39 C.L.E., at page 112. I am aware that the passage that I am about to quote has already been quoted by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), but I consider it to be of such importance that it could well bear frequent repetition in this debate. It is important that the woolly-minded thinking displayed on this subject by sections of the community misled by Communists and by the Opposition, should be set right. There is no higher authority to whom one may refer than the late Sir Isaac Isaacs. He said -
The burden of proof at common law rests where justice will be best served having regard to the circumstances both public and private.
I repeat those words, “ both public and private”. In the case of this conspiracy against the democratic institutions of the State, if the onus is to lie where justice will best be served, having regard to the circumstances “ both public and private “ - it must clearly lie on the Communists. Sir Isaac Isaacs went on to say -
The broad primary principle guiding a court in the administration of justice is that he who substantially affirms an issue must prove it. But, unless exceptional cases were recognized, justice would be sometimes frustrated and the very rules intended for the maintenance of the law of the community would defeat their own object.
The Communist conspiracy provides plenty of exceptional circumstances. As I said earlier, countless examples appear in our legislation of the onus of proof having been placed by the Parliament on the accused person. At the risk of being tedious, I shall refer to a number of English statutes which place the onus of proof upon the accused. They include the Foreign Enlistment Act, the Customs Act, the Stamp Duties Amendment Act and the Explosive Substances Act. Under the last-named act it is a felony punishable with penal servitude for fourteen years to be found in possession of any explosive substance in suspicious circumstances unless the accused can show that his possession of such substance, is for a lawful purpose. Is not communism an explosive substance? If, in the case of a person charged with being found in possession of an explosive substance, the onus of proof is placed upon the accused to prove that he possessed such substance for an innocent purpose is it not equally fair to require a declared person to prove that his association with the Communist party is innocent? Other English statutes which place the onus of proof upon the accused are the Aliens Restrictions Act 1914 and a number of criminal laws. Similar provision is made in the following Australian statutes: - The Immigration Act 1911-35, the Customs Act 1901-1935, the Excise Act 1906-1935, and the National Security Act 1939-1946, as well as many of the regulations made under the last-named act, particularly the Prices Regulations, Aliens’ Service Regulations, Apple and Pear Acquisition Regulations and the National Security (General) Regulations,
– Those regulations relate, inthe main, to aliens.
– No ; under thePrices Regulations, for instance, 3. person; was guilty of an offence if he paid more than the price fixed for certain articles. Reverting to the views expressed by Mr. Justice Isaacs with respect to the onus of proof, the learned judge in his judgment in a prosecution under the Immigration Act said -
The only method so far found effective in which a legislature can provide for such a case and secure obedience to its enactments on immigration is to throw the burden of proof as to membership of the community on the suspected person.
Later, in the same judgment, the learned judge said -
The Constitution was not made for a static Commonwealth. It was made - as I have repeatedly said before, sometimes with more and sometimes with less effect - as a practical working instrument for a growing nation, and there may he stability of legal principles and fidelity to the words of the Constitution quite consistently -with adaptation of those principles and words to the new circumstances of a progressive people. And certainly the fullest protection to the constitutional rights of the individual is not inconsistent with his public obligation in case of doubt to prove his right to share the privileges of the Australian community.
If the same learned judge had been faced with the_ problem of dealing with the Communist conspiracy in this country, can we doubt that he would have declared that it was not inconsistent with the public obligation of a Communist in case of doubt to prove his right to share the privileges of the Australian community* Of course, not.
Considerable confusion appears to prevail concerning the degree to which a declared person, or declared organization, would have to go to have a declaration set aside. Judging by statements made in this debate and by letters that have been published in the press many people are labouring under the impression that a declared person will be required under this measure to prove his innocence up to the hilt and that an innocent person will have considerable difficulty in doing so. That idea of the position is entirely erroneous. Let us examine the circumstances in which a declared person would seek to have a declaration set aside. First, the declaration will be made not by some official nor by any bureaucrat, but by the Governor-General in Council, that is, by the highest and most responsible body in the land. No danger of bureaucratic excesses can arise. The declaration having been made, a declared person can apply to the court to have the declaration set aside.
– “Where will the declared person get the money to pay the expenses involved in such procedure?
– The procedure is simple and inexpensive. In any event, T have never known Communists to be short of funds for carrying on their nefarious work, and I have yet to learn that any person threatened with injustice, has appealed in vain for assistance to prevent that injustice being done. I have no doubt that any declared person will be able to find the means to make the simple application to the court to have the declaration set aside. In pursuance of such an application the declared person must give evidence to show that the declaration was wrongly made. Only the simplest evidence will be required. A mere denial on oath by the declared person, if it be the only evidence put before the court, will be sufficient to shift the onus on to the Crown of disproving that denial. The simple statement, “ I am not a Communist” will be sufficient proof of innocence if the denial is not disproved under cross-examination or by evidence. Honorable members opposite may laugh, but that will be the position under this measure.
The court will be required to satisfy itself that the declared person is innocent, but it will be a matter of judicial satisfaction ; and the conditions on which such satisfaction must be given, or withheld, are well known and clearly laid down in the laws of evidence.
– Suppose the court is in doubt about accepting the declared person’s evidence. What decision will it give?
– It will decide in favour of the declared person.
– Although the court may be in doubt about the declared person’s evidence ?
– The court will not be in doubt, as the right honorable member, who was for many years a justice of the High Court, knows far better than I do. It must either give, or withhold, its decision in accordance with the evidence put before it, and if no evidence other than the declared person’s simple denial is advanced, then the statement that he is not a Communist will be sufficent to satisfy the court of his innocence. The important point is that the declared person will be required to go into the witness box and give evidence on oath, and in doing so will be subject to crossexamination. Under cross-examination it will be speedily shown whether or not the statement is true or false. That is the essence of the provision dealing with the onus of proof. I am aware that I have repeated statements that have already been made in this debate, but it is important that it be made clear to the Opposition and to the public outside the Parliament that no principle of British justice is being infringed under this bill. On the contrary, the provisions of the measure are in accordance with the settled principles of common law and with countless provisions to be found in many statutes.
Let us now turn to another matter. The Leader of the Opposition made great weight of the fact that neither Canada nor Great Britain has had recourse to legislation of this kind. The position of communism in those two countries is vastly different from the position it occupies in Australia. Our problem in Australia is unique. The Communist menace here is intensified by the fact that the
Communists Lave been allowed to batten upon the trade union movement. Because they have been able to obtain positions in trade unions associated with key industries, they have been able to hold Australian industry to ransom.
– Whose fault is that?
– The blame for that position must be placed upon the trade unions, and, ultimately, upon the Parliamentary Labour party itself, because that party, when it was in office, surrendered its parliamentary rights and duties to organizations outside the Parliament. When Labour has been in office, this country has been ruled in industrial matters not by the Parliament, but by organizations outside it. That statement may sound provocative, but I do not wish to be provocative. I believe that is the explanation of most of the industrial trouble that has occurred in this country in the recent past. One could give many examples of organizations outside thu Parliament ruling this country under a Labour Government. For instance, in 1943 when the Labour Government wished to amend the Defence Act to permit members of the Australian Military Forces to be sent outside Australia, the matter was held up for seven weeks until that Government obtained permission from the Federal Labour executive to introduce the legislation. Again, the Labour Government did nothing for a period of six, or seven, weeks to deal with the coal strike last year until the trade unions themselves had approved the drastic action that it eventually took in that emergency.
– That is not true.
– I know that the expression of this viewpoint makes honorable members opposite uncomfortable: nevertheless, it should be made known. The Labour Government’s surrender of its responsibilities and duties to outside organizations has enabled the Communists, who occupied positions of great importance in the trade unions, to dictate their terms. That is the essential differences between the power of Communists in this country and the power of Communists in Canada or in England. In Canada, vigorous action was taken against the Communists who worked there in a different field from the one in which they work in this country. It is well known that the Labour movement in England has strenuously and successfully resisted the capture of key positions by Communists.
In fairness to the Australian Labour movement, I admit that it has at last awakened to the Communist menace and is now endeavouring to mend its ways. It is meeting with some success, but its awakening has come too late. To-day, we are in a state of emergency. Communism, is on the march. China has succumbed to communism and Malaya is in danger of suffering a similar fate. Yet, in this state of emergency the Opposition has recourse only to theories about political philosophies. Honorable members opposite want the Government to leave the matter to the trade unions. Possibly, the trade unionists could ultimately deal with communism in their organizations, but such success would he too late. I appeal to the Opposition to abandon the extraordinary conservatism that the Labour party so frequently shows in novel situations. The present state of emergency in this country is novel and calls for vigorous and determined action of a novel type. I appeal to honorable members opposite to realize the gravity of the situation and to support the measure, particularly the provision to place upon declared persons the onus of satisfying the court that they are not persons who should be declared.
.- There is an old Latin motto that reads - “ Let justice be done, though the heavens fall”. I do not think that it can be applied to this bill. One cannot help contrasting the attitude of the members of the Government to-day with what it was when the measure was first introduced into this House. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) at the conclusion of his second-reading speech on the bill received an ovation that gave rise to some very serious thinking on the part of responsible members of this chamber. It appears that this bill was introduced as a part of a pattern of Government policy, but as the result of the reception it ha* since received in the electorates members of the Government are now bringing to the consideration of the measure a degree of responsibility tha* was conspicuous by its absence when the measure was first introduced. The attitude of the Opposition on this issue ha3 already been defined. We do not propose to do anything about the clause that declares the Communist party to be dissolved and provides for the expropriation of its property; but we propose that certain other clauses of the bill shall be amended. A great deal of criticism has been levelled at us for our decision to do so. The Government ha3 failed in its obligation to justify the means by which it seeks to attain its end. It believes that by banning the Communist party it will rid Australia of the menace of communism. Speakers on the Government side, one after another, have endeavoured to coin a designation to fit the Communist party. Some have described it an instrument of international espionage and sabotage. Others have defined its objectives in other ways. One would imagine that if the Government proposed to deal with the Communist party on the basis of the various descriptions of the party by honorable members opposite it would have acted under its existing powers. The Government has said that it does not propose to take action under the existing laws of the Commonwealth. It believes that it will best achieve its objective by banning the Communist party. Not one honorable member opposite has proved that the banning of the Communist party has been effective in any country in which that course has been pursued. If the Government believes that by banning the Communist party it will achieve its objective, one would have thought that Government spokesmen would have attempted to state some precedents to support that belief. The history of the Communist party reveals that the imposition of a ban on its activities has achieved nothing. At the time of the Russian revolution the Communist party in Russia had been working underground for many years. Its principal leaders were in exile, Trotsky and Bukharin in New York, and Lenin in Switzerland. Lenin’s return to Russia was made possible only by the help of the German High Command. The history of communism throughout Europe portrays the same picture. In all countries under Communist control to-day the Communist party for at least a part of this century was an underground organization. I challenge any honorable member opposite to prove that suppression of the kind contemplated by the Government has succeeded in any part of the world.
– Does the honorable member oppose the bill?
– No; I support it. Perhaps the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) will help me by citing one example of the success of the imposition of a ban on the Communist party. The banning of the Communist party has never succeeded in smashing communism in any country. The Communist party has been truly described as an international instrumentality of espionage and sabotage. It therefore becomes obligatory on the Government to demonstrate that the methods that it proposes to adopt to remove these enemies from our midst have succeeded either here or elsewhere. One honorable member opposite has said that the Government proposes to pursue a novel course. There is nothing novel about its proposal. The Communist party has been banned by the governments of other countries, and without success. The Communist party is an authoritarian organization. The Government proposes to combat it with authoritarian action. Some of the clauses of this bill are total in character. The Government’s proposal to deal with those who advocate a form of government which is total in character by legislation which is also total in character, inasmuch as it proposes to deprive the individual of certain inherent rights and to continue to deprive him of those rights until he has satisfied a court that he should possess them, will not achieve very much. Many people are opposed to communism because of the contemptible doctrine espoused by its adherents that the end always justifies the means. No person of intellectual integrity can support such a doctrine. The Australian people generally have no objection to the banning of the Communist party, but they are not prepared to rid Australia of the menace of communism by methods that do violence to their conscience. We are not at war. The Government proposes to take action against the Communist party on the ground that it is an instrument of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. If it were consistent it would also, as a logical step sever diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It does not intend to do so. Honorable members opposite propose that we should take action against an instrument of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics but they do not suggest that we should take the logical further steps on a higher plane. Those who do not subscribe to the doctrine that the end justifies the means demand that persons who will be tried under this legislation shall be tried in a manner consistent with the traditions of British justice. Notwithstanding the arguments that have been advanced in favour of this hill by some members of the legal profession, I am firmly of the opinion that many of its provisions are contrary to the principles of British common law. Honorable members opposite have even gone so far as to endeavour to draw a comparison between this legislation and the legislation introduced by the Chifley Government to deal with the state of emergency that resulted from the coal strike last year. There is no basis of comparison because the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act was of only a temporary character. It was introduced to deal with a specific state of emergency problem and was automatically repealed when that state of emergency was declared by the GovernorGeneral no longer to exist. The legislation now before us will be placed permanently on the statute-book.
The right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) has charged the Opposition with being responsible for the growth of communism. At times one is amazed at the statements made in this House. The charge that the Labour party, a working class organization, is responsible for the growth of communism, either in Australia or elsewhere, is ridiculous. Throughout the world the Labour movement has consistently fought the Communists. Wherever communism has made inroads in the political life of a country the Labour party has suffered most. In three countries the Labour party has suffered precisely the same fate at the hands of communism as it suffered in Germany at the hands of Nazi-ism.
Opposition members have fought the Communists, not by making speeches in this House, not by addressing sympathetic audiences at clubs, but in the workshops, in the factories, and on the hustings. It is silly for honorable members opposite to claim that there is a link between the Australian Labour party and the Communist party. The spread of communism in Australia as in the international sphere has been made possible by the actions of governments opposed to the Labour movement. The spread of communism in the United States of America has been attributed in the first instance to the activities of Mr. Harry Hopkins, who undoubtedly influenced the late President Roosevelt in the formation of his policy. The unsatisfactory situation that exists in the world to-day was brought about not as the result of conferences of Labour men, not by trade union leaders or by Labour politicians; but by the actions of Mr. Churchill and the late President Roosevelt. At one period - I believe from 1919 to 1923 - the Communist party in the United States of America was a banned organization. Notwithstanding that, the party attained a position of influence in that country, particularly in the ‘thirties and the late forties, that had no parallel in any other English-speaking country. The Government has stated, and quite rightly, that communism, as an instrument of international espionage, sabotage and treason, constitutes a menace to the safety of this country. It proposes to get rid of that menace by dissolving the Australian Communist party. If it is successful in doing so by the adoption of the means it proposes to use, it will make history.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– I regard the bill before the House as a moderate and temperate measure. It does not seek to do anything which would be done to traitors in totalitarian countries where they would be shot or put into a concentration camp. It does not seek to punish anybody. It does not punish people for being Communists. It recognizes that nobody can stifle freedom of thought although, if such a thing is possible, freedom of thought has been stifled in Russia. The bill will allow
Communists to continue in their jobs and to remain members of unions although it will prevent them from holding offices in which they could do a great deal of damage. It will prevent them from coming together and furthering their revolutionary ideals. It provides that certain bodies which have a number of Communists on them may be declared to be unlawful. It puts trade unions in a very special position because the clause which provides for certain industrial organizations to be declared as vital to the security of Australia also provides that members of the defence forces shall be regarded in the same way as people engaged in doing work for the Government. This bill says to Communists, “ You cannot be members of the defence forces; you cannot work for the Government; you cannot hold offices in special industrial organizations, i.e., those which are vital to the security of the country “. It says also, “ You may have your own private views while you elect to live in democratic Australia but you must not organize for the destruction of our democratic institutions. You must not come together as Communists with a revolutionary charter. You must not, as individual Communists, subscribing to that charter, use the democratic institutions, for example the trade union movement, for the destruction of our democracy. If, having been warned, you attempt to do this, you will be punished as any law breaker is punished. You must, in fact, take your Communist doctrines out of our public life “.
This bill has been widely acclaimed by the community as a whole and should be freed of party bias and sectional attitudes. It should be regarded as a helping hand to all those good Australians who have tried to defeat communism. The measure should be irresistibly attractive to all those members of the Labour party who have actively fought communism in the trade union movement. Whilst the Government is warmly appreciative of the fight which these members have waged in the past, it must be conceded that the result has been complete failure. Those who know the dilemma in which members of the Labour party who belong to industrial cities find themselves must feel a sincere sympathy for those men. I have said to some honorable members who represent industrial areas, “ Why don’t you go into the trade unions and assist the fight against communism ? “ The reply has been, “What is the use of going to the union meetings? These men will kill you “. That is true because they are pretty tough. So honorable members of the Opposition who represent industrial areas have not gone on with their fight. In this House and in another place there are fourteen Ministers and 53 private members who are returned soldiers; three honorable members who have lost their limbs in the service of their country; and six who were prisoners of war. When asked to do their duty, those men did not say, “No. We will not go because, we shall be killed “. Rather did they show the sort of sacrificial devotion which should be shown by men who have the privilege of representing Australia in the National Parliament. When men are called upon to fight Communists in the trade unions they should do so. Because of the failure of men to do that it has been necessary to introduce a bill which is worrying a great many men who are true Liberal democrats.
This bill is a gesture to the day and age in which we live. The time is approaching when there will be a final clash between the great ideologies. There is a red tide sweeping through South-East Asia. China, with its 500,000,000 people has been taken. Tlx; s:age is set for action in Indo-China. The terrorists are in Malaya where they have taken a tremendous toll of our people. India is in danger, and Burma is in danger, too.
What is called a “ cold war “ is taking place. It is a propaganda war. In November of 1941 Sir Walter Monckton, then Minister for Information in the British Government, addressed us in the Middle East at a sort of army education service lecture, after having visited Russia and conferred with a gentleman named Lozovsky who was the great leader of the Russian propaganda organization. Sir Walter Monckton said that the world had come far from fighting with clubs or bows and arrows and that new advances in world development had produced a new offensive arm which was employed in addition to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
The fourth arm had been perfected by Dr. Goebbels in Germany. It consisted of propaganda and publicity which was designed to convince the enemy that he was beaten before he started ; to convince one’s own people that they had a perfectly just cause and that they would win; to convince one’s allies that one’s cause was just and that it would prevail; and to tell the enemy the dreadful things that would happen to them. Propaganda has become a most savage weapon. The Communists realize that. They have used the force of arms in South-East Asia to carry all before them. In this country, where they dare not use force of arms, they have tried to convince the people that they want peace. They have persuaded some m;sguided people, including leading churchmen, people connected with high justices in this country, and people who hold high positions in public life, to say that Russia and the Communists want peace. In this way the Australian people are being softened up for a blow which will place this country in great danger whether it comes from South-East Asia or from an internal revolutionary organization. This bill brings public attention to the fact that this country is rapidly approaching the final clash. If honorable members are religious they must oppose communism and fight for the bill. A hot war is going on just outside this country and a cold propaganda war is being carried on inside the country. If honorable members remember that this country is in danger and almost approaching a state of hot war they will fight for this bill and oppose communism. Members of the community should not take democracy for granted. If they will have due regard for the value of democracy and forget for a. moment their own selfish needs they will support this bill and oppose communism.
It has been said that this bill will fail when it becomes an act if the unions will not accept it. I agree with that statement. I agree that the great key unions of this country can smash this bill. However the coal-mining unions have produced more coal this year than they produced un to this time last year. Last Thursday the steel workers of Port Kembla which adjoins my electorate were ordered to hold a one-day stop work meeting on Monday of this week to pro-
Test against the Communist Party Dissolution Hill. The men in Lysaghts’ steel works learnt on Friday that the union had ordered the stopwork meeting and they immediately circulated a petition which expressed opposition to a stop-work meeting. In another large steel mill the men met at the 3.20 p.m. shift changeover and a large meeting was held which defied the order of the union to hold a stop-work meeting. On Saturday afternoon 400 men from one of the largest steel works in Australia met, gave the union secretary a pretty rough handling and carried a resolution by 400 votes to 5 to the effect that they would not attend the stop-work meeting or take any other action which would mean saving the skin of the Communists. In their own view, by that action, they become loyal Australians. It was a very difficult decision for them to make. They had elected the men who were leading them, to positions as union leaders and had trusted them but they upheld the ideals and principles which have been incorporated in this bill and said, “ We shall not hold a Stoll work meeting on Monday to protest against this bill “. They rejected the views of the Communists and supported, in principle, what this Government is doing. Of course, they had a few reservations. They did not want to see an unscrupulous employer use this bill to declare some one. They did not want to see an internecine dispute between trade unions. They simply wanted to declare Communists and get them out of public life. I believe that these steel workers, in one of the strongest industrial areas of Australia, declared that they would not tolerate Communists in their union in the future. I believe that their decision was a far-reaching and important one. It showed that the trade unionists of Australia are in sympathy with and intend to uphold the democratic institutions of Australia and the principles of Liberal democracy.
This bill will implement the wishes of the great majority of Australians and it has the support of all moderate and decent trade unionists.
Mr. WARD (East Sydney’) rS14].This is the most odious, objectionable and dangerous legislation that has ever been introduced into any parliament in this country. Even the title of the bill is false. The measure is deliberately designed to make the freedom-loving people of Australia believe that the sole purpose of the Government is to ban or destroy or dissolve the Australian Communist party. This Government is endeavouring to establish a police state in Australia, as I shall endeavour to prove. The legislation ha9 been designed deliberately to smash the Labour movement and divide its forces in the hope that, in its weakened condition, it will be unable to resist the fascist menace that is rapidly arising in Australia. As a member of the Australian Labour party, I favour neither a dictators-hip of the left nor a dictatorship of the right. But if is significant to note that, although the Government and ite supporters have been talking about the dangers of a dictatorship of the left, they have said not one word about the dangers of a dictatorship of the right. Who will deny that the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has fascist tendencies? Is it not true that, in 1938, when it was not so unpopular to praise dictatorships as it is to-day, the right honorable gentleman said in an address to the Constitutional Club in Sydney that the democracies had a great deal to learn from the totalitarian countries? No doubt this bill is a sample of the sort of thing that he believed that the democracies should learn from the totalitarian countries. The Government is seeking to obtain tremendous powers under this measure and those powers will not be put into the hands of a judicial body so that a man who is charged will have the opportunity to meet his accusers and reply to the charges that are made against him. The Government is asking the Labour movement to hand those powers over to it. I heard one honorable gentleman this evening talk about the highest authority in the land, the Executive. Why did he not use plain terms? The Executive of the country to-day means the Liberal Government. Does anybody believe that we, as’ Labour representatives, should entrust the fate of our people and their liberties to a Liberal Government led by a gentleman such as the one who leads it to-night and who, as I have said, has never disguised his admiration of the totalitarian form of government?
I do not believe that there is any danger at all of a dictatorship of the Communist party being established in Australia. Let us examine the facts. The majority of honorable members opposite - those who have the capacity to reason, which does not include all of them - will recognize the futility of suggesting to intelligent Australian people that they are in real danger of having a Communist dictatorship imposed upon them. According to Mr. Justice Lowe’s report, there are 13,000 members of the Australian Communist party. They are not congregated in any one centre; they are scattered over the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. Furthermore, notwithstanding all the recitals in the preamble to the bill, the Government has not produced any evidence to show that there has been any actual preparation for revolutionary action in the country. All that it and its supporters have done has been to quote passages from works on communism in an endeavour to show that the Communist party believes in revolutionary action. Has not the Australian Communist party always believed in revolutionary action since it was established in this country in 1921 ? The Prime Minister, who now tries to bolster up his case by quoting declarations that purport to demonstrate that the Communist party advocates revolutionary measures, was previously opposed to the banning of the party. In an effort to strengthen his weak case, the right honorable gentleman quoted some decisions and statements of the Labour party. It is a pity that he was not honest enough to make some of those quotations during the last election campaign, because members of the present Government parties were then endeavouring to prove to the Australian people that there was no difference between the Labour party and the Communist party in Australia. Communist party candidates received 87,000 votes at the general election. That did not mean that there were S7,000 Communists in Australia: it meant merely that most of the 87,000 voters, not believing in communism and probably not understanding what it. meant, voted against the established political parties because they were dissatisfied with them. Does anybody suggest that every one of the 87,000 men and women, who voted for Communist candidates believed in revolutionary action? Such a statement would be too ridiculous for any honorable member to make.
Members of the Communist party, in their own hearts, do not fear repression because it will only serve to strengthen their cause. “What happened to the party when it wa3 banned on a previous occasion? According to the records, it had a membership of only 4,000 when the ban was applied in June, 1940. But the membership was admitted to be just under 18,000 when the ban was lifted on the 18th December, 1942 ! Therefore, if the Government and its supporters think that repression will retard the activities of people who advocate what they believe to be the correct attitude to adopt towards affairs in Australia, they will have a very 3ad awakening. A popular political pastime at present is to attack the Soviet Union. I am not here as an advocate for the Soviet, but I point out to the warmongers opposite that it would be a colossal tragedy for the mothers of this country, who have to provide the men for the armed services, if we were to become involved again in a world war. The result could only be the annihilation of civilization as we understand it and the destruction of millions of lives. Surely honorable members opposite who holler for war must recognize that, if they continue to talk about the inevitability of war and people come to believe in what they say, war would in fact be inevitable. I, at least, am still clinging to the hope that reason will prevail throughout the world and that nations will not again become involved in war.
Supporters of the Government have tried to develop their case by declaring that the Communists, having established their regime in the Soviet Union by revolutionary action, want to use the same processes in Australia. “What has the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) had to say on this subject? I listened with great interest to his speech earlier in the debate, and I wondered then if he recollected his utterances when Sir Ronald Cross came to Australia as United Kingdom High Commissioner. Sir Ronald Cross made a statement within 24 hours of his arrival in the country, and the present right honorable member for Bradfield disagreed with him. This is the report of his statement as it was published in the Sydney Sun on the 17th July, 1941-
Slates Cross fob Hate Talk ox Russia. Only 24 Lours after his arrival, the new British High Commissioner (Sir Ronald Cross) was vigorously attacked by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Hughes) for his statement that “ the Russian system was hated throughout the length and breadth of England “… “ Russia’s alliance with Britain does not commit Russia to the acceptance of the ideology of democracy. Why should our alliance with Russia commit us to the acceptance of the doctrines of communism? We have nothing to do with it “.
Now I come to the passage which shows that the argument that the right honorable gentleman and his colleagues advance to-day is not the argument that they advanced in those days. He quoted no less a person as his authority than Mr. L. L. Sharkey. The report continued, quoting the present right honorable member for Bradfield -
Mr. L. L. Sharkey, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist party in Australia, has the right answer to it all.
I wonder whether the right honorable member believes that Mr. Sharkey has the right answer to-day. The report of his statement continued -
He says that both Marx and Lenin said that the domestic policy of a country is a matter for the people of that country.
On another occasion, the same right honorable gentleman was quoted as having said - “ Long live Russia “. He agreed then with Mr. T. McGillick, who was the editor of the banned publication Soviets Today, that Russia was a potential friend of the British Empire and that everything should be done to win its friendship.
To-day we have a great world power alined against the “Western Powers. Surely no man worthy of the name can believe that he is doing the right thing by fostering hostile action by the Western Powers against the Soviet Union in a so-called defensive war. I am not going to talk to-night about the rights and wrongs of the world situation. I merely say as an Australian that I will not accept war between those great powers as inevitable. Let us now consider the attitude that has been adopted by the Prime Minister. In his own heart, the right honorable gentleman does not believe even now that the correct policy for his Government to pursue is to ban the Communist party. The Labour party believes, as its speakers have said, that a progressive policy that would destroy the conditions that breed discontent would be the best weapon with which to combat the forces of communism. This Government must accept its responsibilities, It has been in office since December last, yet it has done nothing whatever to solve the great problems that beset the people. People who are living under intolerable conditions want homes. They do not want war. They want to enjoy the right to live as human beings should live. The Government parties, which talked so glibly of what they would do if they were able to gel rid of the socialist Government, now ha.the opportunity to give effect to it> promises. In my opinion, one of its purposes in introducing this issue into the politics of the nation was the deliberate design of distracting public attention from the serious problems that require a prompt solution. The people want tknow what the Government proposes to do about the rapidly increasing cost of living. That is one of the everyday problems that concern the people, who do not want the Government to dissipate its energies in witch-hunting. The bill does not threaten members of the Communist party only. An examination of the measure shows that clearly. Consider the definition of “ Communist “. It could embrace every progressive element in the community. Mr. Norman Cowper, who was a Liberal party candidate, submitted * an article to the Sydney Sunday Sun i” which he opposed the views of the Liberal party in respect of the provisions of this bill. I shall read some extracts from that article and then supporters of the Government will have the opportunity to deny, if they can, that the intention of the Government is to attack and, if possible, destroy the Labour movement. Mr. Cowper wrote -
I well remember being assured by responsible citizens that the country would he ruined unless the unions were suppressed.
That Liberal candidate asserted that, in the circles where he moved, there wei« people who believed that the country would be ruined unless the trade union.* were suppressed. I advise the great key trade unions that, as the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) ha.admitted, they have the power to destroy this legislation if they wish to do so.
It should be clearly understood that the bill goes much further than providing for the removal from office of a number of stated officials of the trade unions who have admitted that they are Communists. If all of the men whose names were on the list submitted by the Prime Minister were removed from office, that would not be an end to the effect of the legislation. 1 warn the unions of the seriousness of the situation. The law would still remain in force even after those men had been removed from their positions in the tradeunions. Thereafter every nomination for office in what would be declared to be a key trade union would have to be submitted to the Liberal Government to be vetted, and any nominee who might be regarded by them as a radical, a trouble maker or an agitator, would be declared a* a Communist so that he could be prevented from becoming an officer of the union. The Government’s proposal does not contemplate only the removal from office in trade unions of those men who admit now that they are Communists. As long as the legislation remained on the statute-book, any anti-Labour government would have the authority to examine nominations for union offices. It would have the power to determine who should hold key positions in the trade union movement. My belief is that the unions will never accept the dictum o<” the Government in these purely domestic matters. They will never permit the affairs of their trade unions to pass into the hands of their avowed enemies.
Let us. because elementary justice i.= involved, consider other great dangers inherent in this legislation. Consider first the li?t of names presented by the Prime Minister to this House, when introducing this legislation, of people whom he declared to be Communists. That list was prepared by the professional informers, the Commonwealth security service. That service is composed of men trained in this particular work, and they supplied the list to the’ Government. Within a few days of reading the list to the House, the Prime Minister had to come into this chamber and admit that there were many errors in it. He himself had to make corrections. What will be the position of the ordinary citizen if that sort of mistake is to become common. When this bill is passed the same gestapo methods that were adopted previously in Germany will be adopted here. The people of this country will find that relative will be invited to inform against relative and friend against friend. The Government would act upon such information under the authority of this legislation, and no member of this community who had an independent point of view or who belonged to a progressive organization would be safe from the activities of this particular Government. When the Opposition claims that the purpose of this bill is to set up a police State I suggest that it is stating what the evidence points to being the truth. I draw the attention of the House to something further that was said by Mr. Norman Cowper, an ex-Liberal candidate. That gentleman stated that -
No group of men which seeks to remedy abuses or encourage unpopular doctrines will be safe. Already there is a tendency to brand as Communists all who differ from opinions generally held or who are dissatisfied with conditions as they find them.
Now let us consider the position in this House. In this debate it has been suggested that some honorable members of the Labour party, if they are not members of the Communist party, are pro-Communists. It has been inferred that they have been assisting the Communist movement.
– I am very happy to have heard the honorable member’s interjection because it indicates the path that this Government is likely to travel. I have heard the Prime Minister refer to this particular honorable gentleman as being of some importance in Government councils. If that is the way Government thought is trending then the sooner the public knows about it the better. I draw the attention of the House to the outburst of the Prime Minister when speaking on another bill. He knew that he had made a mistake when he threatened members of this House and gentlemen in another place with the imposition of penalties under this legislation. He knew that he had said too much and he immediately panicked and tried to repair the damage that he had done. Later, the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) spoke about inserting a special provision to protect members of Parliament from the provisions of this bill. In this bill we are dealing with men who are accused of treason and sedition. Is there any honorable member on the Government side who believes that because a member of Parliament is guilty of such offences, he should not pay the full penalty in the same way as every other member of the community? I say to honorable members on the Government side that under the provisions of this legislation no minority movement in this country would be safe.
Consider the actions of the right honorable member for Bradfield. When he had charge of the Government during the years of World War I. great anticonscription campaigns were fought in this country. Dr. Mannix, the Archbishop of Melbourne, was taking a prominent part in the anti-conscription movement, and on one occasion when he left Australia there was a great danger that he would not be allowed to return. Another case that can be -called to mind is the deportation of Father Jerger without the actual charges against him ever having been stated. Therefore, one minority group would come under surveillance today and another minority group to-morrow. If the Government disagreed with what those groups advocated it would use its powers under this bill just as drastically against them as it is proposed to use them against the Communists to-day. Those are the facts of this matter. This bill will give the Government great power in the event of industrial turmoil. No strike has occurred in the past few years that, according to honorable members on the Government side, has not been a Communist conspiracy, or has not been caused by Communist agitation. That has been the charge even when purely industrial struggles have occurred. I ask honorable members to consider the recent Brisbane waterfront trouble. That was classed by the Government as a Communist conspiracy. The Crimes Act was invoked to force the men back to work. But what were the facts? On the Brisbane executive body of the “Waterside Workers Union, which unanimously arrived at the decision to strike, there were only two Communists. The remainder of the members were antiCommunists, and the majority were supporters of the Australian Labour party. If this legislation becomes law in its present form every industrial strike that occurs will be termed by the Government as a Communist conspiracy.
– That is tripe.
– I am pleased by confirmation from the Minister. It is a very good thing to get an admission from a member of the Government that I am right.
– I said, “ That is tripe “, not “ That is right “.
– It will mean that if a purely industrial struggle takes place for better industrial conditions, or against the oppression of some section of the employers in this country, the Government will declare that the trouble is due to a Communist conspiracy. It will declare the leaders of the strike to be Communists and because of that declaration they will no longer be able to act in the capacity of trade union leaders. Those are the matters that the Government speakers have not faced up to. They have wandered all around the world talking about all the dangers except the real ones. Honorable members on the Government side talk about the right of the individual declared under the act to be a Communist, to appeal. I listened to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) and I should hate to have him engaged as my counsel at any time. He said that all an accused person would need to do would be to get into the witness box and deny on oath the accusation of communism. Then it would be a matter for the court whether it believed him or not. I have not the same faith in all courts as some members of this Parliament seem to have. I do not suggest for one moment that there are not men who are strictly impartial occupying positions as heads of tribunals. 1 say that because I was fortunate enough to appear before an impartial judge myself,, and he was an appointee of an antiLabour government. I pay him the tribute that he was a real judge in every sense of the word. Other men may be carried away by mass hysteria. They may believe that they are arriving at a proper decision, but they may become so obsessed with the idea that a real danger exists to the security and safety of this country as to be prejudiced in their decisions. Most of them would be inclined to believe, unless there was positive proof produced to the contrary, that the person arraigned before them was guilty of the offence charged against him. The Government does not propose to accuse a man in precise terms of having been engaged in activities detrimental to the safety or the defence of this country, and he is not to be given a right under the act to an appeal on that point.
Honorable members have heard a lot of talk about the onus of proof. I believe that involved in the onus of proof provision is the very vital principle that a man be deemed to be guilty until he proves his innocence. The long unchallenged practice in British law is the reverse - the accused being deemed to be innocent until his guilt is proved. Let us examine the position of a man who might be brought under the provisions of the measure. Take first the clause which deals with affiliated organizations. Under it organizations could be declared to be unlawful if they had a direct affiliation with the Communist party. Then sub-clause (6) of clause 5 reads -
A majority of the members of which, or a majority of the members of the committee of management or other governed body of which, were, at any time after the specified date and before the date of commencement of this act, members of the Australian Communist party or of the Central Committee or other governing body of the Australian Communist party.
Part of paragraph (c) of sub-clause (1.) of clause 5 reads - which supports or advocates . . . the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism. . . .
The only organizations exempted from these provisions are those registered in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. Trades and Labour Councils are not such registered bodies. If a trades and labour council was organizing a campaign against some action of this Government and if there was one Communist delegate on that council, under this section the Government could argue that that one Communist had influenced the policy of the council and it could then declare that council to be an unlawful association. Therefore honorable members can realize the great dangers inherent in this bill. Clause 9 of the bill deals with individuals. It reads - (1.) This section applies to any person -
Instances could occur of men on strike in which it could be said by those opposed to them that they were striking against the law of the country. It could be said that they were striking against constituted authority as they might be striking against a decision of an arbitration tribunal. Then it could be argued that such men should be declared Communists under the act, and dealt with. The real aim of the Government should be obvious to every one. Let us examine the recitals to the bill to determine the lack of genuineness on the part of the Government. I listened with great interestwhen the Prime Minister read the recitals. After reading them he said to the Opposition, “Do you all agree with that? “ I say, as did the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), that mere recitals of allegations against an organization cannot be accepted as evidence against that organization. If the Communist party has been guilty of the alleged activities against the Australian community, if it is actually engaged in sedition and treasonable work and if it is preparing for revolution, why has the Government not taken criminal proceedings against those concerned? If such activities have been carried on, have they been commenced only in the last week or two? “What has this Government been doing? The Government has its security and investigation services, but the fact is that not only does it want to be the accuser and the executioner, but it wants to be the judge as well. Moreover, it does not want to produce any evidence to the Australian people. Reverting again to the list of names mentioned by the Prime Minister and to which I have already referred, I know that great damage has been done to one gentleman whose name was included in the list. The anti-Labour press in Adelaide published his photograph and also the fact that this man had been placed on the list as a declared Communist.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– When all the sound, fury and rabble-rousing is disregarded, the simple fact remains that probably 90 per cent, of the Australian people are heartily in favour of this bill. This measure should be non-party, in that it is supported, in the main, and apart from detail, by all the political parties represented in this chamber. If the Government had to rely on any one piece of legislation for its support in the country to justify its existence and its return at the last general election, it would be this measure against communism, because the simple fact is that, whether we like it or not, and it is a dreadful thing for Australians to admit, communism has ‘become enshrined in the vitals of the Australian industrial Labour movement. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) said that the Labour party would never support subversive activity. I do not know why he had to make that point, because I do not think that anybody has ever supposed that the Australian Labour party would support subversive activity, and nobody has accused it of such a dreadful thing. But that is not the charge.
The charge is that while the Labour Government was in office during the past eight years, it allowed communism to grow at an unprecedented rate. It appeased and placated the Communists, and either appointed or acquiesced in the appointment of Communists to positions of high authority in the land. Under thu Labour party’s soft treatment, communism has gone from strength to strength in Australia. The Australian Labour party has shown great tolerance towards communism in this country. When I make that statement I am not so foolish as to say that the Australian Labour party is Communist. I do not think that anybody would be so foolish as to make that assertion, but I submit that anything which is carried to extremes is dangerous, even tolerance ; and the Labour t.arty has shown the greatest possible tolerance to the steady growth, under its eyes, of the Communist party in Australia, particularly during the last five years. The fact0 which make the introduction of this bill necessary may be put very simply. There are 2,500,000 wage and salary earners in Australia, and, roughly speaking, one-half of that number are members of trade unions. Of those 1,250,000 persons nearly one-half are members of unions that are Communist dominated and controlled. I am not certain of the figure, which may be 450,000 or 500,000 persons, but, at any rate, it is between 35 per cent, and 40 per cent, of the total trade union strength of Australia. When I give those figures, I do not mean that the whole of that percentage, or even a microscopic proportion of it, are Communists. I reiterate the statement that approximately 40 per cent, of all Australian trade unionists are members of unions that are Communist dominated and controlled. Yet the situation is very much more serious than that, because the particular unions that are Communist dominated and controlled are the key unions of Australia, on which the continuance of the civilized life of this country depends. In other words, the Communists have not gone for the control of the trade unions ir. any wholesale or broadcast fashion, but have picked out the key unions which, if they were to join together in whole or even possibly in part, could cause a general strike in Australia and bring theordinary civilized life of the country toa complete full-stop.
That control of key unions has not happened by chance. Every honorable member on both sides of the chamber is aware of that fact. It is the great sword of Damocles which is hanging over this country at this moment, and which, indeed, has hung over it for a number of years. I refer, of course, to the fact that the Government of this country, in all essential particulars, has passed from this Parliament to the Australian Communist party, and that has happened during the jurisdiction of the Labour Government in the last five or six years. The disease has been allowed to grow, and we all know very well that if a disease is allowed to develop sufficiently, a drastic and vital operation is necessary to effect a cure, or even to attempt a cure. The disease to which I refer has been allowed to grow. If communism had been tackled in a forthright way, say five years ago, at the end of the war, the present situation would not have arisen, and the vital operation which this Government is now attempting to perform would not have been necessary. Our charge against the Opposition is not that it is Communist, but that members of the Labour party were so soft towards and so appeased the Communists that they have grown to a position of strength that a major operation, such as the Government is now attempting to perform, has to be done in the interests of the country.
– The Minister may bring the same charge against the British and the Americans.
– The point is made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) that this has not happened in Great Britain. The simple fact is that in Great Britain they have been fighting communism in the Parliament and in the trade unions for twenty years. I should like to quote a very simple and short conversation that I had about two years ago with a man whom I shall not name but who is very senior in the industrial trade union movement in Great Britain. He was talking about Australia, and I asked him, “ What do you know about Australia and what do you think about it ? “ He replied, “ I have never been there, but we people in Transport House have a great many contacts, and we think we know a great deal about Australia “. I asked him, “What do you think about Australia ? “ He said, “ Well, we fellows here think that Australia is done for “. I remarked, “ That is a nice thing to hear. What do you base that opinion on? “ He answered, “Because your Labour chaps have let communism get into the vitals of the trade union movement in Australia, and we do not think that they have the guts to get them out”. Those are hi9 own words. He added, “ Unless somebody purges the Australian Labour movement, we believe that your country is done for “. That opinion, I think, was pretty true. The Labour party has had the opportunity in the past eight years to do the requisite purging. It was the Labour party’s job to do it, but it did not do it, and, therefore, the task has fallen to the present Government.
We are delighted with the present situation in which our legislation, in all its principal parts, is being supported by the present Labour Opposition in this House. One thanks Heaven for that; but the very fact that the Labour party is proposing to support the principles of thi9 measure carries one simple implication with it. Members of the Opposition can support this bill or they can oppose it. They propose to support it, I understand, and that decision carries with it the implication that they should have done this job themselves at some period during the past eight year* If that is not the simple implication of their support for this measure, I do not know what it is. Some play has been made of the fact that the number of professed Communists in Australia is very small. Estimates of the number vary from 10,000 and 12,000 to 80,000, in our population of 8,000,000 persons, but the precise figure is not important. Anybody who has a knowledge of communism is aware that even in Communist Russia, the Communists do not want large numbers of supporters. They purge themselves from time to time in order to keep their numbers small. Communist Russia has a population of approximately 180,000,000 persons, but the proportion of actual Communists, as I describe them is only 2 per cent., 3 per cent, or 4 per cent. I do not know the exact figure, but it is very small. The percentage of Communists in Australia is sufficient to dish this country under the conditions that, they are able to create. It is not a question of numbers. The Communists have always tried to produce a corps delite not in respect of numbers, but in respect of the particular positions that they occupy in the industrial trade union movement of Australia.
The pattern which we have been seeing in Australia since the end of the war is precisely the pattern that country after country on the mainland of Europe has witnessed. Do not honorable gentlemen opposite know the story of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Roumania and Bulgaria? Do they not see the same hideous pattern being repeated in this country? Have they not talked with the representatives of trade unions, as I have talked with them in all those countries which I have mentioned, and heard their story? Do not honorable gentlemen opposite remember what Mr. Herbert Morrison, who is one of the senior Ministers in the present British Labour Government, said about country after country in Europe that went down before the Communist menace ? He said, in effect, “ Those countries went down one after another because they could not tell the time, and because they did not know that it was so late “. It is just as late to-day in Australia. The fact that there are no Communists in the Parliament of the Commonwealth or in any of the State parliaments does not matter a rap. The power under present circumstances, is not in this chamber, though it will be in a month’s time. At the moment, the power is in the hands of the Australian Communist party, but it will shortly pass from those hands. I have talked to many Communists in every State. I think that I may have recounted a conversation that I had in a certain part of Australia with a leading Communist-
– The Minister has spoken to many anonymous people.
– I shall give a truthful account of that conversation. I asked the Communist to forecast the result of the general election that was pending. He replied, “ Why bother about election? or parliaments? You know and I know that parliaments do not control things in Australia to-day. We, the Communist party of Australia, hold this country in the hollow of our hands “. That statement was not an idle boast, although it will be very soon. The technique of a small, determined, disciplined, unscrupulous minority to get its way is well known in the world and the Australian Communists, or such of them as were born in this country, have learned that technique in Moscow. They learned it very well. I should like to read a short quotation which issued from the headquarters of the Labour party, the socialist party in Great Britain, after Czechoslovakia had fallen to the Communists. It is as follows : -
The Communists without cannot achieve their aims without support from a minority within the camp of democratic socialism. As in Czechoslovakia, so in Hungary, Roumania and Bulgaria, individual socialists, by permitting or abetting Communist attacks on democracy, have connived at their own destruction.
Two years ago, the United States Congress issued a publication which was entitled, The Strategy and Tactics of World Communism. It was published by the United States Congress Committee for Foreign Affairs, and I am proud to say that it was reproduced in this country, with the permission of the American State Department, by the Liberal party of Australia. Many thousands of copies of that document were printed, and some of them were made available to members of the present Opposition. That publication is the most serious, modern, uptodate work that I have seen on this subject, and it traces, in the most objective terms, the story of communism in the modern world and all the menace that it holds for all the countries in which the Communist party exists. After a person reads that document, there can be no doubt in his mind about the final objective of the Communist party. This bill has been introduced, as honorable members know perfectly well, to ban the Australian Communist party, and, among other things, to ensure that the Thorntons, the Healys, the Browns and the other Communists shall not remain in charge of the unions which they now control. We may ban the Australian Communist party, but if the J. J. Browns, the Healys, the Thorntons and the rest are still in charge of the unions after all the sound and fury of it is finished and all the dust of the battle has died down, the people “will say, “ Thank you for nothing. The job has not been done.”. Therefore we believe that until these men have been removed our task will not be done.
A great deal has been said about the Government providing in this legislation that a man who has been declared a Communist must himself provethat he is not so. Admittedly that is an unusual provision, but it is not particularly unusual as such a provision exists in the Customs Act, the Income Tax Assessment Act, the Sales Tax Acts, the Crimes Act and in many of the regulations made under the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act. That provision continued to exist in those acts right through the eight years in which the previous Government was in office. It would have been a simple matter for the Attorney-General of that Government, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), to have had that provision altered in all instances in which it appeared in legislation. Had his Government been so minded it would have taken the right honorable gentleman’s department only a few hours to run through the various acts containing the onus of proof provision with a fine tooth comb and to frame simple amendments to repeal the provision that places the onus of proof upon the accused and to return that onus to the Government. He did not take any such, action, and so the onus of proof provision remains in legislation that the Chifley Government could have amended easily. As a matter of fact, only six or eight months ago that Government introduced legislation in respect of the coalmining industry that contained the same provision. The Opposition knows that this legislation would be emasculated if the onus of proof were placed upon the accused. There is no other way of dealing effectively with Communists. If there is any other way I should like honorable gentlemen opposite to tell me what it is. Let me remind the House of the very effective speech made by the right honorable member for Barton in 1942. as Attorney-General in the Curtin Labour Government, when he announced the re-organization of the security services of Australia. He said -
It follows that there cannot he any absolute l ight of public trial in these cases of restriction of liberty In most cases it would not be possible to prove that the accused person had committed a specific offence. Guilt of a specific offence is not the test to be applied. The test to be applied is whether the restriction is reasonably necessary to prevent the possibility of serious injury to the war effort. Again it is prevention, not punishment, which is the objective. For instance, the fact that an indi V id / al has been convicted even of a serious war offence will not in itself warrant restrictions on liberty after the legal sentence has been served. Equally, the fact that an individual has been acquitted on a specific charge should not necessarily give him an immunity from detention if there is solid :101 nd for it. I can assure the House that, whilst I yield to no man in my desire to protect the civil rights of persons’ in Australia, there are times of crisis when the safety of the people as a whole must override ordinary court procedure. The public can rest assured that restrictions will be imposed or lifted with sole regard to the nation’s safety. Equally, they may rest assured that the Government will do its utmost to give to each person involved in a restriction order every reasonable opportunity to expose the fact that a mistake has been made.
That is the onus of proof provision, and I venture to suggest that in every context in which the right honorable gentleman mentioned the war effort he might, if he were making a speech to-day on the subject of communism, substitute the words, “ the preservation of democracy in Australia “. We have heard a great deal about communism during this debate. We have heard it defined in many ways but the very simple fact remains that communism, as far as the Communist party of Australia is concerned, is the communism that exists in Russia and that the Australian Communists desire to reproduce in this country. I do not believe that it is necessary to enter into any long diatribe against communism because 90 per cent, of the people of Australia and 100 per cent., or at least 99 per cent., of honorable members require no convincing about its merits or demerits. The previous Government paid a great deal of lip service to combating communism but communism thrives on the payment of lipservice to the fight against it. It requires courage to introduce legislation such as we have put before the House, and it will not be easy to give effect to such legisla tion. This Government received a mandate from the people at the last general election, when the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and all the rest of us spoke on countless platforms up and down the country and gave our pledge that we intended to rid Australia of this canker in our midst. The subject of communism was one of our main approaches to the electors and we were returned with a very great majority. We are now using that majority in order to carry out our pledges in this and every other direction. I join with the Prime Minister and every other honorable member on this side of the House in commending this great constructive measure to the Parliament and to the people of Australia.
Mr. HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) T9.6. - 1 desire briefly to make my position clear in respect of this bill. I shall not avoid the issue in the slightest degree, but I desire to advance my views in my own way. I hope that honorable members will give me the same hearing as 1 have given every other honorable member who has spoken on the measure. I do not mind the remarks that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) made about me this afternoon because I have never done anything in all my life that I would wish to recant. I believe in individual discipline, in mass discipline and in teaching law and order. I believe, and I have believed all my life, in gaining reforms by constitutional methods. I believe in and love liberty so much for myself that I should not dream of infringing upon the rights or liberties of another man or woman. I know that in making that my moral and social code of life I am entitled to all the rights, privileges and protections of British law. I am proud to be associated with this British justice and with a country that administers it. Not only arn 1 proud of that justice, but I also know that all other countries in the world take British justice as a model upon which to develop their own judicial systems.
– So does the “Com”.
– That is the first time that I have heard that statement made. I hold the principles of British justice as so sacrosanct that I must defend them to the last ditch. Under our British code of justice we are entitled, first of all, if anybody should charge us with an offence, to be told immediately the nature of the offence that is alleged against us. We are also entitled to a trial as quickly as possible after the offence has been alleged against us, lest innocent people remain unjustly incarcerated. We are also accepted as free and innocent men until we are found guilty.
– With many important exceptions.
– We are also not expected to prove our own guilt. The person who makes the accusation has to prove our guilt and not sit idly by and wait until the alleged offender can himself prove his innocence. We are also guaranteed, under the code of laws that we call British justice, the freedom of our home and place of business. No person may enter these premises unless with our permission or with a written warrant that he must produce.
– .Such a warrant is no longer the issue.
– That warrant must be signed by some one in a high and responsible position. Because I believe that these protections are sacrosanct I wish to defend them, and I shall not support any measure that intends to take, or does in fact take them away. [ do not hold these principles sacrosanct merely because of the privileges, rights and protections that they give me but also because I know of the long struggle that had to be gone through before it was possible for our ancestors to leave that heritage for future generations. I know of the two centuries of evolutionary process that men had to struggle through in order to achieve those reforms that we are able to enjoy to-day. Those men suffered all kinds of victimization and economic, mental and physical sacrifices in their efforts to gain this British justice that we all enjoy now. That is the law to-day, but it will not be the law if this legislation is passed as it now stands.
– That is not so.
– Perhaps we shall be able to show where that is wrong.. I know how hard was the struggle to. win the protections of British law that we love so much. I intend to defend the principles of that law as long as I possibly can. I know of the struggle for liberty that was waged by the men of the Chartist movement in England, by the Scottish crofters in Scotland and the Irishmen who fought for land1 reforms in Ireland and by the brave, rebel and liberty-loving Welsh. Such people left their own countries becausethey could not stand persecution any longer. They went to the British colonieswhere they could breath a freer air. Some came to Australia, some went to New Zealand, some to Canada and some toSouth Africa. I, and many other people in this country, are the descendants of many of them who came here seeking freedom. They continued to fight in thiscountry until they had attained this code of legal, social, and moral law that we enjoy to-day. Because I know of the struggles of those men, -who were of thevery salt of the earth and who won those great privileges for us, and I am astounded to find that after centuriesof struggle the majority of members of this Parliament are prepared, almost playfully, to throw the principles of British justice overboard to-night.
– We are prepared todefend them.
– I shall oppose this bill as long as these danger? remain in it. I agree with one interjection by an honorable member opposite, because I think that I know what was in his mind when he made it. Some of the principles that I have mentioned are not at stake in this measure, but 90 per rent, of them are at stake. They could be violated or destroyed if this measure were passed in its present form. I should never agree to support a measurethat contained such a threat. I have too much respect for those old pioneers,, our ancestors, who left us our heritage of law. I believe that this measure contains the seeds of its own destruction.
History teems with illustrations that prove that every act of persecution and of injustice carries with it its own.
Nemesis. I could give many illustrations of that fact that have occurred in my own lifetime and in the lifetime of other members in this House and certainly of many people in Australia but I shall content myself with three illustrations. One relates to the men who searched for gold at Ballarat and had to combine so that they might survive. English troopers pestered and ruthlessly persecuted them until they could stand it no longer and they raised the barricades at Eureka. The leader of the party was wounded, but he escaped and was never captured, although the Government put a price on his head, dead or alive. “When the people of the country had settled down and had time to think in calmer moments the rumblings of public opinion in Australia forced the British Government to issue a free pardon. Then, the people rallied to that man who, a few months previously, had had a price put upon his head and elected him to the Legislative Assembly in Victoria in which the tory members made him their speaker. He was elevated to that high position to which few men attain. I recall also the case of a fine gentleman whom many honorable members knew before he died recently. He was a Christian gentleman who was elected to the Parliament of Victoria. During his spare time, in an honorary capacity, he helped to edit a weekly Labour newspaper known as the Labour Call, and on one occasion when he reprinted in that newspaper an article from a British newspaper he was charged with publishing a sedition and with disloyalty to the State, because at that time an agitation was taking place over the Irish question. Fie was called to the Bar of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria and was expelled from that House. But a few months later at the ensuing federal general election he recorded the highest vote that had been recorded up to that time by any candidate for election to the Senate. Those facts show that the public mind changes when people consider matters of this kind in their calmer moments; and I suggest that that experience will be repeated in relation to this bill should it become law as it is at present drafted. No other country within the British Commonwealth of Nations would dream of passing legislation of this kind. Great Britain and Canada have refused to do so whilst South Africa is watering down its original proposals to deal with the Communist party.
I am certain that the majority of the Australian people are opposed to this legislation. I repeat that I shall not support the bill as it is at present drafted. I do not believe that the House in its wisdom will agree to it in its present form. The feeling is growing every hour against that provision of the bill that will prevent it from being made effective. 1 am opposed to giving the Government a veto on decisions of trade unions. Such a proposal is anti-democratic in the extreme. During the last two or three years all of us have heard of Russia’s action in repeatedly using the veto and thus defeating the efforts of the majority of the United Nations to establish a right understanding among the nations of the world.
The membership of trade unions is larger than the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) indicated. The officers of those organizations are elected at properly conducted secret ballots. In that way trade unionists elect the men they desire to represent them as their executive officers. But under this measure, the Government suggests that it can say to the trade unionists, when they are electing the office-bearers of their organizations, “No; we shall veto your election. You shall not elect the officers that you desire to elect “. The Government proposes to take up that attitude, even though the elections are conducted in the way that the law prescribes, which is by secret ballot. Such a proposal is anti-democratic, and the trade unions will not stand for it. I shall give two illustrations from my own experience as a leading officer in the tradeunion movement for many years. 0:i one occasion that movement was invite1 by the Australian Government of the day to be represented on a commission that was to visit the United States of America with the object of going through factories and industrial plants in that country to see what we could learn for the purpose of developing industry in. Australia. The trade union movement, accepted that invitation and put in motion the machinery to elect a representative from the six Trades and Labour Councils in this country. While that was being done, the government of the day said “No, you must not do that. You must send along to us six or seven names, and we shall select the representative.” The trade union movement, in effect, replied, “ No, we would like our representative to go but will not sell our principles in this matter. We will forgo sending a representative to the United States of America rather than allow government dictation in our domestic affairs “. In 1922 I was asked by the then Assistant Minister for Defence to select a man to represent the Australian trade unions at the International Labour Conference in Geneva. I said, “ Yes, I am certain that the Trades and Labour Councils will appreciate that offer. We will elect a representative by preferential voting so that, finally, we can get the best man to represent Australia.” The Assistant Minister replied, “ No, you must send us a panel of names from which we will select the representative. Mr. Bruce insists on a panel of names being supplied.” We refused to let the Government decide who should represent the trade union movement of Australia at that conference. We wanted to be represented, but the principle involved was too great to be ignored. Now, after those principles have been recognized for many years, the Government says under this legislation, ‘ “ We will not allow you to elect your own representatives.”1 I am not speaking for the Communist movement.
– Since when?
– The honorable member for Mackellar is wrong, and some day, T believe, he will express regret for the attitude that he is no-w adopting. I am endeavouring to preserve in this country the British code of justice which all of us love so well. Whenever an act of persecution takes place here, or anywhere else it is always resented by the people when, they have time to think about it in their calmer moments. I remember that when the “ coal baron “, John Brown, told the miners that they must accept a reduction of 12.^ per cent, in their wages and the miners refused, because if ‘ they did so they would infringe their- award Mr. Brown locked them out
He closed down not one or two mines, but all of the mines. Under the relevant legislation he was liable to a fine of £1,000 for causing an illegal lockout, but the Bruce-Page Government took no action against him. During the same month, 1 advised the timber workers in Melbourne not to accept Judge Lukin’s award under which reduced their wages by 5s. per week because Judge Lukin himself violated the principles governing wage fixation in order to make it possible to effect such a reduction. However, I was prosecuted for my action, and when Mr. Bruce, who was then Prime Minister, was asked, “ Why did you prosecute Holloway and not Brown ? “, he replied, “I prosecuted Holloway and it did not do any good, so what is the use of prosecuting any one else.” At the federal general election that was held a few months later, I defeated Mr. Bruce by a majority of over 300, whereas at the preceding general election Mr. Bruce had been elected by a majority of over 20,000. I was not elected because I was a better man than Mr. Bruce, but simply because the people resented the action of the Bruce Government in prosecuting me and not the coal baron. They resented that Government’s prosecution complex which, apparently, is highly developed in the mind of the honorable member for Mackellar.
Those are the reasons why I am opposed to this legislation. Since the recent war ended governments have expended millions of pounds and five years of patience in order to be sure that in the prosecution of German and Japanese war criminals no man who was innocent should be found guilty. The Allied Governments did not ask those war criminals to prove their innocence. In every instance the authorities had to prove the guilt of war criminals. Is it not strange then that under this measure the Government proposes to give free rein to officials with the mentality of concentra tion camp commandants to point a poisonous finger at any one who utter? views different from its own, and toplace the accused in court while the accuser sits back and smiles as the accused tries to prove his, or heu, innocence? This legislation goes back almost to the days of “Bloody” Judge
Jeffreys. I shall not support any measure that does that. I believe that it will not prove effective.
– This is exactly what the Hanlon Government did in Queensland.
– That legislation also failed. I believe that the method embodied in this legislation is wrong. I also oppose the bill because under it the Government abdicates the enforcement of law and order. It presupposes that there is no authority under any existing law to deal with cases of this kind. I do not believe that that is so. There are ample laws already in existence that will enable the Government to deal effectively with anything that may crop up. Offenders should be punished at the moment they commit their crimes. They should be punished wherever evidence is produced that they are conspiring to commit a crime, and they should be punished individually and not in the mass under a drag-net provision of the kind embodied in this measure. The last thing that the Parliament should do is to pass a measure of this kind. The Government claims to be democratic, but under this measure it asks the Parliament to do something that is the antithesis of democracy and will break down the law3 of which all of us are so proud and boast about. Under this measure we are violating and raping those laws. Therefore, I oppose the bill and will oppose it to the end unless the Government accepts the cardinal amendment that the Opposition has forecast to preserve the principle that an individual is innocent and must remain free until he, or she, is proved guilty. Unless the bill is amended in that way I shall vote against the motion for the third reading of it.
– We have, just listened to a characteristic speech from the right honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway). To those who heard the right honorable member for the first time to-night it might have sounded a convincing and very genuine speech, but no one who really considers what he said will fail to realize that he talked about anything but the principles of the bill before the House. That is not a very genuine course of action for any honorable member to take. Heharked back to the days of “Bloody” Judge Jeffreys and of the Eureka Stockade and spoke about the majority he gained when he defeated Mr. Bruce at a general election. He spoke about everything imaginable except the bill. We are not here to talk about those things which, in themselves, perhaps, may be interesting but are not relevant to the business before the Chair. Thus, it falls to my lot as it has fallen to the lot of every Government supporter who has spoken in this debate to try to bring the Parliament back to a consideration of the bill. What is the proper perspective in which to view this legislation? Is it relevant for us to east our minds back over several hundred years of British history and 100’ years of Australian history, or are we to deal with this legislation in the light of the circumstances and emergency that exist in thi? country to-day? This measure has just been brought before the Parliament. The people of Australia only recently demanded that legislation of this kind be enacted because they recognize that a state of emergency exists in this country. lt is in the light of those circumstances that we must weigh the merits of this legislation, and decide whether it is necessary, and whether we shall tolerate some measures which in normal circumstances we would not wish to adopt. Not one of us pretends that he wishes to have placed on the statute-book legislation that calls upon a person who has been declared guilty to prove his innocence but there are occasions of emergency in the history of a country when it is necessary to put aside some cherished ideas in order to meet the circumstances of a greater and more imminent necessity The real keynote of this legislation is that it deals with the security -of our country. It is related most intimately and immediately to the defence of the country. That is its background. We should debate it in an atmosphere of receding confidence in the continued peace of the world, and of a growing fear that we may not have seen the la.=t war in our lifetime. That all our efforts will be bent towards the preservation of peace need not be questioned. Tt is common knowledge that there is receding confidence in the minds of not only the members of this Government and the people of Australia but also all the peoples of the world, that they can be sure that they will live out their lives in peace. That is a background against which we must measure this legislation and adjudge its necessity and urgency. I have seen legislation introduced into this Parliament to establish rural debt adjustment or to authorize the seizing of trade union funds, not to deal with trivial matters but to deal with an acute circumstance of the day. We are dealing with a. similar circumstance in this bill. We are attacking communism as it relates to the safety of our own country and as it relates to the Soviet Union, which is the only country by which our safety and our survival can be challenged. This bills deals with the tactics of communism which have been employed by the Soviet to bring a dozen nations under its heel. Surely I do not have to name them. Poland, Roumania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were all brought under Soviet dominance through the machinations of the Communist party within those countries. China and Korea have likewise fallen under the dominance of communism. In every instance communism was at the root of the loss of real sovereignty by those countries. We areliving in an atmosphere, in which we have to recognize bitterly that we can no longer depend with confidence on the United Nations andthe Security Council topreserve our safety and security and to attend to our needs and circumstances. We are living in days when the United States of America and the United Kingdom have felt impelled to offer financial and military aid to Turkey and Greece, to establish the North Atlantic Defence Pact, to guard the Western democracies. Against whom? Against those whom leading members of the last Government declared were acting as agents in this country of a foreign power.
When the former Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt), as the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Security Service, introduced legislation that was designed to protect the construction of the guided weapons testing range, and other defence projects, he said, standing where I now stand, that the introduction of the legislation had been made necessary because essential defence projects had been menaced by those who in this country acted as the agents of a foreign power. He did not name the foreign power. It was certainly not Brazil. We know the country to which the right honorable gentleman referred. The circumstance of emergency that arose from the activities of the Communists in this country was revealed not only bythis Government but also by its predecessor in office, by the former Deputy Prime Minister who with access to all the secret reports presented to his Government referred more thanonce to the agents of a foreign power travelling in the guise of Communists in this country. At a cost of scores of thousands of pounds of public funds, the former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) published large-size advertisements which stated that the coal strike of last year was a Communist-inspired conspiracy that had been planned months ahead. Those were not idle words. They were prompted by the knowledge that came to the right honorable gentleman in his capacity as Prime Minister. But what does the right honorable gentleman say about this legislation? He says that he will not vote against it, but that is as far as he will go.If the security of this country is at stake, there is no place in public life for a man who will not take a stand one way or the other; for a man who will not stand up and say, “1 am opposed to the action proposed to be taken “, or “ I support the action proposed to be taken “ ; for a man who troops into this House and says. “ I shall not vote against this legislation “, and then proceeds to besmirch it with all the words that his political experience can bring to his tongue. The right honorable gentleman had not spoken on the bill for five minutes before he described it to the Australian people as lending itself to the activities of liars, perjurers and pimps. He used not the common language of debate but the language of a skilled, experienced, political psychologist, the language of a cunning man who knew that it would appeal to those who do not constitute the best elements in this community. There are scores of thousands of people in this community, as there are in any community, who will listen avidly to, and will heed an accusation that a government is proposing to facilitate the activities of liars, perjurers, and pimps. We do not want the leader of His Majesty’s Opposition in this Parliament to employ language of that kind to describe legislation that has been introduced into the Parliament to safeguard the security of our country The right honorable gentleman pursued a similar line to that pursued in his own inimitable style by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). He adopted the oldest strategem of politics and war that of employing diversionary tactics, a course that was also pursued but in a different style by the right honorable and experienced member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway).
In this bill a clear issue has been placed before the Parliament. Did the former leaders of this country deal with it? Collectively they did not deal with it for ten minutes. They refused to discuss the real issue and instead wandered into side issues about liars, perjurers and pimps. I do not need to refresh the minds pf honorable members about the discourse that was delivered by the honorable member for East Sydney only half an hour ago. The right honorable member for Melbourne Ports likened this legislation to the activities of Judge Jeffreys in the seventeenth century. What do we know that we do not need to prove? We know that communism has been related to the fall of country after country. We know that, not early in this century but in this decade, the activities of communism and the espionage activities of the Soviet Union have been exposed beyond challenge and that they have been levelled as much against Australia as against any other country. We know of the exposures of Communist activity in Canada. If Canada should fall to communism a bastion of our safety would be lost.
– Did Canada take the same action as this Government proposes to take?
Mr. McEwen Canada has taken appropriate action and those who uphold the cause of communism are no longer free to advocate it in that country. The same is true of the United Kingdom. Each country has chosen its own course of action. Dr. Fuchs is no longer free to follow such activities in the United Kingdom nor are his friends in the United States. They have been deported or gaoled. Yet here, according to the protestations of honorable members opposite, nothing should be done. In the midst of war, recognizing the threat of this treasonable conspiracy a government that was formed by the parties on this side of the House declared the Australian Communist party to be an illegal organization; but the right honorable member for Barton never let up in his advocacy that two of the most notorious Communists in Australia at that time, Ratliff and Thomas, who had been gaoled because of their treasonable activities against the Commonwealth, should be released. He never let up in his demand that the ban on the Communist party should be removed and as soon as he and his colleagues took office they removed the ban.
– That action paid off.
– There was virtually no positive action by the Labour party when in office to curb the evil activities of the Communist party that can be measured against its decision to lift the ban on the Communist party.
I have referred to the position that exists in Turkey, Greece and other countries. I now come nearer to home, to the Far East. China and one half of Korea have turned to communism. Communists are powerfully active in Indonesia. What is agitating our minds perhaps more than anything else is the fact that the Communist activity is gaining in Malaya, the last British stronghold in the East. A conference which is taking place in Sydney to-day is as we know related to an effort to halt the onward march of communism from Asia towards Australia. Are not these the real matters to which we should direct our attention instead of talking about something that happened 100 years ago or the niceties of legal procedure about which none of us quarrel? It was in the atmosphere that 1 have described that the Government introduced this legislation. It has stated its case in unequivocal terms. Shorn of a few more or less irrelevant words the legislation is founded upon this recital which appears in the preamble to the bill-
And whereas the Australian Communist Party . . . engages in activities or operations designed to assist or accelerate the coming of a revolutionary situation, in which the Australian Communist Party, acting as a revolutionary minority, would he able to seize power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat.
That is a serious declaration which no speaker on the Opposition side has sought to disprove. The recital continues - also engages in activities or operations designed to bring about the overthrow or dislocation of the established system of government of Australia and the attainment of economic, industrial or political ends by force, violence, intimidation or fraudulent practices.
Those are very potent charges. In this House, in the last hour of the debate on this legislation, no honorable member of the Opposition has sought to disprove that charge, yet this is the place in which any attempt to disprove it should be made. The recital proceeds -
And whereas the Australian Communist party is an integral part of the world Communist revolutionary movement which, in the King’s dominions and elsewhere, engages i;i espionage and sabotage and in activities or operations of a treasonable or subversive nature-
That is the most powerful charge of all. Not one honorable member of the Opposition has sought to prove that that is an unwarranted foundation upon which to build this legislation. The whole debate has proceeded without any member of the Opposition seeking to prove that there is no warrant for these charges and while they stand unchallenged no honorable member is entitled to sit in this Parliament if he is prepared, on any pretence, to maintain the legal, valid existence of an organization of Australian people which has these pernicious objectives. There are a multiplicity of details, some of them tremendously important, which honorable members may properly di:miss. but any honorable member of this Parliament who refrains from expressing himself 1/r. McEwen upon the fundamental points in the legislation should be regarded as having surrendered his right to deal with details for he will have refused to face up to the basic principles of the legislation.
What is the lead which has been given to his supporters by the Leader of the Opposition, who is a former Prime Minister ? He will not vote against the legislation. The Labour party is not to be on record as supporting the bill and it is not to be on record as opposing it. Thenis no room for fence sitters in this matter. It is the duty of honorable members to argue domestic politics and they are at liberty to have the most varied differences of opinion amongst themselves but they will not be present in thi > House to argue details of domestic policy if we lose the ownership of this country. That is the danger to which this legislation relates. Yet, the Labour party is to refrain from voting on it. It is not within the entitlement of any political organization to claim the right to govern this country if it lacks the courage to face this issue and say whether it is for or against it. Those who have listened to the speeches of honorable members of the Opposition know that there are many and influential members of the Labour party who hate, fear and despise the Communist party: but there are others in the Labour party both in this place and outside it who play along with the Communist party. Communism has been a political issue in Australia during the sixteen years that I have been in the Federal Parliament I have heard the honorable member for East Sydney make a thousand speeches, but I have never heard him utter one word of condemnation of the Communist party. I am sorry to say that. I cannot recall any occasion on which the right honorable member for Melbourne Ports has uttered a word of condemnation of the Communist party, although I have heard him describe communism as being a Christ-like philosophy. So it becomes immediately evident that within the rank* of Labour and within this Parliament there are people who uphold the Communist party and I believe that their intention to refrain from voting is a compromise which is designed to conceal the differences of opinion within their own party. Tn short, the integrity of the Labour movement is more important to honorable members of the Opposition than the taking of a positive step to secure the safety of their own country.
– Tell us something about pimps and informers.
– Your own leader–
– Order ! The Minister will address the Chair.
– There would appear to be no greater authority in this House on the subject of pimps and informers than the honorable member’s own leader. Far be it from me to enter that field.
These divergences of opinion within the Labour movement are not confined to the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour party. Those who enter this place as honorable members of the Opposition are here by virtue, in the first place, of their selection to carry the banner of Labour. They are chosen by whom? They are chosen by delegates who derive their power from those who have entitlements within the Labour movement, and who, to an overwhelming extent, are members of industrial unions which are affiliated with the Labour party. The great Australian Workers Union is well known for its constant and unremitting resistance to communism and its members have rights as an affiliated union; but the great and powerful Ironworkers Federation, which is well known for its dominance by the Communist party, is also affiliated with Labour. All its members derive rights from that affiliation unless they are revealed as active, practising Communists. That is the only circumstance which can invalidate their rights in the Labour movement. The Federated Clerks Union constantly chooses Communists as its leaders.
– It is not affiliated with the Australian Labour party.
-The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) had better keep quiet
– Honorable members will find, if they seek the information, that the ironworkers are affiliated with the New South Wales branch of the Labour movement.,
– Only a section of it.
– Only a section! Honorable members have an alibi for everything! They act on the principle that, like the illegitimate baby, it is only a little one, anyway! The Waterside Workers Federation constantly elects the Communist, Healy, as ite leader, and it is affiliated with the Labour party. The Seamen’s Union constantly chooses the Communist, Elliott.
– It is not affiliated with the Labour party.
– I have named the Ironworkers Federation, the Building Workers Industrial Union, the Miners Federation, the Seamen’s Union and the Federated Clerks Union.
Honorable members interjecting,
– If these interjections persist after I have asked honorable gentlemen to remain quiet and have called them by name, they will be asking for trouble although I am a most peace.ful man.
– Those, Mr. Speaker, are the great industrial organizations which compose the principal part of the body corporate of Labour. The last two honorable members who spoke from the Opposition benches represent waterfront electorates. For one who represents a waterfront electorate it is dangerous to fall foul of the Communist-controlled unions; so they avoid doing so. The speeches of some honorable members of the Opposition and the failure of others to speak reveal that they have no intention of falling foul of the Communist-controlled unions. They reveal that the Labour party in this Parliament is more concerned with preserving its own integrity here and refraining from voting than attending to the safety of its own country. Failure to vote is the most cowardly political action that any party or person can take. This is a measure which has as its objective the safety of Australia and it will be a shameful day for Labour when that party lacks the courage to take a stand, in one way or the other, on this issue.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The Minister who has just resumed his seat (Mr. McEwen) implied that no member of the Labour party who represented a waterfront electorate or who had -contact with those industrial organizations normally to be found along the waterfront was game to declare his point of view. I am declaring mine. I am in favour, absolutely and entirely, of the dissolution of the Communist party as a political entity in this country. Stripped of all the sophistry, the play upon words and the ribaldry with which honorable members of the Opposition have been so kindly regaled this evening, the Government’s proposals amount to this: liberty and freedom, throughout history, have meant different things to different men. The whole problem of liberty has been that men have had different conceptions of what that word rightly meant. It has meant different things to different men at any one time. Society, at certain times, and in certain situations, finds itself confronted from within or from without by a force which threatens liberty. To my way of thinking, communism iri such a force. It is entirely irrelevant that, perhaps in the 17th century, kings oppressed their subjects, or that, in the 18th century in the land of my forefathers, landlords oppressed the peasants. It is also entirely irrelevant in relation to this argument to bring forth the obvious fact that, in this community, there have been Hitlerism and fascism, and monopoly capitalism that even now, in this enlightened 20th century, would grind the faces of the poor. All those facts are beside the point. There is only one argument, in which every man in this House must speak according to his conscience. What is the threat now? My conscience, which is going to be my sole judge, tells me that there is only one imminent revolutionary threat poised over this community - the threat of atheistic materialistic communism. I am well aware that, as one honorable member has said, an idea can be met only with an idea. I have an idea of what should be the counter-force to communism, and it is not, I assure the Government, the obvious materialism and devotion to Mammon that I see reflected in its ranks. We must seek a positive force to oppose the menace of communism.
The Communists claim that their philosophy is at war with the rest of the world. Granting the premise, I submit to this House that we, as sane, intelligent representatives of the people, must meet a weapon with a weapon. I know of no set of relevant facts reiterated over the radio and repeated almost ad nauseam in this chamber by speaker after speaker, or of anything before in the history of the world so widespread, so generally accepted by authorities everywhere, so endorsed by columnists, so investigated by thinkers, and so strongly supported by an accumulation of evidence as that which demonstrates that communism is not a political philosophy. By no means could it ever be proved to me that communism was a political philosophy. It is a dynamic policy of revolutionary action. It is a complete way of life, dominating every person under its banner so as to render him a serf to an idea, owing no loyalty to any country and having no faith in any god or Christian concept, but owing loyalty in all circumstances to the Stalin line, the Communist line that is laid down inexorably for him in Moscow. Am I not, therefore, as a member of the Labour party - a great and distinguished party which represents approximately 50 per cent, of the voting strength of this community, a party whose history has been highlighted, whether the Government likes to admit the fact or not, by a positive, consistent, active, tenacious fight against communism - entitled to resent the imputations that have been levelled against me by some honorable members on the Government side of the House? The Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), a very distinguished man, fresh from his triumphs in the north of Australia, barged into this chamber like the Bull of Bashan and immediately had the temerity and effrontery to identify me with the people against whom T have been fighting during the whole of my political career. When he and others now in this House were grovelling at the feet of our Russian allies during the war years, I and others, in the industrial electorates that we represent, were expressing the point of view of Labour, the only positive point of view in opposition to the Communist menace.
The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen), who is now at the table, knows deep down in his heart that when the lights of Europe went out - not for ever I hope - events had proved irrevocably that the only force that could stand between a people and perdition was a people’s party. Social democratic parties were the only political movements in Europe that could adequately represent the aspirations of r.he workers, and, when they were swept aside, the people were crushed between the upper and the nether mill stones of fascism. I deplore the extraordinary diversionary tendencies that have crept into this debate. The Treasurer, in order to buttress his arguments about the Labour party and the Communist party being kith under the skin, again with dainty dexterity, misquoted his ecclesiastical authorities and their titles. Surely every man has within himself the ability to decide which way he must go on this issue! I require no ecclesiastical buttress for my conscience. I know where I am going, and I know the decision thai I am making. Honorable members show shockingly bad taste in bandying authorities about as though their least words would have a vital impression upon the votes to be cast on this issue. Their conduct is entirely misguided and I deprecate it. Every man must decide this issue according to his conscience. I tell the Treasurer, sincerely, without the shadow of a reservation and with the authority of my long association with the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) and other members of the Labour party who are my comrades and my friends, that the Labour party is just as anxious as he is to preserve our national heritage. It is just as concerned as he is to exterminate all subversive elements. The only divergence between our points of view arises from the fact that a great jurist, an outstanding world figure, a leader of international organizations, a man of undoubted prestige and ability, a man who is concerned with the preservation of ordinary liberties and common decencies, whilst being opposed to revolutionary activities, is still con cerned with the defence of fundamental rights. In that statement I believe that I have correctly outlined the real attitude of the right honorable member for Barton and of the Labour party. Is it not a fact that, in every country and especially in time of war, the prime dilemma of democratic governments has arisen from the necessity for taking every precaution, when dealing with the pernicious, the dangerous and that which aims to overthrow society, not to become tainted with the self -same evils?
Lest the fact should become obscured in the welter of rhetoric that is flowing round this chamber this evening, I shall restate the attitude of the Labour party on this issue. The Labour party, whilst affirming the principle that communism is a revolutionary menace seeking chaos - everything that supporters of the Government have said and perhaps more - and recognizing that it should and must be dissolved, is prepared also to ensure that, in the attempt to destroy it, we shall not simultaneously destroy some other things that we should retain.
– A bob each way!
– I shall not attempt a refutation of communism for the edification of the honorable gentleman. For the intelligent, a refutation is not necessary; for the unintelligent, of course, a refutation would be superfluous and useless. If the honorable member has not yet understood my point of view, 1 had better try to emphasize it still further. I agree with the submission that Australia is engaged in a war - not a cold war but a real war that falls just short of being a shooting war. Therefore, I agree deep down in my heart of hearts that there is justification for the preamble to this bill. But for the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Kekwick), with a supercilious, sanctimonious sneer on his face, to insinuate that I am “ having a bob each way” - I shall say no more about him. His interjection does not deserve a reply. There can be no “bob each way “ on this issue. My Celtic ancestors would turn in their graves in Ireland if they thought that their descendant would ever be guilty of bringing a man to trial and convicting him without assuring first, that the processes of law, and finally that every procedure of justice, had been formally and correctly observed. What I am saying in effect is that the Communists should be banned and removed from all offices in which they could use their influence, in any situation, to menace our society but that we should make sure that, before convicting any Communist, he should be allowed to exhaust all the processes of law and justice. He should have every right that we should not be prepared to deny to a criminal. When he has not one free leg to stand on, then he should be made to undergo the punishment that he should rightfully suffer. I am not one of those who would give a person like Dr. Fuchs the opportunity of unrestricted freedom that enabled him to sell the secret of the atomic bomb to Russia. I should not wait for the commission of an overt act by such a man. Once the suspicion had been aroused surely the people of Britain should have known from their ordinary sources of information that this man was suspect, and surely it was not a physical impossibility to set in train the processes of law and order necessary to bring him to justice before the overt act was committed.. The easiest way out of this dilemma is the way that Labour has pointed out through its proposed amendments. The easiest way out is that no distinction shall be made between the Communist and the ordinary offender against society. I have no love for Communists and I shall open no way of escape for them. I shall in no circumstances defend them but shall fight them with all my power and for as long as I can. In doing so, we must be careful that we are not infected with the same disease of totalitarianism.
I disagree with some of my colleagues when they say that there is any element of peace in the world to-day. Peace societies are a misnomer, a snare and a delusion. There is no peace in the world to-day because the culture and the civilization of Europe have been almost destroyed. Great forces even now threaten to advance into this southern sea of ours and overwhelm us. The dove of pence cannot find a resting place for her feet. Why talk of peace when the situation is e0 obviously one of Wary Therefor”. T recognise that during this period of stress and crisis there is justification for measures which could not normally be considered. My friends on the Government side need be no longer hestitant about my attitude and that of my party. We are positively affirming our support of the general principles of this bill, but at the same time we seek to make, and no doubt ultimately will have made, the amendments that we consider are vital for the preservation of ordinary decency and liberty. The real problem confronting us to-day is not whether certain activities should be stopped for all time, but how far should we go in stopping them. Ultimately the Labour attitude on this matter will prove to be the only sane one. Ultimately, and the press of this country is realizing it at the moment, people will seek these safeguards advocated by the Labour party. History has shown that danger is inherent in undue repression. We make no attempt at all to protect the Communist party, and in that I submit, that the Australian Labour party is just as patriotic and loyal to this country and just as self-sacrificing in its interests as the Government parties purport to be. All the virtues are not to be found on one side of the House. To say that some people, who I am convinced are at any rate just as materialistic as the Communists ever were, are not using this bill for a specious and obvious little bit of party advantage in enough to make a cynic laugh. Selfishness and the desire for change and for the acquisition of power and profit, are not confined to the ordinary man in the community. The ordinary man wants protection from both sides. He needs it from those who would exploit him and from those who would threaten him. Therefore, Labour’s attitude is clear and unequivocal. It requires no authority and is not having a shilling each way; it simply says, as it has said in its fight throughout the years and as it has demonstrated in its industrial struggles and political acts, that it really represents the workers of Australia. The party submits to-night that it is the only party that can adequately keep out from its own organizations those elements which are .so subversive and destructive ;’i Australia to-day.
Tn conclusion, in =rio of the somewhat cynical unconcern with which all our utterances are being treated, I recognize to-night, as I have always recognized, that there is a job to be done by this community. I recognize that all that is best in this country - our Christian heritage, our culture, our hopes and aspirations - is threatened. I recognize to-night that there is in all of us something beyond the purely material, and I recognize that the sole hope of our Australia is the permeation through the masses of this country of a leaven of thought and ideas which will make social justice and the welfare of the underdog the prime concern of all our legislative acts. I hope to-night to leave a heritage to my children which they will be able to enjoy for decades; a heritage which will enable them to walk under the midday sun as free men and women; a British heritage, an Australian heritage. My aim is to ensure that we shall still be free people when the Communists have been dispersed to the far corners of the earth. I take my stand on the destiny of Christianity, and on the trust of my children that we in this House shall do something through this measure, amended on the lines of ordinary justice, which m the interests of common humanity will be of benefit to us all.
Mr. TOWNLEY (Denison) [10.25 .I do not intend to delay the House with my remarks, as there is another speaker to follow me. I shall endeavour to he brief and to the point. This House is debating a measure which is primarily concerned with the peace and the defence of Australia. When we read the recitals in this bill we can have no luke-warm opinions. Either this bill is a wild, extravagant, imaginative document, or Australia stands in the shadow of a threat as real as it is menacing. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) rather scoffed at the idea that Communism is a menace. He airily waved it away. T have an extract from the press of Sydney, his own home town, in which a Communist is reported to have said last Sunday in the Sydney Domain, an area that is well known to the honorable member for East Sydney -
We of the Communist party have never denied that we stand for the overthrow of the system. We will fly the hammer and sickle from the roof of the Sydney Town Hall.
When the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) was speaking last week he used the metaphor of Belshazzar’s feast and the writing on the wall. As far as the Communists are concerned, their writing is not on the wall. It is in characters 100 miles high that are scrawled across the face of half the world. Honorable members will remember that in the days of Belshazzar the problem of the people at the feast was not to see the writing on the wall, because they all saw it. Their problem was to understand the meaning of the writing. That is the problem that faces us to-day. We can see the Communist writing clearly and plainly, but can we interpret its implications as far as Australia is concerned ?
There are three camps in the world to-day - Islam, communism and Christian democracy. Of those three the great conflict to-day is between communism and the democracies of western civilization. The question that confronts us is, how far has this conflict developed and extended and how does it touch the safety and security of Australia? It is my calm and considered belief that, disturbing as the facts seem to be, a real threat exists to the safety and security of Australia. Although we may argue about what steps we shall take to meet the threat, I think we all agree that some steps are surely necessary. In years to come men will stand amazed that we have waited so long before taking action. The historian Toynbee tells us that nineteen civilizations have risen to prominence during the history of the world. Of those, sixteen have been destroyed from within. Therefore, in the light of history and in the light of world events and of events in our own country, I feel that we can no longer afford to drift along waiting for something to turn up. We must have the courage to take up the fight and determine whether we shall have a part in shaping our own future.
A nation has three lines of defence. First, there are the outer defences. In those are included, for Australia, the United Nations organization, nonaggression pacts, military alliances, physical barriers and friendly neighbours. Our friendly neighbours are Malaya, Indonesia, the Philippines and so on. Our second line of defence is composed of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force. The third and most important is the home front. The home front is composed of the nation’s industrial potential backed by the national spirit, which can make or break a nation. The Communist works against all three lines of defence. “We know of the stoppage of the United Nations assemblies and of insurrections in the countries in our near north. But the greatest of those attacks is on the home front. A score of conquered nations to-day provide us with evidence of why that is so, and we can see in them the results of and the reasons for the Communist’s work.
Honorable members have discussed at length the effects of communism in our key industrial undertakings, and my comment on that matter will not be long. The infiltration of the Communists of key unions is a well established fact, and the effects of it are well known. Honorable members have doubtless read the report of Research Service in New South Wales that has been on the table of the Parliamentary Library for the past week. It is a long and sorry story of loss of production, political strikes, loss of wages, the high cost of living, and the high cost of keepmar Communist officials in the unions. All those factors cause a disastrous weakness in the national economy. At this stage, I should like to pay a small tribute to those honorable members opposite who have fought the Communist menace in the unions. Like the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson), I have felt the vicious attacks of the Communists, and experienced their bitter hatred. I have known threats of physical violence, which do not worry me very much, and character-smearing, which worries me even less, and I have experienced the war of nerves that has been waged on members of my family. Therefore, I am able to appreciate what those honorable gentlemen have had to endure in the unions, and I honour them for their courage and tenacity of purpose. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), in his second-reading speech, said that there would not be a
Communist in the unions to-day if the rank and. file members took an interest in the affairs of their industrial organizations. He stated that if those persons attended union meetings and gave their active support to the men who were out in the front doing the fighting, there would be no Communists in industrial organizations. The honorable gentleman also said that the apathy and indifference of rank and file members to the conduct of union affairs gave rise to the difficulty. Yet apathy and indifference are not peculiar to unions. Even in the management of a cricket or a football club, two or three persons always do the work, and the remaining members are prepared to let them do so, and frequently criticize their efforts. By supporting this bill, loyal anti-Communist union leaders will be doing a good thing for themselves, because it condemns the Communist, gives to the active anti-Communist all the power, strength and support of Commonwealth law, and, as all good legislation should do, it seeks to protect the careless and apathetic man from the consequences of his own indifference.
I have been speaking of unions and union leaders, and I should now like *o refer to another aspect of the bill. I have mentioned the damage that has been done by Communist leaders in Australian trade unions, but I suggest that they have not done so much damage as Dr. Fuchs did when he “sold out” to Russia, and gave to that country our atomic secrets and, in my opinion, took away the greatest bargaining weapon that we had for peace. The implications of that treachery have not yet been felt, and they may easily cause the annihilation of half the population of the world. To come a little nearer home, I may mention that, a few months ago, I underwent a course in naval training, and I was introduced to fantastic and amazing weapons that have been developed since the end of World War II. One particular gun almost thinks for itself. The point that I emphasize is that those weapons will be made in Australia, and obviously, absolute security must be ensured in the factories in which they are manufactured. When I say “security”, I have in mind not the men on the benches, but the senior operatives and the scientists who will have access to the whole of the plans of those weapons. I commend the Government for its wisdom in including in this bill as essential to the defence of this country, persons who are employed by the Government.
I pass briefly to the machinery clauses of the bill. When I use the phrase “ machinery clauses “, I do not desire to imply that I have a profound knowledge of the law. To be perfectly honest, I had not heard the phrase before I became a member of this Parliament. The legal fraternity on both sides of the chamber will have a field day in committee, and, I fear, may discuss the legal aspects and implications at some length ; but as a layman, I should like to remind the House of certain matters that we must bear in mind when we are dealing with legislation that is directed against the Communist party. The honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) said that when we are dealing with Communists, we must remember that we are dealing with fanatics, and that -statement is correct. References have frequently been made in this debate to the great principles of justice and liberty in the observance of which we pride ourselves, and to the necessity for preserving them even in our dealings with the Communists, but we must also think of another consideration. Those principles of justice and liberty must be preserved for the great mass of the people of Australia, and we must be careful that we do not allow sentiment for established precepts to weaken our sense of justice, or accept licence as liberty. Therefore, I remind the House of the teachings of some of the Communist leaders cited by the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean). Lenin and Stalin said -
In communism, every form of ruse, deceit, lying and knavery is permissible. Communism is founded upon violence which recognizes no law and is restricted by no duty.
Karl Marx wrote -
We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, and law-breaking, and withholding and concealing the truth.
On the admission of those Communist leaders, communism recognizes no law and scoffs at the truth. Being atheistic in concept, it negatives the effects and the value of the oath. Therefore, as a layman, I find it difficult to see how we can extend the orthodox and normal processes of the law to Communists. However, 1 leave that problem to those honorable members who are qualified in law and I merely add that [ believe that our determination will have to be very realistic and practicable.
Finally, I do not consider that this bill will put an end to communism. It is not meant to do so. It has been designed to check the activities of a Communist conspiracy in this land, the purpose of which is to weaken Australia, as a part of the larger world plan of Soviet aggression. Although I believe that the bill will require a little alteration hero and 1 her - and surely that is the reason for our debates - I consider that it will serve its emergency purpose and will have the backing of every loyal and thoughtful Australian. I support the bill.
– There are only twenty minutes left for the secondreading debate. I propose that the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Dr. Nott) and the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) shall each speak for ten minutes. If that proposal is accepted, I call the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory.
– I am pleased to accept that condition. There is not the slightest doubt that to-day many democratic countries are threatened by communism. I wish to declare my attitude to this bill, having listened attentively to the argumens that have been advanced in support of and in opposition to it. I have not sufficient time at my disposal to deal with individual clauses, but I say that, subject to certain reservations, the bill has my unqualified support.
It is a splendid thing for democracy when the leader of the government of a democratic nation is prepared to implement promises that he made to the electors, particularly on so important an occasion as the last general election in this country. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), without ambiguity, indicated his proposals for dealing with the communistic menace in Australia. By this hill, the Government is endeavouring, rightly or wrongly, to give effect to the promises that the right honorable gentleman made on the hustings and in his policy speech. It is easy to establish a democracy, but it is very difficult in a democracy to find leaders who have the courage of their convictions and are prepared to lead the country in the direction that they honestly believe to be in the best interests of the institutions that reflect its intelligence.
Two world wars have mutilated humanity almost beyond recognition. After the 1914-18 conflict the need for reconstruction was so great that many persons believed that never again would men resort to arms, but strange ideologies stalked the world and the second world war occurred. Now, after that war, foreign ideologies that are repugnant to democracy as we know it are stalking this country. By introducing this bill, the Government is giving a courageous lead to the people in dealing with something that is recognized by the members of all political parties to be a menace. Some honorable gentlemen on my right have spoken on this subject loquaciously, eloquently, with heat and, very often, with more heat than logic. They have denied any relationship with communism and have expressed the keen and fervent desire that this bill shall be passed so that a foreign conspiracy may be smashed. I do not think that anybody now seriously regards the Communist party as being a political party. It is regarded as a conspiratorial organization, the object of which is to place power in the hands of a militant minority. In those circumstances, I do not think that the bill will have the stormy passage that some persons have suggested it will have. If there are any honorable gentlemen opposite whose past associations have been forced upon them in their relationship with Communists, they cannot escape in so easy a manner. If a man looks, waddles and talks like a cluck, he cannot complain if he is taken for a duck. A man is judged by the company that he keeps, and must accept the dictum of the people.
I hope that this bill will not have a difficult passage. I believe that the Prime Minister will be generous in his reception of some of the amendments that will be proposed, not only by honorable gentlemen on my right, but also, I am sure, by members of the Government parties. I give this bill my blessing. I hope that it will achieve the peace that we must secure if this great country of ours is to develop and progress in the way in which I believe every honorable member hopes that it will.
.- I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Dr. Nott) for the courtesy you have extended to me in giving me an opportunity to speak during the closing stages of the second-reading debate. In view of the limited time at my disposal, I shall be unable to join in the oratorical bastinadoing of the Communist party in which other honorable members have indulged. Suffice it for me to say “Hear, hear “ to the things that have been said about the Communist party, what it is and what it hopes to achieve in this country and throughout the world.
The questions that spring to my mind in considering this measure are, first, whether it will achieve the purpose for which it is designed, and secondly, whether the Government has sufficient psychological insight not only to use the bill effectively but also to use it in a way that will not do irreparable damage to the very institutions that we are endeavouring to save from the Communist party. I am quite prepared to support a ban upon the Communist party, but what troubles my mind is the fact that very many persons, including some of the Ministers in this Government, appear to consider that this bill will provide 1 the answer to the Communist menace in this country. I hope that that point of view is not held generally in the councils of this Government. Although the bill will enable the Government to cripple some of the activities of the Communist party and to remove from influential positions in the industrial trade union movement those who seek to destroy that movement and, through it, this country, it will not provide a complete answer to the problem, and will indeed constitute a very real danger if honorable gentlemen opposite believe that it will. If the bill were put into operation to-morrow and the
Government removed the Browns, Healys and other Communists from office, what provision would there be to prevent Communist stooges from taking their places? If the Government, as unfortunately it is likely to do, lulls members of the community into thinking that the problem has now been dealt with and confirms them in the apathy that allowed the Communists to obtain control of the trade unions in the first place, the position will be worse than it was before. The analogy that springs to my mind is that of the house possessed by a devil. The house having been garnished and the devil thrown out, it was possessed by seven other devils even worse than the first. I put it to honorable gentlemen opposite, who represent a certain stratum of society, that there are too many people in the community who feel that a ban upon communism will save them from the very awkward questions that are asked of them by their sons and daughters who attend universities and other centres of higher learning. It is the members of families of the persons represented by honorable gentlemen opposite who, by and large, are now being led astray by Communist doctrines. There are many persons who believe that if only communism were banned they would be saved the necessity of thinking about fundamentals in order to provide an answer to the enthusiasm of the young people who protest against the injustices of our present system of society.
I shall deal briefly with the industrial movement. The Australian Council of Trade Unions is meeting and undoubtedly there will be Communists amongst its delegates who will endeavour to persuade the Australian workers that they ought to be prepared to lose wages in a protest against this legislation. I have sufficient confidence in the intelligence of the Australian workers to believe that r.ot for one moment will they consider that the Communist party or any official of it is worth the loss of one day’s p.ny because of this legislation. I say to the Government and also to the delegates to that congress that it is not sufficient for them merely to stave off the attempts of the Communist party to cause industrial trouble over this particular matter. What I want to see and hope to see, and what I think will achieve more from the point of view of defeating communism in this country than all the legislation that this Parliament may pass, is a blast of indignation from the workers of the world, from all those radicals who believe in freedom, directed against the inhuman servitude that exists over a great part of the globe mid that has resulted from the conquest of almost half the world by the Soviet Union.
Government Supporters. - Hear, hear !
– My friends opposite say “Hear, hear”. I hope that they will address similar sentiments to the daily press of Australia which, to return to a constant theme of mine, ha3 consistently failed to drag aside the Iron Curtain and show the state of affairs that exists on the other side of it. I hate and detest communism, above all ‘>ccause it abuses and subverts the loyalties that have been ingrained in the workers by the trade union movement throughout the world, uses the solidarity of that movement as a shield for its dirty work, and has abused all the slogans of the movement so as to enslave half the human race. I have read closely all the literature expressing disillusionment that has been written by people who, having been Communists, have “ given communism away “ and have found the camp to which they really belong. I am convinced that what is needed in this country and in every one of the democratic countries is a consistent, steady and ruthless exposure of the conditions of life in the Soviet Union. There should be no need for anybody to tell trade unionists, trade union officials, or any organization in this country that they should be taking action against Communists. There should be such a holy hate on the part of everybody who loves liberty, freedom and the Christian principles that are the foundation of our civilization £.nd of all that we hold dear, as a result of the knowledge that they should have of the inhuman degradation to which the human race has been subjected in over one-half of the globe as the result of Soviet influence, that it should not be necessary to pass legislation or to tell trade unionists of the dangers of communism. But if not wisely administered and followed up with non-legislative action, legislation of this kind could well lead to the destruction of the trade union movement, which must be one of our most potent weapons in the fight against the “Reds”. The defeat of communism in this country could be achieved by stripping the facade of respectability and working class solidarity that the Soviet Union has attempted to build across itself. Unless this legislation is administered very carefully by people with the psychological requirements for its proper administration it is likely to do more harm than good. I have never had any hesitation in saying that democracy has always had the obligation to defend itself against those who attempt to destroy it. The question at issue in respect of such legislation as this during the recent war was whether the crisis was serious enough to warrant the action taken by the Government. Taking into account the state of the world to-day, the undoubted position that the Communists have been able to achieve in our trade union movement, and the control that they have been able to exercise over sections of our economy because of that position, I have no doubt that there is ample justification for an attempt to smash the Communist party in this country. I still fear, however, that too many people think that the answer to the Communist onslaught on our civilization and on our freedoms and liberties is repressive legislation of this nature which can at the very best represent only a temporary stop-gap measure for the purpose of smashing some particular assault of the Communist party upon our liberties. It is no more than that, and, if it is carried any further it mav represent something that the Communist party might well hope for in this community - an assault upon those liberties and freedoms that we accuse the Communist party itself of attempting to destroy. I put it to the Government that its first responsibility, leaving this legislation aside, the first responsibility of every trade union, of every member of the Australian Labour party and of every member of the community is to realize that communism can be fought, not by Prime Ministers, by Parliaments, and by legislative acts, but in the final analysis only by the rank and file of the people of Australia. If these people think that they can escape their responsibilities by leaving all action to Parliament and can go quietly back to sleep in their apathy and refusal to accept the responsibilities that democracy imposes upon them, then nothing that we can do in this Parliament can stop the destruction of democracy by the Communist party. The ordinary people must realize that democracy makes every man a king and that to he . kins every every man has to accept the responsibilities of kingship. Unless the people of Australia and the rank and file members of every organization, political, social or other, are prepared to accept that responsibility, then we can do nothing effective. I hope that the people of Australia will not delude themselves into believing that this legislation is the final answer to the problem of smashing the Communist attack upon our society, and that they have done all that they are required to do by returning to office a Government that introduces legislation of this natura. The people have further responsibilities beyond this legislation and the trade union movement has a similar further responsibility, which is to arouse that blast of moral indignation that I have mentioned which, directed from all the peoples of the world, must destroy the Iron Curtain, must have an effect upon the rulers in the Kremlin and must inevitably frustrate the attempt of the Communist party to destroy us. I support legislation that is necessary to destroy the stranglehold that the Communist party has been able to secure in relation to some of our key industries, but I put it to the Government that in doing what it hopes to do by means of this legislation it has a very vital responsibility to be careful that it does not destroy some of the liberties that the Communist party is intent on destroying.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title).
.- I should like to know what procedure is likely to be adopted in committee to-morrow.
.- I had a talk this evening with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) about the matter that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) has raised. I understand that the debate in committee will be largely concerned with a few clauses and not with all the clauses, and I had intended to suggest to the Chair to-morrow that certain clauses be taken in a group and that others be taken separately. We shall have no difficulty in arranging for that procedure to be followed.
– I should like to explain that the amendments that the Opposition has circulated include a number of consequential amendments upon which the debate will not occupy more than a few moments. However, there are five substantial amendments that will require considerable debate. I have no objection to progress being reported at this stage.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I take this opportunity to correct a misstatement that was made by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) when he was speaking on the motion for the adjournment on Thursday last. The honorable gentleman said that when I preceded him in that debate I described as “ scabs “ and “ strikebreakers “ the soldiers who had worked in the open-cut coal mines in New South Wales during the coal strike in that State last year. I made no such statement, and in case the honorable member for Henty should deny having said that I made such a statement I shall read his actual words, of which I made a note at the time. They were as follows : -
In particular, the honorable member- meaning myself - characterized as strike breakers and scabs those who were called upon to work in New South Wales open-cut coal mines during the coal strike last year.
After developing other aspects of his argument, the honorable member said -
I very much resent the characterization as strike-breakers and scabs of those soldiers who worked in the mines.
I repeat that I did not make such a statement. I have never made such a statement, and any thought of that kind has never entered my mind. I cannot imagine ever being in such a state of mind that I would in any circumstances describe those soldiers as strikebreakers and scabs in any sense. By making that misstatement, the honorable member did me a grave injustice. Whatever may be my faults, and like other honorable members of this House I have many, that cannot be added to them. If the honorable member will examine the Hansard report of my remarks he will find that what I now say is correct. I believe that he will be gentlemanly enough to offer me an apology for the damage that he has done to my reputation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of the Treasury - W. E. Sheehan.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Postal purposes -
Collaroy Beach, New South Wales. Taverners Hill, Kew South Wales.
House adjourned at 11.5 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 May 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500516_reps_19_207/>.