19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– A request has been received from the office of the House of Commons for a photograph of the House of Representatives chamber for inclusion in abook describing the new House of Commons chamber which will be opened later this year. After consultation with party leaders, I have arranged for the News and Information Bureau to photograph the House while it is in session to-morrow. The photograph will be taken from the entrance to the chamber under the clock at the bar of the House immediately after prayers are read. As it is proposed that the photographer shall be in position when the House meets, honorable members are asked to use the side entrances on this occasion. The photograph will have an exposure of about seven seconds, ending with a flash above the clock. It will be appreciated if honorable members will remain still for that period, the commencing time of which I shall indicate from the Chair.
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! When I put anything of that nature to the House I do not expect it to be greeted with levity.
-Can the Minister for External Affairs report to the House concerning the recent meeting of the Commonwealth Economic Conference on South-East Asia, which was held as a result of the Colombo Conference? If not, when will the Minister be able to make such a report?
– I propose to have a statement on that subject prepared and I hope to be able to submit it to the House next week.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral seen a report in a private news sheet or in the daily press concerning the widespread use or misuse of telephone services by personnel of his department for the purpose of carrying on starting price betting business ? Can the Minister state whether there is any truth in these reports, which deal also with improper applications for telephones and other facilities connected with the PostmasterGeneral’s Department? In view of the lengthy and important nature of the charges that have been made, is the Minister prepared to make a statement in regaid to them ?
– I have seen the news letter and the press reports to which the honorable member has referred. With the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, I visited the General Post Office, Sydney, yesterday and examined the various departments in which these irregularities are alleged to have occurred. Several postal investigators are inquiring into this matter in conjunction with the New South Wales Criminal Investigation Branch arid certain information has been obtained. I hope to inform the House further on this matter some time this week.
– In view of the unavoidable delay in supplying private telephones to great numbers of applicants, will the Postmaster-General give a high priority to the installation of public telephones, particularly in newly developed suburbs and in sparsely populated areas, so that citizens will not be unduly inconvenienced?
– Yes, I shall give consideration to the suggestion.
– In view of the widespread disregard during recent months of the ban on the sale of cream, is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture able to indicate whether it is the intention of the Government to end immediately what is universally acknowledged to be a most unsatisfactory state of affairs?
– I hope to be able at an early date to make an announcement about cream.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Supply a question about the supply of tinplate in Queensland. In explanation, I point out that Queensland industries will require approximately 13,500 tons of tinplate from now until . the 31st March, 1951.. The present stockpile and visible supplies for delivery during that period total only approximately 9,500 tons. An additional 4,000 tons will be absolutely necessary if a depletion of dollar earnings and considerable unemployment in Queensland are to be avoided. The pineapple industry alone in that State nets approximately £2,500,000 worth of dollars a year from Canada, and the renewal of existing contracts depends upon the continuity of supplies.Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give an assurance that all steps will be taken to ensure that the additional 4,000 tons of tinplate shall be supplied even if it means reducing the quotas of non-dollar earning industries in other States?
– I am notsure that I find myself in agreement with all the figures that have been given, by the honorable member. The tinplate situation is causing the Government concern. It is a recurring problem. I had intended to make a statement on the matter last week, but I refrained from doing so because of the restricted time allowed for the discussion of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. However, with the permission of the House, and with your concurrence, Mr. Speaker, I shall make a statement at the end of question time to-day.
– I ask for leave to make a statement on tinplate.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition Members. - No !
Leave not granted.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Air say whether the Government will assist in the formation of glider clubs, and, if so, to what extent? My question is prompted by a request from the town of Dubbo where it is desired to form a glider club.
– The gliding movement in Australia is already modestly subsidized by the Australian Government. The Gliding Federation of Australia has recently asked the Government for an increased subsidy for gliding clubs. The request is now under consideration, and within the next week or two I hope to make a statement of the Government’s intentions.
– Is the Minister for Supply aware that . 22 calibre dust shot cartridges which could be purchased in this country before the war are not now available? Ammunition of this type is most suitable for the destruction of vermin on farms, particularly rats. Retailers say that . 22 calibre dust shot cartridges are not now manufactured.
Can the Minister say why the manufacture of these cartridges has ceased? Oan arrangements be made to make supplies available again ?
– I am aware that there is a shortage of .22 ammunition in Australia, but so far as I am aware, that ammunition has never been made by the Department of Supply or in any of the munition annexes now operated by it. The department manufactures .303 ammunition, and cartridges of several other calibres, but, to the best of my knowledge, .22 cartridges have always been made by private enterprise or imported. I am informed that Imperial Chemical Industries are at present making large quantities for use in this country.
– That is not dust shot ammunition.
– The honorable member may be right on that point. I do not intend, as at present advised, to advise the Government to embark upon the manufacture at government factories of .22 ammunition, dust shot or otherwise. I shall investigate the question raised by the honorable member, and if it is possible to facilitate the manufacture by private industry of the ammunition to which he has referred or its importation, I shall see what can be done.
– I desire to inform the House that Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, head of the Indian Delegation to the meeting of the British Commonwealth Consultative Committee, and the Honorable J. R. Jayewardene, Minister for Finance and head of the Ceylonese Delegation to the British Commonwealth Consultative Committee, are within the precincts of the chamber With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall invite them to take seats on the floor of the House to the right and left of the Speaker’s chair.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar and the Honorable J. B. Jayewardene thereupon entered the chamber and were seated accordingly.
– In reply to a deputation, received by the Prime Minister in Sydney at the week-end, which strongly opposed compulsory military training and all things associated with war, did the right honorable gentleman say that the compulsory military training system at the moment was a “ general notion “ ? As he pledged his party prior to the election campaign to compulsory training as an integral part of its policy, will he state now exactly what his policy is on compulsory military training?
– The deputation which I received at the week-end was from the Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. The deputation had some views to lay before me, first, on the question of military training and secondly, on the question of exemption from any scheme of military training for persons holding the views of the Quakers. I indicated that the details of a national service or national training scheme had yet to be settled by the Cabinet. The Cabinet is committed to the principle. The Government parties said so during the course of the last election. Work has been done in the Department of Defence and that work will in due course, no doubt before very long, be brought to the notice of Cabinet in order that detailed proposals may be made the matter of decision. There is no qualification upon what we said on this matter at the general election, and so far it has been merely the unavoidable preoccupation of the Govern- “ ment with other affairs which has prevented the actual details of these matters from being decided.
– Is it a fact as reported in the press, that the Prime Minister, during his recent visit to Sydney, was entertained at the home of Mrs. Charles Lloyd Jones? Is it also a fact that the women who attended that function wore priceless jewels and mink coats? Would the right honorable gentleman say whether any check was made by the Commonwealth security service to ensure that no Communists or Communist sympathizers were present? Will he also indicate whether, following lobster cocktails and Trench champagne, a general discussion took place amongst those assembled about the Government’s efforts to restore value to the £1, at which much general satisfaction was expressed?
– I do not know that the private entertainment that my wife and daughter and I accept is a matter that relates to my department but, since the honorable member is good enough to be curious, perhaps I may answer him categorically by saying that (a) I did not observe diamonds ; (b) I am no authority on mink coats, but many of the coats that I saw were strongly reminiscent of those that I have seen worn by the wives of members of the Opposition on similar occasions; (c) I had no lobster cocktail; (d) I do not drink French champagne ; (e) I did not see any security officers present ; and (/) I had an evening mercifully free from contemplation of the Communists.
– In view of the everincreasing numbers of deaths and mutilations arising from the use of high-speed vehicles, notably motor cycles, throughout Australia, will the Prime Minister give consideration to the urgent need for setting up a conference of competent State authorities for the purpose of devising immediately uniform ways and means of controlling all high-speed motor transport in the interests of both public safety and public economy?
– I shall discuss the matter with the Minister for Transport, whose department, I understand, has ways and means of arranging such discussions as the honorable member has suggested.
– I ask the Treasurer whether there is any truth in the report that in the near future he proposes to grant company tax reductions amounting to about £20,000,000? Does the right honorable gentleman propose to finance all or a portion of the total reduction by abolishing the subsidies on butter and tea immediately the rationing of those items is discontinued? If not, will he answer “ Yes “ or “ No “ to the question whether he intends to abolish tea and butter rationing for the purpose suggested?
– As the honorable member’s questions are based on wrong premises, no answer arises from them.
– I desire to address a series of questions to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs. Can the honorable gentleman inform me whether it is the general opinion of the master grocers, and similar groups, that the Government is hesitant about abolishing tea rationing because an increase of consumption would possibly follow such action, and, in consequence, the amount of the subsidy that is paid by the Commonwealth on tea would have to be increased? Is the Government aware that, at present,, grocers are able to purchase all the tea that they require at prices ranging from an extra 5s. and upwards per sheet of coupons, which cover approximately 12 lb. of tea? As a preface to my third question, I should like to explain that themaster grocers state that coupons become lost for various reasons. Sometimes grocers deliver tea pending a receipt of coupons, sometimes they forget to collect the coupons, and on other occasions, they either deliver the tea or lose a customer. I inform the Minister that such a statement was made recently and I ask him whether the Government is aware of that practice? As the maximum has almost been reached relative to the consumption of tea, will the Minister indicate when the rationing of that commodity is likely to cease? My final question relates to butter. Is the honorable gentleman aware that boxes of butter can be purchased at the equalization price, and does not he consider that such a position reduces the rationing of that commodity to a farce in certain instances?
– The retention or the abolition of the rationing of tea is a matter of Government policy, and when any decision on it is reached, it will be explained to the House in due course. I shall bring the other matters that the honorable gentleman has raised to the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs and obtain an answer from him.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer concerning the rates of pension payable to residents of northern Australia. The existing income tax assessment law recognizes the principle that people living in the central and northern areas of Australia labour under certain disabilities that are not apparent in the south and a system of zone allowances provides for deductions of £20 in Zone B and £120 in Zone A. Now that pension increases are being considered, will the Treasurer agree to apply that principle to age, invalid and war service pensions so that pensioners living in the northern and central parts of Australia may be placed on a footing more nearly comparable with that of pensioners who live in the south ?
– The question obviously relates to a matter of policy. Any decision on the subject will be announced at the appropriate time.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether some practical use can be made of the Commonwealth Bank’s mounting unused sterling balances, which now total almost £600,000,000, (a) by buying from sterling areas and supplying to the rundown State railways systems all available necessities, such as rolling stock; and (b) by encouraging the importation from sterling areas of machinery, vehicles and similar equipment by foregoing import duties and sales tax for a period of, say, two years. If the Minister does not agree to take such action, what protection is provided against serious public loss if or when the exchange position reverts from political management to the natural law of supply and demand?
– The only way to give effect to what the honorable gentleman speaks of is an extension of government to government purchasing which, I believe, is not prominently in the minds of members of this Government. Increased importations from sterling areas including Great Britain, are allowed to take place at present on the initiative of merchants who are perfectly free to purchase in Great Britain to the full extent that they desire. This Government is allowing items that are in obvious short supply in Australia, particularly items connected withthe building industry and with developmental equipment, to enter either free of duty or at lowered rates of duty. If the honorable member has any items in mind and cares to inform me of any on which duty is now charged that are in obvious short supply in Australia and can be obtained from sterling areas, I shall ask the Minister for Trade and Customs to see whether alleviation of the duty may be granted.
– Is the Prime Minister aware of the alarm existing in Sydney among decent citizens that has ben: created by accusations made or suggested that they are associated with Communists? I refer to (1) the King’s Cross Chamber of Commerce which was recently formed by leading citizens of King’s Cross, and the King’s Cross Advertiser, a local free newspaper which has been accused by the local opposition paper of having Communist party affiliations; and (2) a metropolitan morning newspaper in Sydney, the management of which questioned its staff about their political affiliations, thus causing a great deal of discontent among loyal members of the Australian Journalists Association. Will the Prime Minister indicate what protection can be given to loyal citizens against malicious statements and actions which could destroy their whole means of livelihood?
– It is not my place to offer advice to people in those circumstances, but it is still true to say that citizens have their ordinary protection against the publication of defamatory remarks., It must not be supposed by anybody that that protection is in any sense removed by the bill which will be before the House in a few moments except within the strict terms of the bill. Those terms provide for a declaration by the Governor-General in Council as a preliminary to disqualification from certain particularly defined offices. The moment one goes outside the scope of the bill, people will defame one another as usual and, as I hope, at their own risk.
Publication in Foreign Languages.
– In connexion withthe publication of numbers of newspapers for circulation among new Australians in foreign languages or the languages of the new Australians I ask the Minister for Immigration whether, in view of the necessity to encourage the early assimilation of the English language and its constant use by new Australians, he will investigate the possibility of providing for an arrangement whereby an English interpretation will be placed alongside the articles in the foreign language in each one of those newspapers, column for column?
– I shall endeavour to supply to the honorable member precise details of arrangements now in force for permitting, in circumstances approved by the Department of Immigration, the publication of newspapers in foreign languages. Speaking from memory, I believe that a certain proportion of the newspaper including the editorial must be printed in the English language. Such newspapers are inspected from time to time by the department, which must give its approval in the first instance before the newspaper can be published.
– In the absence of the Minister for Health, I ask the Prime Minister whether he has read a recent newspaper report that common salt injections, the discovery of an Australian doctor, are proving markedly beneficial in the treatment of certain allegedly incurable infantile diseases. Has any expert opinion been obtained regarding the efficacy of the injections? If a favorable report has been received, does the Government intend to encourage the new treatment? If any plans for the development of this treatment have been prepared, will the Prime Minister say what they are?
– I read the report to which the honorable member has referred. I cannot say what investigation has been made by the Department of Health, but I shall at once bring the matter to the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Health, and ask for a report.
– Has the Minister for Labour and National Service seen a report that Mr. R. C. Morgan, a former Communist official of the Newcastle branch of the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia has withdrawn an application to the Industrial Commission of New South Wales for re-instatement in his former job at Lysaght’s Limited ? Can the Minister say whether Mr. Morgan’s action indicates a complete disregard of moral and legal principles which are of great importance to the trade union movement, and whether it also indicates that Communists are more interested in causing industrial disruption than in the welfare of trade unionism ?
– I understand that Mr. Morgan, who had an application before the Industrial Commission in which he sought a declaration that he should be re-employed at Lysaght’s Limited, has now withdrawn that application. I do not know that it would be proper for me to offer an opinion on the reasons that influenced him, but I have read a comment of a critical character by some of the officials of the Newcastle branch of the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia in which they expressed the view that Mr. Morgan had disregarded an important principle on which they had been supporting him. However, Mr. Morgan was entirely within his rights in withdrawing the application, and I have no further comment to make on the matter at this stage.
– A group of very eminent legal men is leaving Australia this week for Manus Island to participate in the trial of certain Japanese charged with war crimes. Can the Prime Minister say whether, in those trials, the onus of proof will rest upon the persons charged, or on the prosecution?
– As in the case of clause 7 of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, which provides for the creation of a criminal offence, the onus of proof in the war crimes trials at Manus Island will rest on the Crown. That is the practice in criminal trials and I am not aware of any proposal to depart from the rule. In other words, the procedure will be precisely the same as that laid down in the Communist Party Dissolution Bill.
– In view of the statement which has been published in the Queensland press to the effect that the rate of recruiting for both the Royal Australian Navy and the Army is far from satisfactory, will the Minister in charge of those two branches of the services make a statement to the House about the recruiting methods that are. adopted by the Government and the degree of success that is being achieved with them?
– I am very pleased to be able to say that the recruiting figures for both the Royal Australian Navy and the Army in Queensland have shown an upward trend in the last four and a half months, and I am hoping that a similar improvement will be achieved in the other States. I have no fuller statement to make on the matter at the present time.
– Having regard to the Prime Minister’s statement that Australia has never been in greater danger in peacetime than it is to-day, will the Minister acting for the Minister for Defence tell the House the actual strength of the land, sea and air forces of the Commonwealth, and their locations, distinguishing those now in Japan; and the number of enlistments to each branch of the services during the last three months?
– I cannot give the right honorable gentleman now the information for which he has asked. I shall supply him an answer to his question at the earliest possible moment.
– Last Thursday^ I asked a question about the production of steel and the supply of coal to the iron and steel industry, and I included a query about the distribution of steel products among the various States. The Minister for National Development answered my questions about the industry immediately, but he omitted to reply to ray query about distribution matters. As that matter is of great importance to Queensland, I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he can arrange for a further investigation of the present position relative to the allocation of iron and steel products which are controlled, and others which have been decontrolled, in order to ensure that the locally manufactured ones shall be distributed on an equitable basis to all States?
– I speak from memory when I say that until about nine months ago, the Commonwealth had some authority in the allocation of steel products in Australia, but since then it has had no control over the distribution of steel products of any kind. Even up to nine months ago, as I understand the position, the Commonwealth made allocations to the State governments, and it was the function of each of them to reallocate its quota among the consumers within the ambit of its jurisdiction. However, to-day, the responsibility for the distribution of steel products belongs entirely to the State governments.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether the Government has relieved or proposes to relieve Mr. Justice Reed as head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization? In explanation of my question, I say that the fact that there were five or six mistakes in the list of Communist leaders that the Prime Minister read in this chamber has occasioned considerable anxiety in the community about the efficiency of the security service, which is presumed to have supplied the Hs-t. There are widespread rumours-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman is going far beyond the proper limits of a question.
– I have almost finished. There are widespread rumours that the Government has removed or proposes toremove Mr. Justice Reed from his present position.
– I am intensely sorry to disappoint the honorable member for Yarra. When Mr. Justice Reed was appointed to the security service he- was granted leave from the Supreme Court of South Australia to accept the position. That period of leave expired at the end of last year or the beginning of this year. Some time ago, before the preparation of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, he was good enough to agree to a request of the Government and to ask for an extension of his leave until the end of June of this year, so that his future position might be considered. He is now with us, during that extended period of leave.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Minister acting for the Minister for Civil Aviation, by stating that a new mile-long runway has just been completed at Pardoe, in Tasmania, which is five miles from Devonport. The first aircraft to land there was a DC3 operated by TransAustralia Airlines, which arrived yesterday. Services to and from Pardoe by aircraft operated by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited and TransAustralia Airlines will commence officially on the 5th June. There is a move to have the aerodrome named Devonport aerodrome. Does the Department of Civil Aviation decide the names of airports in Australia? Is it a fact that the names chosen do not necessarily indicate the cities or towns which are nearest to airports? The airport for Hobart is called Cambridge airport; for Sydney, Mascot; for Adelaide, Parafield; for Perth, Guildford; and for Brisbane, Archerfield. “Will the Minister do his best to ensure that the new aerodrome to which I have referred is called Pardoe aerodrome, because Pardoe has for decades been the name of the distict in which it is situated ?
– I believe that the name of an airport would have more meaning to those who use air services if it were connected with a well-known or reasonably well-known town or city in the vicinity of the airport. I can well believe that the name Pardoe is extremely well-known in Tasmania, hut I doubt whether the majority of the people of Australia are very conversant with it. Devonport is probably known to a wide range of Aus tralians. I have not taken up this matter with the Department of Civil Aviation, of which I am temporarily in charge, but I shall certainly do so. However, I must admit that, for the reasons I have given, I tend towards the name Devonport rather than Pardoe for this airport.
– Will the Minister for National Development say whether the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has entirely ceased its work upon the use of a virus as a means of destroying rabbits?
– The experiments with myxomytosis virus are still being continued, and research work is being carried on at several places in the vicinity of the river Murray. As the honorable member is probably aware, extensive experiments were carried out before the war by members of the former Council for Scientific and Industrial Research but with negative results. However, experiments are being made now in the hope that the information obtained may be applied successfully in certain parts of Australia, notwithstanding that those who know most about myxomytosis as a specific against rabbits do not believe that it can he used with success throughout Australia generally.
– Can the Minister for Immigration say whether the Government has yet made any progress with its representations to the States to pass medical registration laws to apply to migrant doctors on the basis that their scientific studies and the content of their foreign medical degrees will be analysed?
– I am unable to furnish any further information at the moment to add to statements that I have already made. If there have been any further developments I shall obtain that information for the honorable member.
– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service say whether the slow turn-around of ships in this country is regarded by the Government and others as one of the causes of the present high costs of production? Is it a fact that out-of-date machinery for the handling of coal and other cargo is one of the reasons for the slow turn-around of ships? Is it a fact that generally speaking the loading rate of coal in the United States of America is approximately 2,000 tons an hour, compared with 80 or 90 tons an hour in Australian ports ? If those are facts, will the Minister take up the matter with the responsible authorities with a view to providing the most modern cargo-handling equipment so that “we shall not lag behind other countries?
– The Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport has been giving a great deal of attention to this matter in recent weeks. It is true that in the handling of the products of some of our important industries, including coal, and also, I believe, sugar, the methods adopted are by no means as modern or efficient as we desire. However, it must also be borne in mind - and I do not think that any honorable member will seriously challenge this statement - that the rate of handling of cargo by stevedores is much lower than it was before the war. Those are all aspects of one very large problem, which must be solved satisfactorily if we are to cope with the enormously increased quantity of cargo which we have been informed will come into our ports from other parts of the world in the months ahead. Whereas our ports handled only approximately 2,000,000 tons of incoming cargo last year, we have been given to understand that the total tonnage of imports this year will aggregate 3,000,000 tons. It is obvious, therefore, that the efficient handling of cargoes is a problem of the first magnitude, and that its solution will require the willing co-operation of all sections engaged in cargo handling, including the waterside workers, the shipping companies, the industries directly concerned and the port authorities. However, my colleague is giving the matter his personal attention, and we hope that a solution of the difficulty will be found.
– Oan you inform me, Mr. Speaker, whether the airconditioning plant in this chamber has been increased or overhauled since the last Parliament expired to enable it to cater for the larger number of members that now sit in the House ? If the answer is in the negative, I ask whether, in view of the increased emphasis that is now placed on a quorum being present at all times, you will inquire if the airconditioning facilities can be improved so that honorable members may carry out their work in greater comfort?
-In response to a similar question that was asked a few days ago I made inquiries and ascertained that the control mechanism of the new air-conditioning apparatus is set at a certain temperature and cannot be altered. I suggested that we might attempt to cool down the air in the chamber about 9.30 o’clock at night but I found that that would be most difficult of accomplishment. However, efforts are still being made to improve the air-conditioning facilities, and if anything important occurs I shall let the honorable member know of it.
– Throughout Victoria, particularly in the electorate of Burke which I represent, many kindergartens have been built and are being maintained mainly through the voluntary, selfsacrificing efforts of private citizens. Owing to the lack of adequate accommodation in primary schools, children up to the age of five years, and in many instances beyond that age, are being sent to these kindergarten institutions. That being so, will the Treasurer, out of the abundance of the Government’s reserves or from some of the munificent funds from which it is making grants for other purposes, makesome contribution towards the cost of maintaining these institutions?
– The matter to which the honorable member has referred is entirely the responsibility of the State.
– Has the Minister for National Development read reports in the press that last week an explosion occurred while certain persons were drilling for water in the Roma district in Queensland? Will he ascertain whether officers of the Bureau of Mineral Resources are of opinion that the explosion indicates the presence of oil in that area?
– I have seen the reports to which the honorable member has referred. I shall ascertain the opinion of officers of the Bureau of Mineral Resources upon the significance of the explosion. For many years there has heen ample evidence of the presence of oil in the Roma district and, possibly, the officers of the bureau will not have much fresh information to offer. However, I shall make inquiries and inform the honorable member of the result.
In committee: Consideration resumed from the 18th May (vide page 2952).
Clause 9 - (3.) A person in respect of whom a. declaration is made under the lastpreceding subsectionmay, within twenty-eight days after the publication of the declaration in the Gazette,apply to the High Court to set aside the declaration on the around that he is not a person to whom this section applies. (4.)If,upon the hearing, the applicant satisfies the High Court that he is not a person to whom this sectionapplies, the High Court shall setaside the declaration. (5.)If the applicant does not so satisfy the High Court, the High Court shall dismiss the application and the declaration shall remain in force.
Upon which Dr. Evatt had moved, by way of amendment -
Thatsub-clauses (3.). (4.) and (5.) be left out,witha view to insert in lieuthereof the following sub-clauses: -(vide page 2924).
.- When progress was reported last Thursday honorable members had been subjected to the in dignity of being obliged to listen to a most impudent attack that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro(Mr. Fraser) made upon the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). The honorable member reminded me of a small boy poking his tongue out at his master. His attack might have served the purpose that he intended it to serve had he not attempted to deceive the committee and the people by his interpretation of the clause before the committee which he said could embrace many classes of persons besides Communists. The purpose of the clause is to provide means of dealing with Communists, but the object of the amendment that has been moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) is designed to provide a way of escape to those persons whom the Government desires to draw within its net. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro attempted to show that under the clause as drafted innocent people would be drawn into that net. He said that it would be possible for any person who believed in any of the principles advocated by Marx and Lenin to be declared a Communist. That is quite wrong. The word “ any “ does not appear in the definition of “ Communist “. The honorable member knows very well that the persons against whom this legislation is aimed are not those who regard as worth-while a single plank in the platform of the Communist party but those who adhere to the whole pattern of communism. If the honorable member cares to re-read the clause now before the committee he will observe that it relates to any person who was, at any time after the specified date and before the date upon which an unlawful association is dissolved, a member or officer of that unlawful association. The honorable gentleman also misconstrued the meaning of the provisions of clause 5.
– I referred to clause 3, which is the definitions clause.
– “ Communist “ is defined as - a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin.
The policies and teachings of communism are embodied in the practices of the Communist party. The bill prescribes three specific conditions which must be satisfied before any person whom we wish to stop from doing damage may be brought within its ambit. The first is that, within a specified period, such a person must have been a member of an association which has been declared. The second is that he must now be or at a specified date have been a Communist. The third is that the Governor-General in Council must be satisfied that the activities of the person concerned are prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. Before any person may be declared those conditions must be satisfied. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and other Opposition members have suggested that the purpose of this clause is to enable the Government to get at the leaders of the unions. Such a statement is too silly for words. It is true that some of the leaders of the unions are Communists. Apparently the honorable member for East Sydney and his colleagues are under the impression that only Communists can effectively lead the trade unions in Australia. I, and those associated with me, do not subscribe to that view.
– Who has suggested such a thing?
– The honorable member for East Sydney has said that the purpose of this bill is to get at the leaders of the trade unions. The truth of the matter is that its purpose is to get at Communists who hold key positions in unions. The honorable member has also suggested that the Government desires to destroy the leadership of the unions, but, in fact, it seeks only to remove from office Communists who occupy key positions in the trade unions and to replace them by leaders who are loyal to the Commonwealth and to the principles for which this country stands.
– The provisions of this bill will not enable it to do so.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) thinks that such men will not be found. He should go out among the unions and learn for himself, because there are loyal men who are prepared to replace the present Communist leaders. We are attempting by this legislation to deal with- something that is in the nature of a national crisis, and I desire again to refer to the fact that when a state of emergency existed in .this country last year the then
Labour Government introduced a bill that had a provision no less drastic than that regarding the onus of proof which is contained in this measure. The legislation, introduced by the Chifley Government, to which I have referred was the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act, which contained the following provision : -
Where an organization has committed an offence against this Act, every person who, at the time of the commission of the offence, was a member of the committee of management, or an officer, of the organization or of a branch of the organization shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence . .
That provision is not less severe than the provision contained in the present measure. In fact, I do not know that the present measure goes quite as far as that measure did, because the three conditions that I have read to the committee must apply to a person before he will come within the ambit of the measure. A person will not be charged with an offence that somebody else has committed and then have to prove that he has had no knowledge of the offence. He must have had knowledge of it and must have been a participant in it in order to be declared. The attitude of honorable members opposite, which amounts to nothing less than inconsistency, should cease, and instead of putting up a sham fight against certain clauses of a bill that they do not oppose in principle, they should enable us to get ahead with the consideration of this and other legislation. I oppose the amendment moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt).
.- The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) is supremely confident that there is nothing wrong with the bill and that everything is wrong with the attitude taken by the Opposition to it. He has given gratuitous advice to members of the Opposition about what they should do. It is clear, however, that some doubt exists in the minds of some of the honorable members who support the Government, even if there be none in the mind of the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon). If there were no doubt in the minds of Government members surely the honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) would not have submitted an amendment that suggests that this bill should not continue in force for a period of more than one year. That honorable member was a man of standing in the Victorian legislature before he became a member of this Parliament, and he did great service there. Yet he regards this bill so seriously .that he has foreshadowed the amendment to which I have referred. The fact that he has done so cuts the ground from under the feet of the honorable member for Moore.
The clause to which we now take exception gives an opportunity largely for a rehash of the opinions expressed during the debate on clause o, which dealt with the kinds of associations to be declared unlawful. The very valid points that were raised during the debate On clause 5 have equal application in respect of this clause. We say that at this stage, in this period, there is neither reason nor room for a clause such as this. It is idle to compare this legislation with existing legislation such as that governing customs and income tax. I sought to make that point during the debate on clause 5. As I tried to point out then, under the existing legislation to which honorable members opposite have referred an offence must have been committed. That offence must have been established and then the onus lies, not unjustly in many cases, upon the person charged, to prove how he came into possession of certain goods or how he accumulated certain money. Those provisions are quite different from the provision contained in the clause under discussion, and also differ, I believe, from provisions in State acts in which, I understand, the onus of proof is placed upon the Crown. The present provision is vitally different from the provisions contained in the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act that was passed while the Chifley Government was in office. Any government may adopt stringent laws when dealing with an emergency just as we did in that instance with the full consent of the House. That legislation had application to a particular happening. It dealt with particular circumstances and its application ended when the emergency ended. That places it on a very different footing from the bill now before the committee. All that is sought in the amendment moved by the right honorable member for
Barton (Dr. Evatt) is that when a declaration has been made the Government should bring proof in answer to an appeal by a person declared. I believe that Government supporters are under a complete misapprehension concerning these clauses. They say that the only penalty that can be suffered by a declared person is the loss of his employment in tha Public Service or in a trade union. This bill does far more than inflict that penalty. A declaration implies much more than the loss of employment in certain avenues of State or private industry. A declared man would be branded as being an agent of a foreign power and a supporter of an international conspiracy. He would be accused of all the crimes that could be laid against the greatest traitor. Yet it is said that the bill inflicts no disability on him. I say - and I think that the Opposition as a whole says - that the fact of having been declared, whether the declaration is subsequently revoked or not, would place a far greater disability upon a man than the loss of his employment. Because the Opposition seeks to prevent that sort of thing happening on the mere say-so, as is possible, of some disgruntled element in the community, it seeks to have the right of appeal extended and to have the onus of proof retained where it rightly belongs. In existing circumstances, it is almost certain that some completely innocent person will be branded. It would be the easiest thing in the world for some one with a grudge or some one who has been influenced by the hysteria which has been brought about by the times in which we are living to contact a security officer and say that a certain person said or did something on a certain occasion; and the person charged could be declared under this bill and would have to prove his innocence without knowing what had been said about him or in respect of what action he had been charged. That is far too serious a possibility. The possibilities for the infliction of the greatest injustice are far too great to permit of the present clause being retained.
There is a simple solution of this problem. This bill can operate immediately it has passed the two houses of this Parliament and has received the royal assent. At the present rate of progress, that would mean that in the course of a fortnight, if the Opposition’s amendments are accepted, the bill could become an act. As soon as action is taken against somebody under this bill the arguments of the Government and the arguments of the Opposition can be tested. If, after a test case in the courts, the Government finds that it cannot prove a case while carrying the onus of proof, it can come back to this Parliament and say, “ As suggested by honorable members of the Opposition, the Government has sought to preserve the existing structure of legal procedure. It had a case in which facts were cited upon which it seemed clear that the person concerned was a person to whom this bill referred, but it was not possible to supply sufficient evidence to convince the court “. In the light of that experience, the Government could justly claim that it was necessary to pass the bill in the form in which it is now before the House. To-day, the Government brings before the House a bill which it says represents the only way to achieve its intentions. Honorable members of the Opposition dispute that contention as members of Parliament who have a duty to their electorates and as members of a party which has in it3 ranks legal men of the highest standing. They say that there is no reason why the bill would not work if the onus of proof is placed on the Government. They have put forth amendments which are just and reasonable and which, in the opinion of one of the highest legal authorities in this land, will work well in practice. The Government could accept those amendments and, if it was found that they made the bill ineffective, could place the matter before the House at a later stage when the facts were clear and experience had justified its claims and refuted those of the Opposition. It could then ask Parliament to give effect to its present proposals. I think that Parliament should ask the Government to accept that position. I believe that every person who takes a disinterested view of this matter thinks the same as I do on this point.
– The honorable member does not mean that.
– I do mean it. No honorable member in this Parliament can lightly take away from people the rights that have been won through the years unless it is proven that the purpose sought to be achieved cannot be accomplished by ordinary methods and legal processes. I hope that the Government will accept the Opposition’s amendment.
.- The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) has made two criticisms of the attitude of honorable members on this side of the House. The honorable member said that Government supporters are divided in their views on thebill. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) has also made that statement. In proof of his allegation, the honorable member for Perth said that some amendments had been introduced and accepted.
The Government is determined that this bill shall be passed and shall achieve the end that it has set out to attain, which is to smash, as far as it can, the greatest enemy that the people have in this country, namely the Communist party. The amendments which the Government has accepted do not affect the efficiency of this bill. They are minor points which round off a few of the more difficult matters which have no effect on the actual working of the bill.
The honorable member for Perth also says that if this bill is passed a number of innocent people will suffer, not only because they will lose their jobs, but also because their reputations will not be what they were before they were declared. He talks about disgruntled persons with personal grudges who will inform against citizens. The honorable member obviously knows little of how the security service works. I, perhaps, have had more experience of how the security service works than he or most other honorable members have had. Before a charge of any sort is considered by a responsible authority a large amount of evidence has to be brought forward by reputable people or by members of the security service. Sometimes charges are not proven. That happens also in ordinary criminal cases in the courts. Many serious charges such as murder and rape are brought against citizens. Sometimes the accused is convicted, but very often he is acquitted. Does the honorable member suggest that an individual will go through life with a stain on his reputation because of some unproved accusation having been made against him? Both of the criticisms made by the honorable member are unjust and unfounded. This debate is almost at an end. I have been struck very much by some speeches made from the Opposition side of the chamber.
The Communists have two well-known techniques. The first is to blacken, villif y, and bring into contempt, institutions and persons who are hostile to the Communist party. The second technique, and one that is carried out with great efficiency, is for the Communists to say, “ All is well in this country. What are your worried about ? “ They try to lull us, through their various organizations, into a false sense of security byappealing to that very human failing, aversion to facing the facts. On this occasion both those techniques have been developed by honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), and the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin), both tried to bring our security service into disrepute with the ordinary members of the public. They referred to security officers as “ pimps “ and “ common informers “. That technique is now well-known. The honorable member for Dalley and the honorable member for Watson should know quite well the value of the security service to this country. It is a government department. Security officers are carefully chosen. They are trained thoroughly, and at times they run grave risks in the course of their work. So much for the first technique of the Communists.
I come now to the second technique, that of saying, “ Everything is lovely. What are you worrying about?” Here is a case in point: The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said that everything was fine in the world and in Australia to-day. There was nothing to cause anxiety. The fact remains, however, that, having already fought in two world wars, we are now in the midst of a third. This time it is not a war of weapons, but a war of ideas, and in this country ideas that are foreign to our way of life are causing many of our troubles. The weapon of the Communist to-day is sabotage and their aim is chaos.
It is quite obvious that whilst the Opposition says that this clause is being accepted in principle, an attempt is being made to take the substance out of the bill thus rendering the measure ineffective. I do not accuse any honorable member opposite of being a Communist, or even a Communist sympathizer. Far from it. All I say is that they are using the Communist techniques which are designed to take all the substance out of this bill and make it merely a milk and water measure that will achieve nothing.
I do not like the onus of proof provision any more than any other member of this committee likes it. I do not like the extension of the principle that has already been accepted in quite a number of other measures; but we are living in abnormal times and so this is an abnormal bill. We must keep sharp one of the main weapons that we have to fight the Communists. It is true that we have other weapons. We are not relying entirely on the security service. Nevertheless, that service is one of our main weapons, and will he an even more important weapon when the Communist party goes underground as it is bound to do. It is partly underground already, but it will be completely underground when this measure becomes law. The history of communism in other countries, notably Canada and the United Kingdom has shown that the greatest damage is not done by avowed Communists. It is done by people like Rose, Nunn and May in Canada, and Fuchs in England. They were not known Communists, and were certainly not avowed members of the Communist party. This clause must remain as it stands. Officers of the security service must be kept out of the courts and their identity concealed. For that reason I oppose the amendment.
.-I can quite understand the insistence by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) that, from the Government’s point of view, this legislation must be effective. I point out, however, that, in addition to being effective, legislation must be just, otherwise, it will not be in the best interests of the community. There seems to be considerable confusion about the effect of the clause, and to what degree the Government will be hampered by having the onus of proof thrown upon the Grown. Clearly, before a person can be declared, he must come within the provisions of this clause. Any appeal against a declaration will have to be on the grounds that the declared person was not a member of an unlawful organization, and was not a Communist. The reference in the next clause to national security and defence has no relation to an appeal against a declaration. I repeat that an appeal can be made only on the grounds that the declared person was not a member of an unlawful organization, and was not a Communist. A person will be declared because the security service is suspicious, or knows something about his activities which indicates clearly that he comes within the provisions of this clause. A declaration made purely on suspicions would be entirely unjustified. Some concrete evidence would be necessary. If the Government or the security service knows that a person is’ carrying on activities that render him liable to be declared under this legislation, there should be no difficulty, in the event of an appeal being lodged by that person, in proving his guilt. It should be quite within the capacity of the security service to offer evidence of the activities for which the person has been declared. We have had some illustrations from other countries of how a provision such as this may operate. For instance we all know of the investigations that were made in the United States of America recently by the committee that was appointed to investigate un-American activities. It is clear from the work of that committee that mere suspicion can place a person in a most difficult situation whether’ his position in life be high or low. A charge is made that, at some time or other, he was associated, or his relatives were associated, with Communist activities, or that he was seen in the company of Communists. He is put to considerable expense, and suffers embarrassment, and mental distress before he is finally cleared of the charges. This legislation cannot be made effective merely by allowing the fears and suspicions of people to run wild to the detriment of perfectly normal and honest citizens. For two years I was Minister for Labour in a Victorian government. That period of office enables me to indicate to the House the ease with which suspicion can be cast upon people. During those two years scores of anonymous letters were received by my department reporting that certain persons were not carrying out the provisions of the Victorian Factories and Shops Act. My officers found that many of such letters originated from business competitors who had grievances against their rivals and were doing their level best to inconvenience and embarrass them.
– All Ministers have that experience.
– But we do not desire to enlarge that experience by making it possible for security officers to act upon letters which might be sent only for the purpose of carrying on a vendetta or securing personal revenge. We do not want such letters to cause people much unnecessary embarrassment, expense and mental distress. Such a thing should not be permitted. As justification for this bill, two reasons have been given by the Government why the onus of proof should be cast upon the accused person. The reasons are first, that there must be no further delay in dealing with communism, and secondly, that we are living to-day in a period of cold war. On the question of delay I suppose that no political party has retrogressed to such a great extent during the political history of Australia as has the Communist party during the last seven years. In 1943 that party attained its peak of power, but at the present time it has less influence than ever before and it is rapidly losing all that it has left. Last Saturday week an election was held in Victoria. Four Communists submitted themselves as candidates. The electorates for which they stood comprised 105,000 electors in the aggregate. The total number of votes secured by the four Communist candidates was a little over 5,000. Every election, including the recent Queensland election where the only Communist sitting member of Parliament was defeated, has indicated that the political power of communism is steadily declining. It is the Government’s desire to eradicate communism from the trade union movement. During the last two years the trade union movement has taken action in every direction to (depose Communist loaders. On that point I draw the attention of the chamber to the result of the election of officebearers in the Federated Ironworkei’3 Association of Australia, Newcastle branch, the Federated Clerks Union of Australia in Victoria, the Boilermakers Society of Australia in New South Wattes, and in many other unions. The fact is that the trade union movement within its own organization, by use of its own propaganda, has steadily rooted out Communist officials. Therefore, if honorable members will survey the general political scene in Australia to-day, they will see that apart from what may be attempted by the Government, the unionists, by political and trade union action, are successfully ridding themselves of people whom they believe are not working in their best interests. From the standpoint of the layman no doubt exists that the Government is simply cashing in upon the public opinion against communism that is showing itself politically and industrially.
Honorable members have heard a lot in this chamber during the “ last week about the cold war. Listening to the del)ate one would be led to believe that this measure would immediately stop the cold war throughout the world. In fact, the passing of this bill will not decrease the vigour of the cold war or make it one whit less strong or certain than it is at the present time. This bill deals only with a certain domestic position in Australia. It can have no effect in the international sphere, and when the bill is passed the cold war will still continue in Europe, China, and other countries throughout the world. Internal relationships will not be affected at all by this measure. Therefore, in the interests of the community and of justice innocent people should not be placed in a position where they can be subjected to a good deal of distress by this measure.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I have listened with great attention to the arguments of the honorable member for
Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) and the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke). It seemed to me that the case put forward by those honorable gentlemen lost, nothing in strength by the unusually moderate tone adopted by each of them. Indeed, the case that they made out against this provision is not weak because this clause, in a sense, is a negation of what has been regarded for a long time as a fundamental concept of the British justice which is the birthright of this country and of all countries within the British Commonwealth. There is also a great deal to be said in argument against what those honorable members have said. To me, this clause is not easy to swallow, and the reason that I support it is because I believe that it constitutes the less of two evils. I cannot agree with the honorable member for Bendigo that in this country communism is on the way out. I do not think any honorable member believes that to be true. During the life of the last Government a great Communist-inspired strike cost this country £100,000,000. We have only to survey the state of the country during the last year to see how effective amongst us communism has become. In the great trade union movement the proportion of Communist members is negligible. It is said to be 2.8 per cent., I believe. But that shall percentage has seized key positions and has caused a great number of strikes in Australia.. The number of strikes inaugurated by nonCommunistcontrolled unions has actually decreased since the waT, but the number of strikes caused by Communist-controlled unions has increased. Communistcontrolled unions have shown overall increases in the number of strikes in which they have participated. All honorable members know the cost of strikes. They bring hardship to the housewife and to every other member of the community; they cause rising prices, great loss of wages and ultimately a general weakening of our economy. The Communist plan has had a great measure of success in causing industrial turmoil through strikes. I do not see how it can be claimed on any ground that the Communist influence is waning in Australia. If it is, it is because of the threat of this legislation, and the knowledge in Communist ranks that there is now a government in
Canberra, which with the co-operation of some of the States, is prepared to stand up against communism.
The members of the Opposition whom I have mentioned seemed to work on the assumption that, with the enactment of this legislation, there will be a wholesale declaration of people under the terms of the clause that we are now considering. Australia’s greatest safeguard against that sort of thing lies in public opinion. After all, any government could proceed against many thousands, or even tens of thousands, of people under the Crimes Act for allegedly treasonable acts. Why has no government done so? The first reason is that no government has wanted to do so. The second reason is that any such course of action would lead to the destruction of the government concerned in a very short time. The truth of the matter is that this legislation is designed to get at the heads of the Communist movement, the organizers, the really evil men, and I suggest that all honorable members know that to be the case. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) said that he could not believe that the onus of proof provision was really necessary and that the Government should accept the Opposition’s amendment, give it a trial and, if it did not work satisfactorily, revert to the original provision. The honorable gentleman cannot have very much confidence in the suggested amendment if he adds that condition to it. If the amendment failed to work, what on earth would be the good of going back to the original’ provision that now stands in this clause ? By then, the personnel of the security service would be known to the Communists, the Government would have had to proceed in open court, and many very unhappy people would have had to come forward to give evidence. It would be hopeless then to start again with the procedure for which the bill provides. The only way to make the legislation workable . is to enact th»i provisions of this clause from the start and let the people who are on our side know that we will support them in the fight against communism.
I refer now to the situation of new Australians under this bill, a subject that has not been discussed previously. We all know that, despite the measures that have been taken by the preceding Government and by this Government, a certain proportion of Communists is included among the new Australians entering this country. Those people wish us ill amd their loyalties lie with countries behind the Iron Curtain. By the courtesy of the former Minister for Immigration and the present holder of that office I have laid the chance to meet many new Australians. I do not criticize the security arrangements associated with the immigration scheme because it is inevitable that some of the men and women brought here in such a vast movement of population most be politically unsound, just as others are physically unsound. We know that many new Australians are Communists. But many others who come from Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries behind the Iron Curtain are violently opposed to communism. I wish that some members of the Opposition could talk to them, because they know how communism builds itself up and works. I am sure that any honorable member who did so would not long share the complacency of the honorable member for Bendigo in believing that we have nothing to fear from communism because it is dying out in this country. Many new Australians have told the authorities that other immigrants have disseminated Communist propaganda on ships and that certain foreigners or Australians working on the jobs where they are now employed hm done likewise. ‘
I leave that subject briefly to refer to another fact that, as honorable members will realize in a moment, has a bearing upon it. We all know that there is a very sinister inner ring at the head of the Communist party in Australia, and I say without apology that very prominent in that organization are the diplomatic and trade representatives of Russian satellite countries. The organization also includes certain people1, like Thornton, who are in regular direct communication with the satellite countries. The situation of the noi fortunate new Australians’ who arrive from countries under Russian domination is that, if they take any exception whatever to Communist activities in Australia and point out Communists to the members of their unions, their bosses, or the government instrumentalities that employ them, they are immediately threatened by the Communists, who know that they have left relatives and dependants behind them. New Australians should be absolutely free from any form of intimidation, but intimidation is being practised amongst them at present. I know what is happening, and other honorable members who take the trouble to find out will easily discover that Communists, who are opposed to every principle for which this country stands, are bullying, bashing and blackmailing new Australians because they are in a vulnerable position.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I have listened with special attention to the speeches that have been made in support of this clause. Government spokesmen, beginning with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), have generally declared that, if we do not accept clause 9, we prove that we are not sincerely opposed to communism. I completely disagree with that attitude. I recall that, during a recent plague of mice or rats in Sydney, a man offered to hire or sell tiger snakes for the purpose of destroying the pests. Most business people refused to buy snakes and release them. The Prime Minister, according to the argument that he has presented to the committee in his inimitable way, would say that those people had proved conclusively that they were in favour of allowing rats and mice to destroy the goods of Sydney. I admit that Communists are probably more dangerous than are rats and mice.
– And tiger snakes, too !
– They might even be more dangerous than tiger snakes. However, the illustration is clear. I have attended a number of trade union meetings that have been controlled by Communists. One artifice commonly used by the Communists is to submit a motion, the first portion of which embodies a proposal that every good unionist should support, but the second portion of which consists of blatant Communist propaganda. The trade unionist who is opposed to communism is forced to oppose the entire resolution. Thereupon the Com munist press announces that he has opposed the part of the resolution that all good unionists would normally support. Thus, Communists seek to destroy a man’s reputation by telling the community that he is opposed to measures that would be for the public good. The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) has told us that Communists have wormed their way into municipal councils, progress associations and every other sort of organization. Perhaps a Communist has managed to get into the service of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), because it would appear that somebody with a Communist outlook prepared some of the provisions of this bill. It has an exact resemblance to the motions that they put up in public meetings and at meetings of trade unions, for it has an innocuous commencement and the sting is in the tail.
I am not willing to concede that it is necessary to implement clause 9 in order to destroy Communists. Honorable members who support the Opposition have done much to impede the progress of communism in this country and in the trade union movement. They agree with the Government on the dissolution of the Communist party, and the necessity to deal with known Communists, self-confessed Communists and those whose names appear on the rolls of the Communist party and who are in a position to harm the defence or economy of this country. But honorable members of the Opposition believe that in the case of those who are not self-confessed Communists, who deny that they are Communists and disclaim association with the Communist party, the onus of proof that they are capable of doing damage to the Commonwealth should be on the Commonwealth and its officers.
The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) has said, in effect, “I do not like this part of the bill. Only because it is absolutely essential am I willing to swallow it at all. It is a medicine to which I strongly object”. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself said something similar and most responsible members on the Government side have expressed themselves in like terms but the Prime Minister has said, in effect, “ If it were necessary for the security service of this country to prove the guilt of any one, then the security service would become innocuous. Its powers would be revealed. It would become a useless weapon with which to fight communism “.
– The right honorable gentleman said if it was necessary to disclose themselves.
– The right honorable gentleman said if it was necessary for them to go into the open court, and that such action would be necessary if the onus were put on the Government. I deny that. I say that there is no more danger of making the security service helpless in relation to the Communist party and its suppression by insisting that it prove the guilt of those accused than there is of handicapping detectives and constables of the police force and making them helpless in the suppression of crime because they have to prove the crime against the individuals concerned. It would be an easy matter to divide the security service into sections. One would have the job of suppressing the Communist party and dealing with those Australians and others who were doing things prejudicial to the defence or economy of this country. Another section would deal with defence from the point of view of outside aggressors. The members of the section that dealt with the Communist menace would have no greater difficulty in suppressing it because they had to appear in court and give evidence against the accused than they would have in suppressing it merely by declaration. After all, what would they reveal in the court?
– Themselves, of course.
– And because a man reveals himself as a detective, does that mean that all the habitual criminals of the community are safeguarded?
– They are not organized.
– Are they not? They might not be in the Mallee but they are in some parts of Sydney. The organization would have been destroyed mainly by the effects of the operations of the bill upon the known Communists in this country. The others would be more or less isolated people to spread the principles of communism or put into operation the practices to which we object.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The concern which the Opposition has expressed for those who might be innocently caught by this bill is right and proper. Indeed it is shared equally by honorable members on this side of the House. But careful reading of the bill shows it to be remarkable for the protection that it gives and the limitations that it makes. When honorable members deal with this question of those who might be innocently involved, clause 5 (1.) (d) drastically limits the application of the act and under clause 9, which the committee is discussing, there are further safeguards for those who might be involved innocently.
It should be emphasized that a tremendous responsibility rests on the members of the organizations which have virtually been captured by the Communist party to clean out the organizations themselves. This clause shows clearly that every member of an organization has a responsibility to be on his guard always to ensure that his best instincts are not prostituted to make a false front for the Communist party. The way is clear for those who may be innocently involved at some time to start cleaning their organizations now and remove themselves from the shadow of the bill. Several honorable members opposite have raised the point that on the passage of this measure it will be possible for anybody to “ pimp “ to “ inform “ on somebody else who will be declared immediately. Sub-clause (2.) of clause 9 states plainly that persons who are declared must be members ‘of an organization which previously has been declared, but there is an important addition which states that that person must be engaged in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of this country and so on.
– Or is likely to be.
– Quite so, and I think that that is a reasonable safeguard for a Government which is responsible for the maintenance of peace, order, and good government to provide. It is true that the Government has thrown its net wide and is asking for tremendous powers. I ‘suggest that the statute-book is full of powers which governments have never needed to exercise because the availability of those powers by a government would dissuade those against whom the bill is aimed from breaking laws. The Government is not eager to penalize the innocent, but is says very clearly that it is out to track down all those who would destroy this community. That can be done only under such wide powers as these. The community must do one of two things : it must either trust a responsible government to administer these wide powers, or it must take the risk of trusting the Communists. We believe that we are engaged in a new sort of war, and in spite of what the honorable member for Bendigo said, the cold war might easily prove to be the opening phase of another world1 war, unless action is taken to prevent it. I believe that the action proposed by the Government is necessary if we are to meet the danger of the cold war in which we are now engaged. The people of the British Empire have been too easy-going. We should not forget that on two previous occasions we have managed to get through disastrous wars with very little to spare ; and we came so near” to defeat because we refused to understand the nature of the threat that faced us. To-day, we are faced with another serious threat, and we should be f ailing in our duty to the people if we did not do what is necessary to safeguard the future of Australia.
The Government takes little pleasure in bringing down a measure of this kind, but it takes less pleasure in the situation which has made such legislation necessary. No other course is open to the Government unless we are to see sedition and treason flourish under government patronage. Our attitude to this bill must be determined by our appreciation of the situation which confronts us. If we believe that the Communist party i3 just another political party, as the honorable member for Bendigo suggested, that tho Communists merely wish to bring about social and industrial reform, then we shall believe that this bill goes too far. However, the Government believes - and it would be flying in the face all the available evidence if it did not - that th.
Communist party is a subversive, revolutionary movement, that has taken on the trappings of a political party in order to fool the innocent. I trust that it is not fooling any one. Insofar as the Communist party advocates reform, it doe<s so merely to silence opposition pending the day of revolution. Therefore, this bil! is justified. It is true that the onus of proof clause is unpalatable. Such a provision is unpalatable wherever it appears, but it is included in- a number of New South Wales acts, as well as in some Commonwealth legislation, including that introduced last year to deal with the coal strike. If it is, indeed, a departure from the traditions of British justice, it has become necessary because of the great and tragic departure from British standards of loyalty to God, King and country. It would be cold comfort to us if we were to preserve all that is best in British justice, only to find that we had made possible a Communist regime in which there would be no justice whatsoever. I wholeheartedly support the bill.
– This afternoon, the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) said that the Government wanted to remove disloyal persons from leadership in the trade unions. That opens up a very big question. The Government is mistaken if it believes that it can prevent strikes merely by removing from office in the trade unions persons with Communist sympathies. Strikes often occur, not at the request of union leaders, but against their advice. As I have stated previously, the union to which I belong, the Federated Locomotive and Enginedrivers Association, has not been involved in a strike since 1917. On two occasions since then, however, feeling among members was so high that the executive arranged for the holding of a properly conducted ballot of members, and on both occasions there was a four-to-one majority in favour of striking. _ There were no Communists on the executive, but a big majority of the members wanted to strike. They believed that their leaders, who were trying to avoid strikes, were not getting for them the benefits which might be obtained by striking. Therefore, I say that even if every Communist were removed from office in the trade unions, strikes would still occur.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), when introducing this bill, said that it was not an industrial measure. If we could all agree on that point, it would make things a lot easier for trade union leaders. Since this bill was introduced, Judge Dunphy, of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, after hearing a protest against a ballot of members in the boilermakers union, ordered a new ballot to be held under the supervision of the deputy registrar of the court. In this new ballot, which was conducted in a manner acceptable to the officials of the court, one of the persons named by the Prime Minister as a Communist was elected secretary of the union. How can the Prime Minister claim that this is not industrial legislation when it could be used to interfere with the decision of a union as expressed in a ballot conducted under the auspicies of the Arbitration Court? If this legislation is to be used to remove from office every trade union leader who takes part in a strike during the next three years, I hate to think how far things will go. Is it intended to brand as disloyal every trade union leader who becomes involved in a strike? It could be argued, perhaps, that any union official who became so involved was engaged in activities prejudicial to the welfare of the Commonwealth. If that is where this legislation is to lead us, then the Government will eventually have to take over the whole trade union movement. If that is what the Government has in mind, let the Prime Minister say so now.We are eager to do the right thing, and to rid the unions of Communists. In one union after another the Communists are being swept out of office. As soon as this bill becomes law, the Communist tag will fall from those people, and their places in the trade unions will be taken by others who will be much more dangerous to us than are some of the persons who have the tag on them. When that day arrives, what will the Government do ? Will it brand every trade union leader who becomes involved in strike action as a person who is disloyal to this country, and declare that he is not fit to hold an executive position in an industrial organization? If that be the intention of the Government, we are on the way to the establishment of a one- party government, and we are entitled to be informed of that proposal now, and not at some future time. Although Opposition members may agree with the banning of the Communist party as such, it disagrees with the clause that is now under consideration. Yet because we honestly believe that that provision is unjust, we are branded as defenders of the Communists. Trade unionists throughout the Commonwealth are now asking whether the Government plans to establish a one-party administration. An honorable member opposite brought that matter to the forefront, and conveyed that impression to the Opposition. He said that the purpose of this provision is to remove from office every trade union leader who is disloyal. If the Government considers that every trade union leader who becomes involved in strike action is disloyal to this country within the meaning of sub-clause (2.), we should be told of its view.
– The honorable member is trying to whip up mass hysteria.
– The atmosphere in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) introduced this bill was more calculated to whip up mass hysteria than is anything that I have said or done.
– The Prime Minister did not whip up mass hysteria.
– The right honorable gentleman needed to be heralded only by a fan-fare of trumpets to complete the atmosphere. No other legislation in the history of this Parliament was introduced under conditions which were more likely to whip up mass hysteria than this bill was. All that I am doing is to point out to decent tirade unionists the intentions of the Government, as interpreted by the honorable member for Moore. I hope that the Prime Minister will either confirm or deny the accuracy of those statements. If the honorable member for Moore has described the position correctly, Opposition member’s must re-examine the whole ramifications of this bill.
– Do not be hysterical.
– I am not being hysterical. I speak only of matters of which I have some knowledge. If sub-clause (2.) maybe regarded as the guide to what will happen to trade union leaders in future, the Prime Minister should so inform us immediately. “We are entitled to know whether the Government intends to deal in that way with individuals, and particularly with trade union leaders who become involved in strike action. If the honorable member for Moore correctly interpreted the Government’s intentions, the trade union movement would be put back to 1908, when industrial organizations were obliged to hold their meetings in secret. I earnestly desire to know whether ths bill will have that effect.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- The attitude that has been adopted by Opposition members to this clause is remarkable. They are misinterpreting its purpose and are making extraordinarily reckless statements about it. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), who has been the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and has had some years’ experience as a Minister in a Labour government in Victoria, expressed the fear that the Government would act under this clause on mere suspicion. Such a statement, when made by a gentleman who has so much experience as he has, is conclusive evidence that members of the Labour party do not want to face the realities of the situation, as the people of this country see it at the present time. The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) gave his interpretation of the effects of this clause on the trade union movement, and on trade union leaders who might be involved in strike action. He must be aware that the purpose of the bill, and the intentions of this clause are completely clear in every detail to any one who desires to face the realities of the present position. The Government obviously does not intend to use this legislation against the trade union movement. The purpose of the bill is to dissolve the Communist party, and to deal with Communists who hold executive positions in industrial organizations. Do Opposition members disagree with those objectives?
Let us recall some of the events that occurred during the general strike on the coal-fields last year. The then Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, and the then Attorney-General, Dr. Evatt, made strong statements in this House and in the press to the effect that Communists in the trade union movement were responsible for that strike. Both right honorable gentlemen unquestionably based their opinions on the results of an examination that had been conducted by some person or persons, and I surmise - I think rightly - that they considered that, on the information which had been supplied to them, they had powerful reasons for holding those views. If the Labour Government at that time employed the officers of the security service to examine and report on the situation on the coalfields, and if the then Prime Minister and the then Attorney-General based their strong statements about the Communists on the result of those investigations, surely it is possible for this Government to work along similar lines. Every Opposition member seems to miss the point that a person who has been declared under this bill has the right to appeal to a court with a view to having that declaration set aside. We live in times when swift action is necessary, and we must display firmness in this situation, because a threat confronts Australia. But because the Government also believes in justice, it is allowing people who are already in this country, or who may come here later, to appeal against a declaration under this legislation. The Labour party, although claiming to support the banning of the Communist party, and the general principles of the bill - it did not vote against the motion for the second reading - is now doing its utmost to destroy the measure. Some of the actions of the Labour party during this debate should be recalled as often as possible so that honorable members and the people may realize precisely what it has done in the past, and what it is accusing the Government of doing in this particular matter. The Labour party claims to be indignant at the provision in this clause relating to onus of proof, but the same principle was embodied in the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act 1949, for which the Chifley Government was responsible. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr.
Evatt), in his speech on the motion for the second reading of that measure, said -
Clause 11 lays down a principle that is well recognized in legislation of this character. After all, an organization cannot be prosecuted or suffer any personal loss. Under this clause, where an organization has committed an offence against the measure the officers are deemed to be guilty of the offence unless proof is given, in the case of an offence alleged against an individual, that he did not know of it, that is to say that it was committed without his knowledge, or, if he did know of it, that he used due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.
The same principle regarding onus of proof as is contained in this measure was incorporated in measures introduced into the New South Wales Parliament by Labour governments. They are the Textile Products Liability Act 1945, section 5, introduced by Mr. Graham, the present Minister for Agriculture in the New South Wales Government; the Irrigation and Water (Amendment) Act (No. 2) 1943, sections 5, 8 and 13, introduced by Mr. Dunn, the then Minister for Water Conservation; the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948, sections 88 and 95, introduced by Mr. Weir, the present Minister for Water Conservation; the Farm Produce Agents Act 1932, section 6, introduced by Mr. Dunn; the Prices Regulation Act 1948, section 59, introduced by Mr. Finnan, the Minister in charge of Prices Control; the Land Sales Control Act 194S, section 15, introduced by Mr. Weir; the Pastures Protection (Amendment) Act 1949 - which inserted a new section 160a into the principal aci; - introduced by Mr. Graham; and the Economic Stability Act 1946, section 7, introduced by the present Attorney-General, Mr. Martin. A similar principle is incorporated in Commonwealth acts other than the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act, and those acts could have been amended by the Chifley Government when it was in office. They are the Income Tax Assessment Act, the Sales Tax Acts and the acts authorizing the imposition of customs and excise duties. Another instance is the regulations made under the National Security Act. Although the Labour party has said that it is unreasonable and unwise for this Government, which has received a mandate from the people to deal with the Communist menace that threatens this country, to introduce a provision such as this, Labour governments have found it necessary to make use of the same principle in legislation dealing with prices, rents and primary production. I suggest to honorable gentlemen opposite, who are attempting to lead the people of Australia to believe that by this clause the Government is doing something extraordinary, that they should reflect upon their own record.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Eggins) drew an analogy between this measure and the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act 1949. 1 took the trouble to obtain a copy of that act and endeavoured to find the analogous section to which he referred. It does not exist. He suggested that the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act contained a provision closely comparable with that which the committee is now considering. The only provision to which he might have referred is section 12, which reads as follows : -
In any prosecution for an offence against this Act, a payment or receipt, or a promise to make a payment, shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to have been a payment or receipt, or a promise to make a payment, for the purpose of assisting or encouraging directly or indirectly, the continuance of the strike.
The purpose of that section was the limited purpose of preventing the USE of funds of organizations registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act with the object of assisting or encouraging the continuance of the general coal strike.” If payments were made to unions engaged in the strike, unless they could he proved not to have been made for the purpose of assisting or encouraging the continuance of the strike, the organizations and officers of the organizations making them were liable to certain penalties. Surely an analogy cannot be drawn between payments recorded in definite documents and made in a definite period of time for the purpose of perpetuating a strike, and a declaration that is not in the realm of specifically provable transactions. The declaration under this measure will be that a person is engaged, or is likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth, or to the execution or maintenance of the Constitution or of the law of the Commonwealth. The concept of a person being one who is likely to engage in those activities, and, therefore, liable to be the subject of a declaration, is surely in a much more indefinite realm than is a money payment made in a temporary national emergency. The more I hear of customs legislation and immigration legislation, and the more I examine the sections of the legislation to which honorable gentlemen opposite have referred, the more I realize how very slight is the analogy between them and the provision in this measure relating to onus of proof.
The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) stated that the definition of Communist in this measure is not a wide one and will constitute no danger. He made the remarkable assertion - he must have had in mind when he made it the Prime Minister’s second-reading speech - that, under this measure, a Communist is a person who is covered by all the heads in the definition clause. He said that, according to the bill, a Communist is a person who supports or advocates the objectives, the policies, the teachings, the principles and the practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin, and that all these heads will have to apply before a person can be said to be a Communist. The contrary is the truth; the bill uses the word “ or “, not “ and”. The word “ or “ is the qualifying word. The definition in the bill is, in effect, that a Communist is a person who supports or advocates the objectives of Marx and Lenin, or the policies of Marx and Lenin, or the teachings of Marx and Lenin, or the principles or practices of Marx and Lenin. If a person comes under any one of those heads, that is sufficient proof that he is a Communist. I submit that the definition is extremely wide. We have not quarrelled with it, but there is no sense in the honorable member for Moore assuring the Australian community that it is not a wide definition and stating that before a person can be declared under the measure he must qualify under all those heads. The honorable member for Lyne was at pains to assure us that a right of appeal was given in the measure.
He should remember that at an earlier stage of the debate the Prime Minister refused to agree to the inclusion of a right of appeal to the full court, notwithstanding that in a press statement that he had issued some time before he seemed to indicate that he would favorably consider that suggestion. However, the fact remains that the Prime Minister did not do so. The right of appeal conferred by the bill is a limited one, and an accused person who appears before a judge will be hamstrung by having to discharge the onus of proof.
In the course of the powerful secondreading speech which the Prime Minister delivered, he said a great deal about the dangers of treasonable activities. However, in reply to an interjection the right honorable gentleman said, in effect: “ This is not a treason bill. When I bring in a treason bill, it will provide real penalties; it will provide the death penalty “. It is my complaint that, notwithstanding the Prime Minister’s denial, ever since the measure was introduced its discussion has been characterized by the atmosphere of fear that surrounds measures that deal with treason, and that atmosphere is always invoked to justify the imprecision of the definitions in the bill and in the clause that we are not discussing. I repeat that notwithstanding the Prime Minister’s assurance that the measure is not a “ treason bill “, every supporter of the Government who has taken part in the debate, including the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), has said that in dealing with an offence like treason the Government must have wide powers. Because of this apparent, and constant, contradiction, I inquired of the Government during the second-reading debate whether it would not have been a more sensible procedure to introduce two measures, a precise treason bill, and a precise arbitration measure to strengthen the community’s hold on trade unions.
I accept the assurance that this measure will never be invoked against a trade union leader as an earnest of the present Government’s intention. However, it is one thing to accept the Government’s assurance that it does not design to persecute trade unions, but it is quite another thing to assert that this measure could not be exercised for such a purpose. It is quite clear that any executive might decide that seme strike, or intended strike, wag prejudicial, or likely to be prejudicial, to the defence of the -.country, and that under this measure it could “ declare “ the leaders of the union concerned without any trouble at all, and the unionists involved need not necessarily be Communists. When one examines the relevant clauses it is apparent that the attempts made by honorable members opposite to compress the bill into clauses that are precise and definite lack conviction. In conclusion, I am certainly alarmed at the analogy that has been drawn between this measure and measures like the Rational Emergency (Coal Strike) Act, because we find on comparison that there is not very much resemblance. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to emphasize the alleged resemblance in order to confuse the electorate.
.- The speech made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) was a mixture of indignation and alarm. He said a good deal about the definition of communism and quite a good deal about treason. The plain fact of the matter is that the bill, as its preamble clearly states, intends -
To provide for the dissolution of the Australian Communist party and of other Communist organizations, to disqualify Communists .from holding certain offices and for purposes connected therewith.
It seems to me that members of the Opposition have got into the way of reading into the bill all sorts of things that are not actually intended by the Government. In particular, I think that there has been a good deal of confused thinking about the clause that we are now discussing. During the week-end I read a most interesting article by Professor Harrison, Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, who is one of the outstanding legal authorities in Australia. In the course of his article he pointed out that there are many kinds of offences in which it has been found impossible to enforce legislation unless persons charged are called upon to give an explanation. This is, in my opinion, the main reason for the inclusion in the bill of this particular clause. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made it very clear, in the course of his second-reading speech, and during the subsequent debate, that he wishes to get the accused person into the box in order that he or she may be obliged to give evidence. I think that that fact has been substantially overlooked in many of the arguments that have been put forward. I propose now to quote some of the arguments on this clause that have been propounded by Professor Harrison, because he is a much greater legal authority than are most members of the committee. In the course of the article he states -
The usual method of compelling an explanation is to make the charge prima facie evidence of the facts alleged.
That is exactly what the clause proposes to do. The article continues -
This does not mean that a person is convicted unless he proves himself innocent.
Many of the arguments put forward by honorable members opposite have proceeded on the contrary assumption. The article continues -
It is a procedural device to alter the rule that an accused person need not give evidence.
Remember that the main point in the Government’s case is that the person charged shall be obliged to give evidence. The article continues -
It means that if he denies the offence and gives a reasonable explanation of Ms conduct the onus ie shifted back to the prosecution, . . .
I stress the word “ reasonable “. In any event, the onus of proof does not remain with the accused but shifts back to the prosecution, which then ha3 to rebut the accused’3 denial. Therefore, it« is not in accordance with legal fact to say that the onus is placed on the accused person and remains on him throughout. Professor Harrison goes on to state -
To put it another way, it gives the court the benefit of the evidence not only of the prosecution, but also of the defendant, who best knows the truth of the matter. Then on the whole of the evidence the Court decides whether the offence -was committed. This, it is suggested, is a more reasonable approach than the procedure which allows the accused to keep silence. It does not injure the innocent, but it helps to prevent the guilty from escaping.
The Government intends that, as far as it is possible to prevent it, not one person who is guilty under the measure shall escape the consequences of his acts. Professor Harrison then says -
The Government’s amendments to the antiCommunist Bill adopt this procedure. To take the ease of a declared person, the declaration is prima facie evidence that he is a Communist or a member of a declared association. Therefore the declared person must at least go into the witness box and deny the allegation.
The final result will be, not that the Government is relieved of making out its case, but that in making out its case it will have the advantage of cross-examining the declared person.
The foregoing extracts form merely a portion of a very excellent article that appears to sum up very accurately the legal effect of this clause, about which there has been so- much confused thinking.
Concerning the right of appeal, the Prime Minister has made it clear that because of the urgency of the situation which the measure is designed to meet, he cannot countenance the long delays, amounting possibly to several months, which would be entailed in the determination of appeals. The passionate pleas that have been made by honorable members opposite concerning the right of appeal are strangely inconsistent with their own political platform, which includes a provision for the abolition of the right of appeal to the Privy Council, which is the highest court of appeal in the British Empire. Honorable members opposite, particularly the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) also attacked the High Court, which is the highest court of appeal in this country. Yet they have the temerity to advance arguments ostensibly to uphold the right of appeal. With respect to the provision of compensation to persons who succeed with their appeals, a fantastic anomaly would arise if the amendment that has been moved by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) were accepted. It should be the concern of the Parliament not to cause, but to abolish anomalies in legislation, ifr. Drury..
We should always bear in mind that this is an emergency measure .which is designed to protect the liberty of Australians against the greatest foe of liberty in the world to-day, that is, Russian communism. In this matter we are not dealing with a bogy or a political philosophy, or even with a political party, but with a most deadly conspiracy against democracy. Any person who requires proof of the existence of a fifth column in this country need only read the report of Mr. Justice Lowe, who, as a royal commissioner, recently inquired into communism in Victoria. The report on the Canadian spy trials should also awaken us to our dangers. This clause is an integral part of the measure which is designed to deal effectively with those who place adherence to a foreign creed above loyalty to their own country.
.- Supporters of the Government and a section of the press have endeavoured to cloud the principle of onus of proof in order to obscure the dangerous provisions of the bill which offer a threat to vital civil liberties and well-established principles of justice. Despite the warnings of prominent church leaders, university professors and other patriotic and libertyloving citizens who have no political axe to grind and are as much concerned about the welfare of the nation as is the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the Government stubbornly persists in its determination to retain these objectionable features. It does so despite the fact that these provisions are not vital to the main principles of the bill which the Opposition has already accepted. I assume, of course, that the Government’s sole aim is to deal with revolutionary communism and that it has no wish to eliminate all political opposition and thus establish a right wing totalitarian regime. That, however, will be the logical result of the measure if it is implemented as drafted. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has not given any intimation that the measure will remain operative only for the period of the emergency. The way in which the right honorable gentleman has studiously avoided answering the arguments that have been advanced by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) and the scant consideration that he has given to the amendments proposed by the latter on behalf of the Opposition must give rise to serious misgivings among all thinking sections of the community.
Where there is a will there is a way. If the Prime Minister is sincere in his professed desire to deal with communism and avowed Communists only, and does not intend to infringe vital democratic principles, but wishes to keep within the limits that the emergency demands, he should be prepared to consult with the right honorable member for Barton with a view to thrashing out a formula that would be acceptable to the Parliament as a whole. Those right honorable gentlement are two of the best legal minds in Australia. On many occasions they have crossed swords in the courts and in the political arena, but during a previous national emergency they rose above personal and political antagonisms and during their membership of the Advisory War Council pooled their knowledge, experience and great ability in the interest of the nation as a whole. I suggest that they should again get together in an endeavour to settle this issue on the basis, of not who, but what, is right. Alternatively, the Prime Minister should refer these provisions to a committee consisting of all honorable members on both sides who are members of the legal profession with a view to working out a formula that would be acceptable to all parties. I have no doubt that if the issue were approached in that spirit it would be resolved more quickly than the Government would be able to solve it by seeking a double dissolution which, of course, will be inevitable if the present impasse be allowed to continue. Even should the Government be returned with a majority in this chamber, following a double dissolution, it would not necessarily follow that it would have a majority in the Senate ; and in those circumstances it would not be able to make any progress in dealing with the problem. If the time factor is the Government’s main concern it has an obvious duty at least to explore the possibilities of such a solution. It should be relatively simple to protect the national welfare without disregarding individual rights.
The issue now before us, however, goes beyond the question of whether there should be any further digression from the vital rule of law that a person is deemed to be innocent until proven guilty. That is known as the onus of proof principle. That is important only in a secondary sense in this instance, because under the clause before the Chair we are confronted with the more serious problem that individuals may be declared merely by official edict without any judicial hearing or even a hearing of a semijudicial nature.
– Neither before nor after a person is declared.
– That is so. These provisions transgress established legal procedure and the principles of British justice because under them a person may be convicted and punished - and the penalty may be lifelong - without trial or even notice of the charge on which he, or she, is to be dealt with and regardless of the outcome of which an innocent person must be caused irreparable harm in pain of mind and material damage for which no compensation can really be adequate. The Prime Minister, however, has said that no compensation will be provided even in the case of a person who succeeds in his, or her, appeal. That is a most dangerous innovation and it is also totally unwarranted. Furthermore, no provision is made for an appeal in respect of the substantive nature of the declaration, namely, whether the person declared is disloyal or subversive. Under sub-clauses (4.) and (5.) of this clause an applicant must satisfy the court that he, or she, is not, or was not, a Communist or a member of a declared body as defined under the measure. The declared person is not to be allowed to appeal against the declaration contained in sub-clause (2.) which states that he, or she, is a person -
That part of the declaration must remain against the applicant because, as the Prime Minister has said, the security service is not to be challenged in any way as to the source of its information or the ground on which the declaration of disloyalty and subversiveness, or the probability thereof, is founded. No citizen would be safe in such circumstances. If the security service is to be above the law and outside the purview of the courts of the land the very foundations of our democratic traditions will be undermined and the Constitution will be jeopardized. I have no faith in such a procedure or in the infallibiltiy of the security service no matter how honest or zealous its officers may be in their endeavours to do what they may conceive to be their duty. These provisions will open the way to grave abuses and will encourage gestapo tactics on the part of political appointees or doubtful characters who might insinuate themselves into the service when, probably, no adequate check could be made of their credentials and bona fides. For instance, a prison warder at the Long Bay penitentiary was found recently to have had a long criminal record. Persons of that type automatically gravitate into an organization in which they can escape scrutiny, particularly by dealing harshly with political opponents of the Government of the day. Patriotism is the last refuge of people of that kind. If such persons are left free to act of their own sweet will, the way will be wide open for a frame-up of the kind that arose in connexion with the Zinoviev letter that contributed to the defeat of a Labour Government in Great Britain some years ago, or for incidents such as the Reichstag fire conspiracy which brought about the downfall of democracy in Germany and helped Hitler to power. Fantastic as it may seem, such incidents could happen in Australia through the employment of legal stratagems under this measure which could be used to eliminate all political opposition and to establish the one-party State. Whatever may be the shortcomings of our judicial system - after all, it is made up of human elements - the fact remains that our judiciary and magistracy are second to none in the world in integrity, impartiality and fearlessness as upholders of the law and as guardians of the Constitution; and the Government should enable them to remain so. In them is also reposed the maintenance of our ancient liberties and of traditions that have been handed down by our ancestors. This new, and as yet untried, body of secret service police, which the exigencies of the time have imposed on our legal and political system, should be at all times fully subject to the scrutiny and judgment of the courts, as so composed.
A close analysis of the clause shows it to be astutely worded, cunningly devised and dangerous in its implications in relation to our democratic institutions. In view of the fear that exists in the minds of many worthy citizens, the Prime Minister should remove all ambiguity from the bill and devise a procedure that will protect the security of the nation and at the same time preserve the rights of individuals. That could be done by redrafting clauses 5 and 9 in accordance with the established principles of justice so as to provide for the appointment of a preliminary tribunal to scrutinize all cases submitted by the security service for a declaration, and to cite those affected to show cause why they should not be so declared. Such a system would provide for speedy and inexpensive decisions, which are of the very essence of justice.
– Surely the effect of that would be to throw the onus of proof, on the person concerned.
– What I have in mind would adequately cover the matter of onus of proof as well as remove the necessity for many costly appeals to a higher tribunal. A tribunal of three persons, presided over by the Supreme Court Judge of the Australian Capital Territory, Mr. Justice Simpson, who gained wide experience as a former Judge Advocate General, Director of Security and presiding judge of alien tribunals during the war, would meet the case.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I should like to refer briefly to the very singular proposition, put to the committee this afternoon by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke), that the Government should accept the Opposition amendments to this clause and if it were subsequently found in practice that they were in-, effective, and that the Communists were not being brought to justice, it could then introduce another bill. I wonder what attitude the Opposition would take to further legislation on this subject. Would the Parliament be treated to the spectacle of a complete volte face on its part? Opposition members having resisted the effective clauses of this bill tooth and nail, would they then come into this chamber and say, “ What a pity we did not vote for clause 9 in its original form ! What a mistake we made! Let the Government introduce an amending bill in any form it like3 and we shall support it”? Would the honorable member for Perth, with the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) on his right hand and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) on his left, rush forward, like Horatius at the bridge, and support any legislation that the Government introduced in those circumstances?
– The honorable member may count me out.
– The honorable member for Perth said that there was no similarity between the circumstances that existed at the time of the coal strike last year and those that exist at present, and that therefore no analogy could be drawn between the legislation then introduced by the Labour Government to deal with what it declared to be a Communist conspiracy, and this legislation which has now been introduced by the present Government to deal with a Communist caused emergency. In spite of the fact that Opposition members unanimously voted for the second reading of this bill, they are now endeavouring to defend the proposition that legislation of the kind introduced by the Labour Government to deal with a Communistcaused emergency of short duration is completely inappropriate to deal with a Communist-caused emergency of long duration. The Opposition now seeks to appear in a new role, that of an alma mater, full of tender and, may I say, matronly solicitude, for the rights of the individual. Is it not more and more apparent as time goes on, and as this debate proceeds, that what it really wants is the opportunity not so much to defend the rights of the individual as to destroy the effective clauses of this bill? Is not the real role of the Opposition not that of a solicitous alma mater, but that of a very unwilling horse brought at length to water and doing its utmost not to drink?
– I was astonished to hear the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury) express the view that if this bill is passed and a person is declared to be a Communist, all that he need do is to state that he is not . a Communist and the onus of proof will thereupon be thrown back on the Grown. That is not correct, in spite of the honorable member’s claim that a professor of law at the University of Queensland had expressed that view. We know very well that if a declared person should maintain that he was not a Communist he would at once be put into the witness box and subjected to crossexamination, and that if, after hearing the evidence, the court was. in doubt, it would resolve the matter in favour of the Crown. Where onus of proof is placed on the Crown and a doubt exists in the mind of the court, the doubt must be resolved in favour of the defendant. That is one of the essential features of the principle of onus of proof. Let us imagine how easy it would be for an innocent person to be declared, and for the court, not being fully satisfied that he or she had been wrongfully declared, to give the benefit of the doubt to the Crown, and in so doing penalize the completely innocent person. I shall relate a sensational incident that occurred in Adelaide last Thursday night. I mention it in order to give honorable members some idea of what is likely to happen, and of what, indeed, will happen, when this bill becomes law. The facts that I shall recite will be referred to the security service for a check-up together with the names of the persons concerned and the place at which the incident occurred. On Thursday last, between 7 and 8 o’clock p.m., two persons went into a certain cafe in Adelaide and ordered a meal. After having finished their meal they approached the proprietress of the cafe and announced themselves as Commonwealth security officers. They stated that they were there for the purpose of questioning her and making a search of her premises, because they suspected that they were a hide-out for Communists. The woman challenged the two men and pointing to one of them said, “ You are not a Commonwealth security officer. You are an agent for the National Cash Register Company”. He said, “ Oh, no, I’m not “. His companion said, “ No, he is not, he is in the Commonwealth security service now “. They then followed the woman into the kitchen, looked round, and from there followed her back into the shop. They followed her behind the counter, and one of them, in a clumsily familiar way, put an arm round her and said, “ Please co-operate with us”. I intend to demand that the security service shall investigate this matter so that we shall know just where we are going.
– Did the men produce any authority?
– The woman said, “ Where is your authority ? They then produced a typewritten document of eight or ten pages and showed her one paragraph, which she read. Sh, found that it was couched in official language, and gave to the bearer the right to question and to search any premises. They then asked where the manager was, and named him. The woman said that she did not know. One of the men asked, “ Why don’t you know where he is? “ She replied, “ I cannot answer that question either “.” One of the men then said, “ He has not been about lately?” She said, “That is true”. I understand that for the last three weeks or so he has been working somewhere. Turning to a new Australian who worked there, the man ?aid, “What is your name?” The new Australian gave his name. I shall give it to the security service in due course. The nian then asked, “Where are your registration papers ? “ The new Australian produced his papers. The man looked at him and said, “ You have changed your address recently. Why isn’t the change of address shown on this registration paper ? Do it at once ! “ The new Australian said, “ Oh, no, I would not do that because I was instructed that the Commonwealth Employment Office or the Immigration Department, I cannot remember which, is the only department that is permitted to make any entry on my registration paper. I was warned against making an entry on the registration paper or permitting any one to make an entry on it.” The men thereupon confiscated the paper and took it away with them.
The next morning the man whom the woman had identified as an agent for the National Cash Register Company returned to the shop while the manager was there. He said, “ I have come back to apologize. Neither of us is a Commonwealth security officer. We only did it for a joke. We were just having a little bit of fun. What about accepting a bundle of gladioli from me and forgetting the whole incident? For goodness’ sake don’t report it to the police, or I will lose my job “. To the man whom he and his companion had accused of being a Communist, he said, “How about having a drink with me ? “
– What has this to do with the bill?
– It shows what kind of gestapo is being established under the bill. That is exactly what happened. The Government is going to establish a gestapo, which will mean that innocent people will be challenged by galoots and clowns who will walk into buildings at all hours of the night claiming to have a right to search them and to make inquiries. What I want to know, and what the country wants to know, is whether these men were security officers or not.
– Who were they?
– I know the name of one of them. Were they security officers, and, if so, did they have authority from this Government to make a search of that place even before this bill has been passed? Is their behaviour to be taken as an example of the behaviour that we can expect from the security service if this bill become law? Alternatively, if these men are not members of the security service, what guarantee does this bill give against similar people acting in such a manner in the future? The position is simply that we are fast reaching a stage of dictatorship and a totalitarian form of government in this country, which, unless the people-
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I was very interested to hear the description of the incident in Adelaide that was given by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). I draw the honorable member’s attention to section 75 of the Crimes Act, and in the light of what it provides I ask him to see that justice shall be done in connexion with the matter. That section states -
Any person who -
personates any Commonwealth officer on an occasion when the latter is required to do any act or attend in any place by virtue of his office or employment; or
falsely represents himself to be a Commonwealth officer, and assumes to do any act or attend in any place for the purpose of doing any act by virtue of his pretended office or employment, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: Imprisonment for two years.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) told us a long and amusing story which he attempted to use as an argument to show what might happen if this bill becomes law. Other more serious comment that has come from honorable members opposite has struck me because of its inconsistency. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke), said that there were still doubts in the minds of Government supporters regarding this legislation. I say clearly now that I have no doubt about it. Honorable members opposite have advanced all sorts of arguments against the bill, among which is the argument that it will give the Government power to declare members of the Labour party. Yet those honorable members voted for the bill. This is especially hard to understand in view of what the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) had to say. I rebut the criticism that they have levelled at the Treasurer. They have wrongly stated that he has tried to show that the Labour party was Communistic. What the right honorable gentleman did was to read from the respective platforms of the Australian Labour party and the Communist party. By doing so he showed conclusively that many of the principles, aims and plans enunciated in those two platforms were identical. He did not say that the Labour party should be declared, but rather conceded that whilst the Communists aimed at achieving their objectives by revolutionary means, the Labour party proposed to achieve its objectives by constitutional means. Now that the matter has been raised I should like to say that the Labour party needs to mend its ways because its objectives are the same as those of the Communist party. At some time in the distant future, perhaps a century or half a century hence, or perhaps even after the next general election, the policies of the Labour party and of the Communist party will converge and become one. I make that statement because the ultimate objective is identical. They both hope to arrive eventually at the same result, which is the socialization of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Complete socialization and democracy are incompatible. They cannot work together now, nor will they so work even a century from now.
The honorable member for Perth suggested that a time limit should be placed on the operation of the provisions of this bill. He also cited the honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) as having said this although there is no record of it. I do not agree that there should be any time limit on it for the reason that when the Labour party does arrive at the golden age which it has foreshadowed the provisions of this bill will then take care of it. The Labour party should seriously consider making changes in its platform and eliminating that objective which brings the two parties into line - the plan of complete socialization.
– The honorable member must not pursue that line of debate. The committee is not considering socialization. It is debating the declaration of unlawful organizations.
– The clause deals with the declaration of individuals rather than organizations, but I must direct attention to the risks that exist and answer the criticisms that have been voiced. Many Labour leaders have shown by their actions that they have definite sympathies with the Communist party. There has been plenty of evidence during this debate and there was a very practical demonstration in Queensland during the May Day procession this month in which the Premier of Queensland marched in line with Mr. Healy, a man who was named by the Prime Minister during his second-reading speech. The Deputy Premier, Mr. Gair, and Mr. Dawson, another man who was named by the Prime Minister, marched in the same procession. Surely this suggests that there is at least a friendship between these people. It reminds me of the old saying that if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. I suggest that as a useful analogy of what the Labour party is doing with the Communist party.
Honorable members of the Opposition have said that certain planks in the Liberal and Australian Country parties’ platforms correspond with Communist policy and there therefore those parties can be declared. That statement is absurd. As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) has sought to give some sort of explanation of what communism is, I should like to answer him by saying that democracy is unlike communism because under a democracy, all the directions do not come down from a few political commissars. The essential difference between democracy and communism is that democracy is not doctrine, but intelligence; it is not authority, but reason; it is not cynicism, but faith in man and faith in God. Those are the essential differences between the two. Democracy’s strength lies in the pursuit of truth by men who are free.
By ignoring the presence of a fifth column in our midst and the fact that a state of emergency exists at the present time honorable members of the Opposition are making the possibility of future war a certainty. While listening to honorable members of the Opposition I was reminded of the remark attributed to a French premier, that if at the age of 21 years his son was not a Communist he would be disappointed ; but if, at 30 years of age he was still a Communist he would disown him. Communism arouses the interest of some of our young people because of their natural and wholesome curiousity, but because of their inexperience it is inadvisable to expose them to Communist ideas. The risk entailed
Ifr. Charles Russell. in exposing them is too great. These young people cannot see the difference between the idealistic words of communism and its stark reality. For that reason such organizations as the Eureka Youth League should be banned. The amendments that have been suggested by the Opposition have been produced with the sole idea of drawing the teeth out of this bill.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.-Whilst the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Charles Russell) may have understood what he was talking about, I am sure that no other honorable member in this chamber has any idea of what he meant to convey. He discused everything except the clause, and if all his utterances were on a par with those that we have been compelled to listen to this afternoon, I would say that if he had a little more sense he would just about be a half-wit.
– Order ! The honorable member will cease from making unparliamentary remarks and will withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw the statement. I do not, therefore, propose to devote any of my time to answering the honorable member for Maranoa. I want to refer to the most remarkable speech that was made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on this clause last Thursday night. The right honorable gentleman then told this committee that Australia was experiencing a state of national emergency and that a cold war was going on. He inferred that there might soon be a shooting war. Consequently, he came to the conclusion that the state of emergency required urgent and drastic steps to be taken against Communists and any one else who might be tainted by communism. He explained that because of the necessity for that urgent action he could not agree to accept the amendment which provides for observance of the ordinary processes of British justice but had to transfer the onus of truth from the Crown to the accused person. He then made the remarkable statement that when an individual appealed under the provisions of this clause and the judge was unable to make up his mind whether he was guilty or innocent the benefit of the doubt must be given to the Grown. Even in the state of gravest emergency, under our Constitution and om* system of law, such a contention could not be accepted. No clause should be placed in a bill in order to ensure that the benefit of the doubt shall be given to the Crown.
The Prime Minister went on to explain that because of the existence of a state of emergency what he had proposed should be put into effect but that he would not provide that the treasonable persons to whom he referred should be placed behind barbed wire in concentration camps or in gaols where they might not do any damage to this country. He said that they all were going to be left at large although they would be prevented from continuing their activities in the Communist party or its affiliated bodies; the only punishment that he contemplated would be inflicted on persons who happened to be employed in the Commonwealth Public ‘Service, and those who happened to hold official positions in certain industrial organizations, who would be dismissed. They are to be allowed to remain at large, to accept other positions, and to continue organizing, underground, against the Government, and against the people of this country. If we are in the state of national emergency to which the Prime Minister referred last Thursday night when he tried to cause panic in this committee and amongst the people of Australia, the penal provisions of this bill should be quite different from what they are at present. If we are in immediate danger of invasion or of being forced from a cold war into a shooting war, we should be taking steps to ensure that potential traitors shall be placed where they cannot do any damage to this country or to its people. Further than that, the Government should be re-organizing our fighting services. We were told by the Prime Minister earlier to-day in answer to a question that the Government had not been able to give much attention to the introduction of compulsory training because its time had been taken up largely with this legislation. That answer was a direct contradiction of the panic statement that the right honorable gentleman made in this House last Thursday night. How can the two statements be reconciled ? The only conclusion I can arrive at is that we are not in a state of national emergency, and that there is no reason whatever why innocent people should be forced to prove their innocence before a court, and be denied the right of further appeal. The Prime Minister and several of his colleagues are prominent members of the legal profession. Press reports in the last few years have indicated that quite a number of members of that profession are also prominent members of the Communist party. One of them frankly admits his association with the Communist party. There will be no difficulty in declaring him under this bill. He is the secretary of the Communist party in Victoria. I have yet to learn that the Prime Minister or any of his legal associates proposes to take any action to rid their profession, which is supposed to be and I am sure is, an honorable profession, of the menace of communism within its own ranks. There is no provision in this clause or any other clause for action to be taken against Communists in the legal profession. The British Medical Association also includes a number of prominent Communists. One of them contested the recent Victorian general election, and several contested the last federal general election. There will he no need to declare them under this bill ; they have already declared themselves; but I cannot find any provision in this clause for action to be taken against them. I sometimes wonder whether the Communist members of the medical profession were behind the refusal of the British Medical Association to co-operate with the Labour Government, and thu3 prevented the introduction of that Government’s free medicine and free medical service schemes. It seems to me that the Prime Minister could well investigate both the legal profession and the British Medical Association to ascertain whether action is desirable against Communists in their ranks. This measure appears to me to be aimed at a few poor unfortunate individuals who are unable to protect themselves.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- We have heard frequent references to spyhunts in the course of this debate. In particular, the attention of the committee has been directed to the investigation of un-American activities in the United States of America. I deplore such tactics, as all honorable members on this side of the chamber do, but there is a point that I should like to make clear to the committee. Heresy hunts were carried out in Russia in the 1930’s, and as a result approximately 2,000,000 people disappeared. The distinction between what happened in Russia and what happened in America is clear. America is a democratic country, and as a result of the investigations a few people may have been, left without their reputations, but at least they were alive. In Russia, the victims may have retained their reputations, but they were most decidedly dead. We should keep both sides of the picture in mind. Some honorable members opposite, in support of their argument that this measure infringes human liberties and civic rights, have quoted statements by people who lived at a time when political and economic slavery was tolerated. The common conception of what constitutes human liberties and rights alters as the world progresses. It is about time that we considered what we mean by human liberties and rights. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson), by a process of reasoning which was followed only by himself, reached the conclusion that there was no state of emergency to-day. Every member of this committee is aware that the real problem to-day is not what we call the cold war or the state of emergency. The real problem that we face is a new technique of destruction that is based on the methods of this century. I refer to character assassination, sabotage, and political and industrial blackmail. It is against that new method of destruction that this bill is aimed.
The honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Eggins) mentioned quite a number of similar acts which place some restriction on what have been called human rights. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) spoke at some length to show that those acts were designed to deal with special emergencies such as the coal strike, and particular evasions of the law such as those envisaged in the customs acts. Society, in every age, has made those laws which it has found necessary for its own protection. We can talk about the restriction or the extension of human rights, but quite bluntly the truth if that every society in every age has made the laws which it believed to be necessary to protect itself. The world is now facing a new technique against which many of the old forms of law are ineffective. That has been proved by voices even louder than that of the honorable member who has been so persistently endeavouring, to interject (Mr. Curtin). It has been proved in other countries where the technique has not been practised to a greater extent than it has in this country, but where it has been brought out into the light. The onus of proof clause is a simple and precise statement. It says that this provision is designed to bring out of the shadows into the bright light of the witness box those who habitually carry on in darkness their work of sabotage and destruction.
– Tell the chamber .something about pimps and informers.
– One of the most significant aspects of this debate is that which shows that the Communist technique of character assassination is spreading widely. When honorable members hear in this chamber, as they heard just then by way of interjection and as they have previously heard during the debate on this clause, the words “ pimps “, “spies “ and “ informers “, used by honorable members who represent large sections of public opinion, about a body of men of whom they have no knowledge that would qualify them to make any statements at all, they must realize how trivial are the claims of those honorable members to have fought communism. The fact isthat they are still influenced by the Communist techniques and are doing the Communist’s job for him by endeavouring to destroy the institutions of democratic government. It is a saddening and dangerous thing with which we are faced, but it is real and menacing. If something can be done by this bill to halt the sweep of the dark and dangerous movement that has come from the East, then the measure will well justify its existence.
The matter of the restriction of human liberties, when looked at in the light of reason, has no relevance to the consideration of whether or not the Government has departed from the principles of British justice. The principles of British justice always have been and always will be applied for the purpose of preserving and maintaining free British institutions.
Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m.
.- The clause which the committee i9 discussing deals with the declaration of Communists and members of unlawful associations, and the Opposition has proposed an amendment to it. Supporters of the Government, from the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) down, have tried to misrepresent the attitude of the Opposition towards this measure as being indicative of weakness. They have declared repeatedly that we are inconsistent in proposing amendments at the committee stage because we agreed to the second reading of the bill without a division. That is a specious argument because we have dealt not only with amendments that have been submitted by the Opposition but also with amendments that have been moved by the Prime Minister, The honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) has also foreshadowed an amendment. The Opposition stated its attitude to the bill with perfect clarity when the measure was introduced, and it has adhered consistently to that attitude. We have no objection to the banning of the Communist party and the confiscation of the party’s assets, but we insist, with all the power at our command, that the ordinary procedures of law should be observed in relation to the declaration of individuals. We argue that the end does not justify the use of any means. Proper means must be used. The justice of our argument has been demonstrated by the fact that, although the Prime Minister declared at the outset that he would not compromise on this issue and would not accept amendments to the bill, he has since done so. His acceptance in principle of some of our amendments has vindicated our attitude. The Government has not departed from the stand that it took on the provision relating to onus of proof, but it has modified its original decisions on other aspects of the measure. Its supporters have taken us to task, but many of them will be obliged to do some careful explaining in order to justify their own approach to the measure. Many of them have made irresponsible statements.
One honorable member to-day attacked countries with which Australia has established diplomatic relations and declared that their offices in this country were being used for the purpose of espionage and sabotage. That was why he supported the bill, he said. If so, why is. he not prepared to go further than the Government contemplates in this measure? If the objects of the measure are as the Government has stated them to be, why does it maintain diplomatic relations with the Union pf Soviet Socialist Republics, and why does it continue to allow the export of large quantities of wool to Russia? Last Thursday night the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) asked the Prime Minister by interjection why, in view of his definition of “ cold war “ and “ hot war “, he permitted the large-scale exportation of wool to Russia to be continued. The right honorable gentleman turned the question aside in his own inimitable fashion and facetiously asked the honorable member whether he suggested that water be exported to Russia. The fact is that, although the right honorable gentleman has declared that there is absolutely no difference between a cold war and a hot war, Australia to-day is exporting wool to the Soviet Union on a scale that will enable that country to perpetuate the cold war. Russia to-day ranks fifth on the list of countries to which Australia exports wool. In 1948-49 it bought 41,000,000 lb. of our wool for £11,375,000. During the year that ended on the 31st March, 1950, it bought 28,000,000 lb. of our wool for over £9,000,000. Wool is one of the first requirements for the pursuit of war, whether it be a cold war or a hot war. Members and supporters of the present Government took the Chifley Government to task for permitting what they described as the free movement of Communists in and out of Australia. Now that they are in power why do they, who formerly were so vociferous, allow Communists to enter and leave the country without hindrance? Many topranking Communists have left Australia during the last two or three months. The bona fides of the Government on this issue merit very careful examination. I repeat that the attitude of the Opposition is clearly defined. We have always been implacably opposed to communism and we offer no objection to the banning of the Communist party, but we say that the ordinary traditions of law and justice should be upheld in dealing with that organization. I ask members of the Government to explain why they are maintaining diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, why they are permitting large quantities of wool to be exported to that country, and why they are allowing Communists freedom of movement in and out of Australia.
– Two members of the Opposition this afternoon made statements that ought to be answered. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), with an air of sweet reasonableness, made some propositions that I do not think any honorable member could seriously accept. For the purposes of illustration, the honorable gentleman spoke of anonymous letters that he had received when he was a Minister of the Crown in Victoria. His purpose was to suggest that the Government would act on information supplied anonymously when declaring persons under the clause that the committee is now discussing. He did not reply when I asked him by interjection whether he had acted upon the information supplied in those letters, and I do him the credit of saying that I have not the slightest shadow of doubt that he is not the sort of person who would act upon anonymous letters. Having said that, I think that the honorable member might be prepared to pay the same compliment to the Government. It would not be so irresponsible as to do anything of the sort. The clause will not operate in that way.
The second proposition put forward by the honorable member for Bendigo seems incredible. He insisted that the Com munist party and its influence were receding in Australia because at the last general election only so many votes were cast for the Communist candidates. He omitted to speculate as to what the total number of votes for Communists would have been had there been a Communist candidate in each of the 123 electorates in Australia, and did not say which way the votes of those people who are secretly Communists were cast in the electorates where no Communist candidates stood for election. For anybody to suggest that communism is no longer a danger in this country is so fantastic that it does not require to be contradicted.
Speaking of the onus of proof, the honorable member for Bendigo said that the Government would have no difficulty in proving its case if it had solid evidence and he suggested that the onus should be on the Government to proceed in those circumstances. What about various enterprises of a defence nature which were undertaken by this Government and by the Labour Government which preceded it? Is it suggested that the rule should be applied to the various scientific enterprises which have been regarded by this Government and previously by the Labour Government as necessary for the protection of this country? Are they to be exposed to the same tests? Are we to disclose in proceedings the source of the Government’s information and the people upon whom it relies? If the Government were to follow that course, those enterprises which are so essential to the safety of Australia would be exposed immediately to the Communists and their secret agents and to the spies who are Communist sympathizers. What a Roman holiday it would be in the case of every appeal if the onus were cast on the Crown and the Crown witnesses had to go into the witness box, not merely to tell their story, put a document in or express an opinion, but to give legally acceptable evidence, with chapter and verse, for the information on which they relied. They would have to be cross-examined and not merely on some narrow line. The limits to which a witness can be examined in the witness box are as wide as a barn door and as high as a church steeple. To suggest that the Crown should be put in that position in matters which vitally affect the security of this country is incredible. It is precisely on that basis that the Labour Government cast the onus of proof upon the defendants when it introduced the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act in 1949. If the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) were able to speak his mind, I know that he would acknowledge that the circumstances which compelled him in 1949 to bring down that bill and cast it in that form are equally compelling in the circumstances connected with the measure now before the committee.
The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) said that there was something of a star chamber nature about the proceedings which would take place on appeal against declaration. He said that a man could be charged and be denied justice without knowing what had been said against him and by whom. The suggestion is that there would be something secret about it. I remind those honorable members who have drawn an analogy between the proceedings proposed in this bill and those that took place in war-time against interned aliens that the war-time proceedings were secret whereas those proposed in the bill would be in open court. That is the greatest protection that can be given to justice in this country. For centuries past English law and procedure have proceeded on the basis that the best safeguard for justice is to provide for judicial proceedings to take place where there is publicity and where members of the public can attend and form a judgment. The proceedings proposed in this bill would be conducted before High Court justices whose lives have been dedicated to the principles of English justice and who have been brought up in those traditions. Is it to be suggested that there is really any comparison between the sort of proceedings referred to by some honorable members opposite and those proposed under this bill? It cannot be so.
Some honorable members have assumed that the officers who would give information to the Australian Government would act dishonestly, maliciously and recklessly. All of the men involved were appointed to the security service by the Chifley Government. Now it is suggested that whereas they were paragons of virtue when appointed twelve months ago, in present circumstances they will act maliciously, dishonestly or recklessly. I repeat the words of the late Sir Isaac Isaacs : -
A nation has the strongest right to trust its executive officers who are administering the law, to be both viligant and careful to proffer wherever necessary a fair and honest prima facie opinion and to accuse no one of intrusion except on strong moral grounds for believing the fact.
– -Why have any courts at all?
– The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) accepts the words of Sir Isaac Isaacs and apparently believes that it is not necessary to have a court. Yet when the Government proposes to give additional protection by providing a court he will not have it. Let me quote Sir Isaac Isaacs again -
If such an opinion, however, exists, the public have the right where the nature of the case requires it, to call on the suspected person by such procedure as the legislature makes lawful, to satisfy a judicial tribunal as to the actual fact.
There is a further safeguard in this bill. Those officers of the Commonwealth will offer what I suggest is honest and bona fide information, and they will pass that information on to the government of the day. Is it suggested that the Cabinet as a whole would act recklessly, maliciously and dangerously? Of course not, and there is a very good reason which was mentioned by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) this afternoon. Public opinion would be a safeguard. Governments do not act that way, but if they do, the people find out about it and there is a change of government. The democratic ways of this country provide a complete reply to that suggestion. How would this proposal work out in practice? The Government would get grave information from some source involving an individual. That information would come from its security officers, who are honorable public servants. It would be passed to the Cabinet and the government of the day would act upon it.
.- After the attempt of the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale) to clarify the position, his supporters must be left in some doubt about the validity of this clause. This afternoon, the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury), and the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Charles Russell) successively admitted some perplexity, and made charges concerning the attitude of the Labour Opposition to the clause. The hour and the opportunity is appropriate to traverse the reasons behind our unyielding resistance to this clause. There are three reasons why the Labour party opposes it, and supports the amendment. First, the clause places the onus of proof on the accused. It subedits the terms of democracy, infringes the four freedoms, and fractures the universal charter of human rights.
Secondly, since all power to deal with communism has been given elsewhere in the bill, this clause is altogether too savage a provision to deal with “ dilutee “ Communists who, according to the evidence, are dying on the vine. It smacks of the hateful German People’s Court. It proposes to give fascist justice to British people who have given the widest British justice to German and Japanese war criminals. Even members of Hitler’s infamous S.S. Guard were not condemned cut of hand simply because they were members. Before the court moved against them it was necessary for them to be proven guilty of the knowledge that the organization aimed at the destruction of freedom and human liberty, and that it perpetrated violent actions against the people.
The third reason why we oppose the bill, and this clause in particular, is that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) appears to be suffering from a pathological fear of communism, and is not at this stage to be trusted as a democrat. As this debate has proceeded, it has become evident that the- obnoxious clauses of the bill are not meant to ban the associates of Communists but are, in effect, a dagger aimed at the very heart of trade unionism itself, and at its more outspoken leaders. This clause is the ugly sister of clause 5. It is the misbegotten child of cold war out of capitalism. It is the grandchild of tyranny.
The belief that this clause is a monstrosity is shared by people other than those on this side of the chamber. Bishops, newspaper editors, lawyers, professors and all liberty-loving people have flooded the columns of the newspaperswith protests against the infringement of personal liberty for which this clause could be responsible. The Minister for Supply spoke of trusting the Government - this new Government, this foundling, this thing that was left on the doorstep of the people by accident. Although the Government has been in power for only a few short months, we already have sufficient reason to mistrust it. The Prime Minister, speaking on the second reading of thisbill, named certain well-known Communists who were likely to be declared, and he then made a gaff which hasseriously worried the people. He dwelt on each name with great care, and indicated that the men who were named would be the first to be dealt with. He suggested that they were known and avowed Communists; that they were so steeped in infamy that their names were kept in a special asbestos file of the much-vaunted, farflung, all-pervading, lynx-eyed and infallible security service. They were the crime de la creme of the Communists. A few days later, the Prime Minister was back in his place full of flustered apologies. Three at least of the men named by him, and perhaps five, bad been mis-called. The alleged fact£ recounted about the others were not facts at, all. Most of the information was five years old, at least.
If that sort of gaff can be made so early in the piece by the Prime Minister himself, what dreadful things will happen when the gestapo is in full swing; when every informer is a temporary servant of the Crown, and every derelict in a wine bar is an ear for His Majesty’s Government ; when the national anthem of this country will be, “ Whisper it soft, whisper it low”; and when, as the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) so aptly nut it, there will be incentive payments for pimps and thought control will be our most flourishing industry.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in reading his speech.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).I take it that the honorable member is refreshing his memory from notes.
– Before I was interrupted in my observations based upon copious notes, I was about to say that a further objection to this clause is based on the statement of the Treasurer (Mr. Padden) that the Labour party is the gateway to communism. That was bad enough, but the right honorable gentleman attempted to justify his scandalous statement by a windy, hysterical speech in this Parliament which emphasized the injury and added to the insult. His speech had a special analogy to this clause in that it proved what I have already stated and that is that Labour is not the gateway to communism, but that the Country party is the bridge to rural fascism, with every plank in position, ready for the tanks to roll. Therefore, if the Prime Minister has proved himself incapable of keeping a fair mind on this clause, and the Treasurer has indicated that this is not a bill to ban Communist affiliates, but a. scourge for the people, what is likely to happen to it in the hands of a disinterested bureaucracy and an inefficient security service? Another alarming statement was made by the Prime Minister when he threatened to declare a Labour senator under this legislation. Later, he said that it was all a joke, a bon mot that he had tossed off - the sort of thing that he does so well, particularly after dinner. He apologized for the statement, and said that members of Parliament should not come under the bill at all. The right honorable gentleman’s suggestion was rejected by the Labour partyas just another emanation of the power-drunk politician full of bluster and arrogance one moment ; full of soft-eyed repentance and sweet surrender the next.
The number of Government amendments which have been circulated is an indication of the futility of the measure and of the Government’s uneasiness. Since this clause deals with the personal aspect of the ban on Communists, and those associated with them, I should like to point out how the Liberal party is incapable of dealing with Communists within its own ranks. I refer to its total inability to cope with infiltration from the left. Even its own head-quarters have been invaded. Under the terms of this measure the Government would have to seize its own party property, and declare its own party organization, and I shall explain why. At number 30 Ash-street, Sydney, is a Madame Tunica y Casas, the chatelaine of the “ Coq d’Or “ restaurant. She is a well-known Communist, and she occupies the ground floor of the building. Upstairs is the secretariat and head office of the Liberal party in New SouthWales. The building is owned by the Liberal party, and has been so owned for. many years. Madame’s establishment is very chic ; the food is excellent - so good in fact, that new members of the party, unaware of the curse of communism that broods over the place, have been seen dining there with every evidence of satisfaction and good appetite, warmed, no doubt, by the good, red wines ofF rance.
– Order! That has absolutely nothing to do with the clause.
– I thought it was relevent to the infiltration tactics of Communists. In this battle against the Communists, how much assistance has been forthcoming from the Liberal party? About this time last year, there was a coal strike which the Government considered to be a conspiracy against the nation. How many Liberals rallied to the cause in order to carry the fight to the Communists in the democratic way? There was one only, the right honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Casey).
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- After listening to honorable members opposite, one might be excused for wondering what monsters framed some of the legislation which the people of Australia have accepted unanimously, and lived under quite happily, in years gone by. This clause is the most important one in the bill. It affects the civic liberties of the people, but there is ample precedent for what the Government proposes. This provision, which places on an individual the onus of proving his innocence, may be described as the core of the Labour party’s objection to this measure. When the Parliament is considering legislation that brings the individual within its sphere, every precaution must be taken to ensure that it will be applied with reason, discretion and necessary restriction. Yet it is of paramount importance that this measure shall not lose its effectiveness when it has to be applied. I think that we should view this clause in the light of the necessity for the bill itself, and ask ourselves three questions, as follows: - (1) Do we think that the safety and security of Australia is threatened by the subversive activities of the Communist party of Australia, or that the Communists here are an integral part of an overall Communist plan for the domination of this country in favour of Soviet Russia? (2) Do the Australian people want the Parliament to take action against the Communists? (3) Do we believe in this bill, and have we confidence that the clauses therein will serve the purposes for which this legislation is being enacted? The fact that the motion for the second reading of the bill was carried on the voices clearly answers the first question. I believe that the second question must be answered in the affirmative because the Government received a mandate from the people, as is admitted by the Opposition, to deal with the Communist party. The third question can be answered only by the dictates of the conscience of each honorable member. I believe in the bill, and I have confidence in it. I consider that its purposes will be achieved, particularly if the Opposition plays its part.
The real objection which the Labour party takes to the bill is based on the provision that places on a declared person the onus of proving his innocence. That objection, in my opinion, has little substance, because it has been raised on the assumption that such a provision abrogates the civic rights of the individual. When Government supporters have attempted to prove to the Opposition members that other acts include the averment clause, as it is known, they have replied that most of those measures were introduced under the National Security Act in times of emergency, or under extenuating circumstances. I propose to cite as examples two acts to which the people of South Australia are sub- ject, and which were drafted in the calm days of peace, entirely divorced from conditions of national emergency. I realize that the Parliament of the Commonwealth has no responsibility for State legislation, but I believe that if the fundamentals of British justice are assailed by the onus of proof clause in the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950, it has been equally assailed for years under certain legislation which has been enacted by the Parliament of South Australia and which the people of that State have accepted as not having prejudiced their civic rights, and they have lived happily in spite of it. I venture to say that not one innocent man or woman has been in fear of being accused, indicted or, if I may use the current expression, declared under either of those acts. I refer, first, to the Licensing Act 1932-1936, section 203, which reads as follows : -
Any person, other than an excepted person, who during any day or time during which the sale of liquor is prohibited by law is present in any room or of other part of any licensed premises . . . shall be guilty of an offence . . unless he satisfies the special magistrate or justices that his presence in the said room or part was not for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining or attempting to purchase or obtain liquor.
In other words, the accused must satisfy the magistrate that he was not on the premises at that time for an unlawful purpose. The onus rests on the individual to prove his innocence. Section 266 of the same act imposes a similar obligation upon the accused. It reads as follows : -
The fact that any person who does not hold a licence - (b). has in his house or premises a quantity of liquor more than is reasonably required for the use of the persons residing therein; shall be prima facie evidence of the unlawful sale of liquor by that person.
Do Opposition members believe that the people of South Australia, who have been subject to that act for years, are afraid to keep liquor in their homes lest they be accused of having it for unlawful sale? The onus of proof rests on the individual in that instance, and if the averment clause is wrong in the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950, a similar provision is equally wrong in the Licensing Act of South Australia. Opposition members have claimed that the clause under consideration, by placing the onus of proof on the individual, will have the effect of breeding a race of liars, perjurers, informers and pimps. I reject that expression of opinion because I believe that those persons who will be responsible for policing and administering this legislation will show the greatest discretion in doing so, and will have a thorough understanding of their responsibilities. Unlike the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon), who said that he did not trust this Government, and would not trust any government, I trust this Government, and I believe that the Parliament will remedy any imperfections that may be discovered later in this legislation. Section 269 of the Licensing Act of South Australia provides -
The special magistrate or justices sitting at or on the hearing of any complaint under this Act may, if in the circumstances of the case they deem it proper, convict the person accused upon the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice;
This act, if ever there was one, is open to abuse, yet the people do not fear it. There is not one member of the Opposition who would dare to tell the people of South Australia, who have been subject to the Licensing Act for years, that the averment provisions in it have bred a race of liars, perjurers, informers and pimps. Honorable members may rest assured that there is ample precedent in other acts for placing the onus on an individual of proving his innocence.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
– I desire to make it perfectly clear that any concern that I have expressed during the debate on this bill has been, not for the Communists, but for individual members of this community who cannot on any account be classed as Communists. The honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Handby) has endeavoured to justify the averment clause in this bill by saying that the Licensing Act of South Australia places the onus on an individual of proving his innocence. I remind the honorable gentleman that the averment clause in the bill under con sideration gives rise to a totally different problem from a provision in the Licensing Act of South Australia that places on an individual the onus of proving that he has not had a beer in an hotel after the hours of trading. The honorable member for Kingston should bear in mind that this measure will, to some degree, be administered in an atmosphere of national hysteria, worked up by politicians and other persons, and by the press. The atmosphere in which men will be declared will be quite different from that in which a person accused of drinking after permitted hours is tried. There is a great danger that the hysteria and fear complex that has been aroused may result in grave injustices being done to individuals.
Let me give two instances of declarations. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made a declaration in this chamber about a number of persons, and within ten days it was found to be incorrect in some respects. If the Prime Minister himself can be led into making an incorrect declaration about certain individuals, what is likely to happen in the lower ranks? Some years ago the right honorable gentleman, from his place in this chamber, made a declaration that Dr. Soekarno was a Communist- Japanese collaborator. Many people will remember that declaration. Quite recently, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) was in Indonesia, fawning upon Dr. Soekarno, and indeed slobbering over him. It has been reported that the Prime Minister sent a cablegram of congratulation to that gentleman, who, a few years ago, he had declared to be a CommunistJapanese collaborator. In fact, I have read in the press that the Australian Government proposes to give economic aid to the Government of which he is now the leader. Those two instances show where declarations can lead.
The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Charles Anderson) stated that the rebels of Southern Ireland and also Mr. Nehru, Mr. Patel, Dr. Soekarno, Dr. Hatta and others were sent to gaol at various times in their careers because they fought for nationalism. They were not charged with fighting for nationalism, but with engaging in seditious and subversive activities. When there is a state of national hysteria, and when some people are not too scrupulous and are very often guided by emotional impulses that have nothing to do with justice, individuals can be treated violently and unjustly. I am appealing now on behalf of those persons, and not on behalf of Communists or members of Communist organizations. This measure is aimed at members of trade unions. Let there be no mistake about that.
– It is aimed at the Australian Communist party.
– I am dealing with’ clause 9 and not with clause 4 of the bill. I should be glad if the Prime Minister would confine his interjections to the clause now under consideration.
– The right honorable gentleman referred to “ this measure
– I am speaking of clause 9, which deals with individuals. What would it matter to an eminent Communist doctor if he were declared to be a Communist? The fact that he was a Communist would already be widely known. It would not matter to a prominent business man who was a Communist if he were the subject of a declaration under this clause. He would continue to make profits from his business. This provision will strike at the humbler members of the community.
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) spoke quite belligerently the other night. He talked of the great body of public opinion being behind this bill.
– So it is.
– I do not dispute that. Even if the whole of the community were in favour of this bill, it would not follow that no injustices could be committed under it.
– We have Parliaments to correct injustices.
– Parliaments may be actuated by political and not by ethical considerations. Does the Minister suggest that because the multitude supports a measure, the administration of that measure cannot result in injustices? Does he believe that the average Australian man and woman is fully aware of all the implications of this bill? The multitude can make grave mistakes. It was the multitude, by its vote, that sent Christ to be crucified. That is the best instance that I can give of a mistaken vote of the multitude. The fact of the majority of the people of a nation, because of a fear complex or a frenzy, accepting something, does not mean necessarily that it should also be accepted by myself or any other man who believes in justice being done to ordinary men and women. By “ ordinary men and women “, I do not mean Communists or members of Communist organizations, but men and women who may be militant trade unionists or, to some degree, irrational or careless in their talk.
I shall conclude on the note that was struck by the Prime Minister, and which is the strongest possible condemnation of this bill. The right honorable gentleman said that the efficacy of this measure will be destroyed unless it is allowed to pass in a form that will permit the Government to declare as a Communist any ordinary individual in the community without giving him any indication of why the declaration has been made and without giving him a right of appeal or a right to go to a court and have the reasons for making the declaration disclosed so that he can answer them. The Prime Minister has made it perfectly clear that he believes that the efficacy of this bill will be destroyed unless the Government or its officials - it will not be the right honorable gentleman - has the right to declare an individual to be a Communist, without disclosing the charges on which the declaration is based. There is no getting away from that. The Canadian Government did not hide behind a curtain of secrecy in the atom bomb secrets case in Canada, nor did the British Government do so in the case of Fuchs, yet those cases related to two of the greatest disclosures of defence secrets that the world has known. I am concerned with the interests of the individual and the liberty of the subject.
– It has just been the privilege of the committee to listen to what was, I think, quite the most remarkable speech that has been made on the bill. It was a speech that was full of bitter opposition to this legislation, and, therefore, a speech which came a little oddly after the deliverer of it had voted for the second reading of the bill and has voted in committee, with the unanimous support of his followers, for clause 3, clause 4, clause 5 (2)-
– I rise to order. The Standing Orders provide that a member is not entitled to reflect upon a vote of the House or the committee and that he must connect his remarks with the matters before the Chair.
– The Standing Orders provide that there shall be no reflection upon a vote of the House or the committee.
– So far from reflecting upon a vote of the House or the committee, I was approving of it. I was merely reminding the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) and his followers that these words of bitter criticism come a little oddly after the approval - in fact, the unanimous approval - of certain provisions of the bill which, after all, if the Leader of the Opposition is right, are wicked provisions.
– We want to hear about the onus of proof.
– I shall demonstrate the force of what I am saying. The right honorable gentleman has just said, after making a most curious and, I thought, ambiguous reference, to the votes of multitudes and the death of Christ - which I venture to describe as a singularly odd, if not blasphemous observation-
Opposition members interjecting,
– Work it out for yourselves. I do not know whether the right honorable gentleman meant to say that the votes of multitudes must be ignored ; because, after all, it is on the votes of multitudes that democracy works. I do not know whether he wanted to draw some analogy between the Founder of our religion and these wretched creatures that are now engaged in a conspiracy against us.
Opposition members interjecting,
– Order ! Honorable members on my left will refrain from interjecting and will extend to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) the same courtesy as was accorded to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) when he spoke.
– I have not spoken all night, Mr. Chairman.
– If that is the state of mind of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), I thoroughly understand it. One of the matters upon which the committee was unanimous was that the Australian Communist party should, by force of this legislation and from no other cause, be dissolved, destroyed, wound up - whatever one cares to say. According to the Leader of the Opposition, members of that organization were to be dealt with without a charge being made, with no hearing, with no appeal. But he does not quarrel about that; in fact, he did not utter one word of protest about that.
-Does the right honorable gentleman object to the lack of protest ?
– I applaud it; all I am saying is, let us have a little consistency on this matter. Do not get up and tear a passion to tatters about no charge, no hearing, no appeal for individual Communists when you have taken the Communists in globo, as every member of the committee has done and voted for their condemnation without charge, except in Parliament; without hearing, except in Parliament; without appeal, except to the people of Australia. Do let us have a little consistency on this matter.
Of course, what emerges, in reality, from the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition to-night is that it is not good politics to vote to save the Australian Communist party from destruction and it is not good politics to waste any sympathy on an organization which everybody knows to be a conspiracy against the safety of the nation ; but that it is good politics to whip up the agony of the individual, who, after all, cannot be declared unless he has been an officer or member of one of the organizations which this bill proposes to destroy. Honorable members opposite are able to mouth fine words about British justice, about charges and hearings, and that is good politics; but it becomes nauseating politics when the right honorable gentleman chooses to use the most offensive expressions about my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), and his relations with the head of the Government of Indonesia. Those words come very oddly from an Opposition which, when in government, was the outstanding supporter of the Indonesian national movement, and they come very oddly from the leader of a party which, from first to last, was hostile to the Dutch and did everything in its power to drive them out of Indonesia. What words did we hear in those days about Soekarno and Japanese collaboration? We heard a good deal of criticism from the members of the present Government, who were then in Opposition, but from the present Opposition, which was then in power, we heard nothing.
Mr. Rosevear interjecting,
– We hear nothing from the present Leader of the Opposition about Soekarno. We hear a great deal from him about many other things, but not one word of criticism of Soekarno. But, the Indonesian national movement having succeeded, and my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, having visited Indonesia on the way to the Colombo Conference, I suppose that I am now to understand from the right honorable gentleman that the Minister should have gone to Djakarta and insulted the head of the Indonesian Government. Would that have pleased the right honorable gentleman ? Ob, no ! But when my colleague observes the courtesies of international life, the description applied to his action by the right honorable gentleman, who is a former Prime Minister, is that he “ fawned “ and “ slobbered “ on the head of that Government. I should like to be -inside the mind of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) in this matter. I hope that when he rises in his turn-
– I shall return to the clause.
– And how right he will be. I quite agree, that is the perfect answer, and it will be a very prudent thing to return to the clause. It will be a very prudent thing to get away from these puerile remarks about fawning and slobbering on the head of a neighbouring government. If the Leader of the Opposition wants us to declare public hostility to the Government of Indonesia, let him get up and say so; but unless he is pre-: pared to say so let him forget all this silly nonsense about treating courtesies between governments as fawning and slobbering-
– Now, the clause.
– I agree. After aU, the speech that I rose to answer had nothing to do with the clause, and so far I have pursued it into its curious nimbus. Now, I shall be happy to return to clause 9 because some curious things have been said about it. In the course of this debate there has been a lot of talk about the onus of proof, about all sorts of people receiving a fair trial and about extreme penalties. What I say to honorable members opposite - and I have never varied - is that they have accepted one law in those matters; and in that respect there is between the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) and myself, oddly enough, unanimity. Where this bill creates a criminal offence that is punishable by fine, or imprisonment, as it does under clause 7, which has already been passed unanimously, the onus of proof is placed on the Crown. What this clause does, and it is in parallel with what clause 5 did, is to provide for the termination of an employment. Do not let us misunderstand this matter. The whole purpose of the declaration is to provide for the termination of an employment under the Crown of the Commonwealth or an employment in a key union in a key industry. There we have a limited scope, a particular class of employment which is to be terminated in certain circumstances. All honorable members and, indeed, the whole of the Australian people have to face up to this issue when we are dealing with a Communist conspiracy if we believe that it is a real menace to Australia. If, at the end of the investigation, there is a grave and unresolvable doubt about the person- concerned-
– Hang him !
– No; resolve the doubt in favour of the safety of the country. The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) must not allow his mind to dwell on hanging too much. I assure him that I would not be happy to see him hanged. I hope that he will be with us for many years, if not for his present seat at least for another. This provision has to do with the termination of employment.
– That could be worse than imprisonment.
– Could it? I do not think that it could; but it all depends upon the nature of the circumstances. We have heard a great deal in the course of this debate about people like the celebrated Dr. Fuchs, who happened to be convicted on his own admission, but let us face up to a real instance. Suppose we had in the service of the Commonwealth a scientific man engaged in a position of scientific trust and the result of an investigation was that there were doubts unresolved about his trustworthiness. Would the Parliament resolve the doubt in favour of keeping him in that position ?
– No ; we would transfer him to a safe job where he could not do any harm.
– To a scientific job?
– Transfer a scientist to a non-scientific job! Make him a clerk !
– The right honorable gentleman started off by “ supposing “.
– I am ; and I say this to every honorable member opposite as I should like to say it to every Australian: If anybody in this country had in his employment a man about whose trustworthiness he entertained unresolved doubts would he keep him in his employment ?
– The honorable member for Lalor says “ Yes “, but he is the only honorable member to do so. People do not continue employment on those terms. It would be shocking to suppose that we could retain in the service of the Commonwealth a man about whom there were unsettled doubts, doubts that could not be resolved as to whether he was engaged in activities prejudicial to the safety of the country. That is the real essence of the matter. This afternoon, my learned friend, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) delivered, if I may say so, an extremely well composed address in the course of which he said, in effect, “ Let us have a preliminary tribunal. Tell the applicant what it is you have against him, and then call on him to show cause why he should not be declared “. In other words, the honorable member is not worried about the onus of proof, because the man who shows cause shoulders the onus of proof.
– Half a loaf is better than no bread.
– And the half loaf that the honorable member takes includes the onus of proof on the man who shows cause. The honorable member says, in effect, “ I do not mind the man having to show cause but let him have a preliminary tribunal “. Does he mean that he wants a tribunal that will investigate charges? Whether the tribunal investigates charges at the beginning, or at the end, everything that I have said earlier on this point remains true; if the onus is on a person, he still must prove those charges by evidence legally receivable in a court.
– But a judicial tribunal is provided.
– Of course, a judicial tribunal is provided, in any case ; but what the honorable member requests is that the Crown should lay bare before the tribunal all the resources of the security service. We are not now discussing some prosecution under one of the ordinary laws of the realm. We are discussing what we believe to be a conspiracy, a great underground movement that threatens the safety of the country. It is nonsense to say in those circumstances that the Crown must identify its investigators and disclose their means of gathering information.
– It would not be necessary to do that ; the hearing could be held in camera.
– If I had suggested that there should be an investigation in camera, what would have been the answer from honorable members opposite? The words “ star chamber “ would have rung round this place. The honorable member for Reid also said .that there ought to be a time limit on an emergency bil] of this kind. I point out that in real truth there is a time limit on this measure because insofar as it deals with bodies of persons it provides for their dissolution; and, after all, if the Communist party, or the Eureka Youth League, or whatever the body may be as an alias, is to be dissolved, it does not seem to matter much whether it be dissolved under a temporary or a permanent measure, because its dissolution will be complete. Insofar as dissolution is concerned, the law expresses itself by a single act of destruction of the body. As far as individuals are concerned, the bill provides that the declaration will exist until it is revoked by the Governor-General in Council. If Opposition members are expressing the opinions of the Australian people they may be assured that after the next general election they will be in office. If they are then in office, they may revoke every declaration that still stands by executive action under this measure. I pay very little attention, and I hope that honorable members generally will pay very little attention, to the idea that there should be a time limit.
Another Opposition member has expressed the view, which I thought was rather remarkable, that under this legislation a trade union leader who had nothing to do with communism could be declared.
Mr.Ward. - So he could.
– I remind honorable members that the declaring provision of the clause which we are now debating applies to any person who was, at a material time, a member or officer of an unlawful association, or who is or was at any material time a Communist. I do not know how Opposition members can suppose for one moment that that provision will bring into the net of this legislation a person who has had no connexion with communism. Before he can be brought within the ambit of this legislation he must have been an officer or member of a body declared to be unlawful or a Communist as defined by the bill.
– Read the definition of “ Communist “.
– I shall come to that if Opposition members do not mind if I occupy the necessary time to do so.
– The Prime Minister may go on all night. We shall make up for it in the Senate.
– That is a very useful admission. Is the honorable member for Dalley in charge of the Senate? It is all very well for Opposition members to talk about wasting time. The truth is that they do not like to have this bill explained either to the committee or to the people. They talk all sorts of nonsense about the danger of perfectly innocent people who have no connexion with communism being declared. Before a person may be declared under this bill, not only must be have the taint of Communist association, but also, in the opinion of the GovernorGeneral in Council, he must be engaged or have been engaged in activities which are or are likely to be prejudicial to the safety and defence of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for East Sydney has asked me to read the definition of “ Communist “. Let us have a little consistency in this matter. Nobody has prevented the Opposition from proposing amendments to this bill, but I have not seen any amendment relating to the definition of “ Communist “.
– Would the right honorable gentleman accept such an amendment ?
– I should first have to see what it contained. I would not accept it on the blind. This bill has been before the Parliament for well over a fortnight, but no such amendment has been proposed. Other amendments have been circulated by the Opposition. One or two of them have been accepted and I have also indicated that I am prepared to accept another relating to the power of search. Not one word was said by Opposition members at the material time about the definition of “ Communist “, but immediately we reach a later clause they say that it is a shocking definition. I have heard some argument about the meaning of the term “ Communist “ that would make one’s hair curl.
– The right honorable gentleman is not dealing with the clause before the committee.
– I am dealing with it.
– I shall have to explain to the honorable member how my remarks are related to the clause.
– The right honorable gentleman will need to do so.
– If the honorable member for Dalley will examine subclause (1.) he will see that it applies, inter alia, to any person who is, or was at any time after the specified date, a Communist. If he had listened to the speeches of his colleagues this afternoon, he would have heard that many of them made comments on Communists. Indeed, the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) became involved in a cross-fire of interjections because he debated that matter. Curiously it has been said that the definition of “ Communist “, which reads -
A person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx and Lenin - is so wide that if a person advocated any of the objectives of the Communists he could be declared. That contention has arisen from a trifling error. Opposition members read the definition of “ Communist “ as though it read “ who supports or advocates any of the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism “ which, as was demonstrated shortly and brilliantly by my colleague the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck) last week, is sheer nonsense.
– “Why not put the honorable member for Curtin into the Ministry?
– I shall consider the suggestion. Nothing could be more pathetic than the plight of the Opposition which in one breath misinterprets the definition of “ Communist “ by saying that it means that if a person has “ any “ objective in common with the Communists, he is a Communist - which is utter nonsense - and in the next breath cannot summon up the greater courage needed to propose an amendment of the definition if it regards the definition in the bill as too wide.
I accept the invitation of the honorable member for Dalley and return to clause 9, which is the very heart of this bill, because the people will give their verdict on clause 9, not in the light of some arid argument, but on the basis of this one simple test - do they really believe that we are facing a real danger, or do they think that we are proposing to pass a law just for the fun of it?
.- The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has taken 28 minutes to deal with this clause. Under the Standing Orders, Opposition members are restricted to ten minutes. I believe that if the committee will be good enough to follow my argument, I can, within the short period allotted to me, demonstrate the plight to which not the Opposition, but the Prime Minister himself, is reduced by the provisions of this clause. What will the clause allow the executive government to do to individuals? In certain circumstances it will permit the executive government, by mere declaration, to deprive an individual of his employment in or under the Commonwealth, or if the individual has been elected as an official of the trade union from his employment in that union. The Prime Minister devoted a great deal of attention to the question of the onus of proof. I do not intend to re-state the difficulties that will arise in relation to that matter as the result of the manner in which the clause is drafted. The cards have been reshuffled a little by the Prime Minister in answering suggestions made by certain honorable members, but they are still stacked against the individual and the onus of proof remains substantially upon the individual. But that is not the chief vice of the clause. This clause will enable the. executive government of the day to declare persons who, neither in the past nor prior to the issue of a declaration, have had any connexion with the Communists. Indeed it will apply to every person who was a member of the declared association at any time prior to two years ago, and also to persons who come within the wide definition of communism. The committee has dealt with the subject of unlawful association* during the debate on clause 5 and I shall not return to that matter. But such associations, particularly those covered by paragraph (d) of sub-clause (1.) of clause 5, include associations that may be declared by the Executive Council simply because they have some Communist influence in them. An organization with 1,000 members, 20 of whom are Communists, could be declared an unlawful association under the provision in clause 5.
– If the Communists in the organization run it.
– According to the bill, not if they run it but if they have influence in it.
– If they have substantial influence in it.
– Certainly. If they have some substantial influence. This is the preposterous doctrine of infection of 1,000 people by 20. In an organization with 1,000 members, 20 of whom were Communists, the remaining 980 members, every one of them, could come within the provision of clause 9. Every one of them might lose his employment with the Commonwealth or the trade union in the event of a declaration being made. But that is not all, although it is bad enough. The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) answered by an interjection when the Prime Minister said, “What employer in Australia will keep in employment a man about whom he is doubtful “ ? Under the law of this country an employer who dismisses a man must come to court if required and prove just cause for the dismissal. The onus of proof is on the employer to show just cause. That is the Common Law of England and it is the law in every State of this Commonwealth. Analogous provisions are contained in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Under such legislation employees cannot be treated in the way that this bill intends to treat them.
Mr. Menzies interjecting,
– I have a limited amount of time allotted to me and I intend to occupy every second of it. That is the law of the land, which puts the onus of proof fairly and squarely on the employer. It says that if an employer dismisses an employee then the employer must prove just cause of dismissal to the court, or he must pay damages or suffer the penalties that are contained in the various legislative instruments dealing with arbitration. But the difference between those provisions and the proposals contained in this measure is even wider than that, because when a man is declared under this bill the declaration means that not only does he lose employment with the Commonwealth or is he thrown out of the trade union that he may have served faithfully for years, although he is not a Communist and has no connexion with communism, but the Governor-General says in the Gazette that he is a person engaged, or likely to engage, in activities prejudicial to the security of the Commonwealth. That is open condemnation, of an individual expressed in the Gazette. Is there to be any inquiry before such a declaration is made? There is to be none.
Mr. Menzies interjecting,
– I wish the Prime Minister would allow me to continue. His interruptions are very disturbing, having regard to my time limit. Under the measure an individual will have no right to know beforehand about the charges against him. He will have nothing to inform him. He may be declared and may find out about it simply by reading about it in the Gazette. What does that mean? It means perpetual infamy and degradation without the individual concerned having any right to challenge it in any court of law. Is that justice?
There are two competing notions here. The Prime Minister states that an emergency justifies everything although we are at peace. I say that the principle of justice is involved in clause 9. Parliament has to fight for that principle. I believe that the people of Australia will demand and insist upon justice for people who may be innocent individuals and not even members of the Communist party or Communists. But even if they are or have been members of a declared association they should not be subjected to degradation and infamy without the right to clear themselves before a court of justice. That right is denied by the Prime Minister. I cannot understand why it is denied. I entirely dissent from his idea that the granting of that right would lead to the revealing of secrets that should not be revealed. The court would be the best judge in relation to such a matter. If documents whose contents should not be revealed came into the possession of the court it could safeguard the security service. A court has complete power to protect the public interest even in a public hearing. But in this instance the individual will be helpless. What is the good of saying that he will have the right of appeal? I am taking the case of a person who was a member of one of these associations that had thousands of members, like the peace council movement. Every one of those members may be disgraced and may, if he occupies a position in a trade union or in the Commonwealth Public Service, instantly lose his employment. But more serious is the stigma involved in the public declaration. Why cannot he go then and appeal to the court-
– I understood that Communists had been banned from the Labour party.
– What has that to do with it? The Labour party says that Communists may not join it. I am not speaking on that question, but about the infamy, if there is no review by any court even though the onus of proof was placed upon him, of a man being told by the government of the day, through the King’s representative, that he is a seditious person. The fundamental principle is justice for Australian citizens whether they are Communists or non-Communists. The people of Australia will demand justice for all. They will not tolerate men being subjected to the disqualifications provided in the measure including loss of employment. Above all, they will not allow their fellow Australians to be disgraced under the stigma of disloyalty without their having the right to clear their names before a court. Alien enemies in time of war received better treatment than Australian citizens will receive under this measure. Alien enemies had an opportunity to put their case before a board, but under this measure the Government will give the
Australian no opportunity to clear his name.
.- Two points in particular have amazed me in this debate during the last fortnight. Those two points have been particularly evident in the debate on the clause with which we are now dealing, which provides for the declaration of certain persons and places the onus of proof upon the individuals declared.First of all I have been amazed by the attitude of the Labour party towards the whole bill and particularly towards this clause, which contains the heart of the bill. That attitude was expressed earlier to-night by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). He referred to the Labour party’s unrelenting resistance to this clause. That unrelenting resistance, which has been expressed with greater and greater vigour as the debate has proceeded, is all the more amazing when we consider that, through the Government’s introduction of the present measure, the Labour party has been presented with the most wonderful opportunity for reinstating itself and regaining its lost prestige, that it could wish for. Apparently the Labour party has not had the wit to observe that fact or, if it has observed it, has not had the courage to act on it. After all, there can be no doubt that one of the main basic reasons for the Labour party’s smashing defeat at the last general election was the attitude of the previous Government towards communism. That is acknowledged everywhere, and yet when this Government, acting upon a mandate to wipe out communism, that even the Labour party admits it received from the people at the general election, and introduces a bill to do so, we find Labour condemning the measure and doing all it possibly can to defeat it. It has been evident that there are two schools of thought on the Labour party benches. One of them was expressed to-night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley). It has been expressed also on occasions by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and others of that ilk. The statement that this bill is designed to smash trade unionism and that, under this clause particularly, all sorts of persons can be declared and that no one is safe is rubbish. Clause 9 simply says - (1.) This section applies to any person -
Clause 5 which deals with unlawful associations specifically excludes from declaration an industrial organization which is registered under the law of the Commonwealth or the State. In other words, trade unions are specifically excluded from the operation of clause 5. Therefore the declaration under clause 9 that a person who is a member of an unlawful association would not represent an attack against trade unionism.
Paragraph (b) reads -
Who is, or was at any time after the specified date, a Communist.
Does that represent an attack on trade unionism? In what way is it such an attack? How can such a contention be supported if the clause is read in a sensible manner? There is a further protection. Even if a member of an association does come within the scope of subparagraphs (a) and (b) he must still come under the scope of sub-clause (2.) which provides that before any action is taken against that person the GovernorGeneral must be satisfied that he is engaged or is likely to be engaged in activities prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth. How can anybody with any common sense who desires to secure the defences of this country say that these provisions represent a challenge to trade unionism?
The committee has been told by some members of the Labour party that this is an attempt to smash unionism.
– So it is.
– Then why did the honorable member vote for the second reading of the bill? He cannot have it both ways. Unless honorable members of the Opposition who state that this bill is an attack against trade unionism are speaking with their tongues in their cheeks they should not have voted for the bill on the second-reading division. Many Labour members condemn this bill and say that if it is put into operation it will smash trade unionism and that they will do everything in their power to see that it is not put into operation.
– That will be attended to in another place.
– Why talk about dealing with it in another place when honorable members have an opportunity to do their duty in this chamber? This bill will save decent trade unionism in Australia. Surely members of the Labour party and of the trade unions realize that the greatest threat to the continuance of trade unionism in Australia is communism. Surely they realize that trade unionism is being used, for the time being, by Communists to serve their own purpose. When Communists have succeeded in attaining their objectives trade unionism will be the first institution to be smashed. Therefore, this bill will safeguard the trade unions. There is evidence that the rank and file of the trade unionists are already realizing that.
Several honorable members of the Opposition who have debated this and other clauses have contended that the necessity for this bill does not now exist. They direct attention to what has happened in certain trade unions recently in regard to the appointment of officials and say, “ The Communists have been defeated. Therefore, you do not need to bring in this bill “. Do they not realize that that fact reveals the justification for this bill because it shows that the trade unionists, now that they have a government in power on which they can depend for support, are getting down to the job of reorganizing their own unions? It is only since this Government, just prior to the general election and upon its assumption of office, has shown that it will fight communism that the rank and file of the trade unions have started to take this action in their own organizations.
.- This is the first opportunity that I have had to speak on this measure. I reiterate the statements that have been made by honorable members on this side of the chamber concerning their consistent opposition to communism over the years. Throughout the history of this country, since the formation of the Communist party, the major opponents of that party have been members of the Labour movement. Honorable members opposite have had many opportunities to fight these people. They had such an opportunity recently during the crisis on the coal-fields but instead of joining in the fight against communism they inserted advertisements in the press of this country which gave a stimulus to the Communist cause. This is a new approach to communism by honorable members opposite and there is not the sincerity in their statements which they would have people believe.
I do not pretend to understand or interpret the legal phraseology that has been indulged in on the question of onus of proof but I do know that this legislation has been introduced by a Government which, posing in the proud name of “ Liberal “, seeks, in the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), to place the onus of proof on an accused person. That proposition is contrary to every principle of justice in this and other British countries. Honorable members are told that this principle is not new and that it has existed in certain Australian legislation over the years. As the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) said a few nights ago, the fact that this principle has been included in certain legislation is no reason why it should be retained in the future. Every time the principle is introduced into legislation there will be a whittling down of the freedom of the people. It constitutes a real challenge to democratic society. The coal strike legislation lapsed within a month or six weeks but the new Prime Minister of this country wishes to write into the legislation something which is Hitler-like and which, in other days, could be looked upon as the first enactment of a Communist government. The Labour movement is pledged to oppose that kind of action. Honorable members on this side of the chamber will see that it is opposed and that the Government does not whittle down the principle that the Crown shall prove the guilt of the accused which has always been the basis of British justice.
Taking up the time of this committee by putting on a show for the benefit of those who sit behind him and cheer his remarks, the Prime Minister said to-night that these men will only be affected in their jobs. What is a job to a man without money and without finance? Is it not the very basis of his existence ? His condemnation and removal from a job on the grounds mentioned by the Prime Minister will mean that he will get worse than a prison sentence. He will have no possibility of obtaining employment in any other industry in the country. Honorable members of the Opposition are not concerned for the Communists, but for innocent people who could be caught up in this net. The onus of proof must be on the Crown, otherwise no honest person could condone the placing of such legislation on the statutebook for all time.
The Prime Minister gave an example of what could be done under this bill. He quoted the names of certain individuals and a few days later had to correct those names. Great damage may have been done to the reputation of the men whom he had wrongly named. If this legislation had been passed, those men could have been removed from their jobs. The Prime Minister has threatened honorable members of the Opposition in this chamber. It cannot be said that the right honorable gentleman was in a good humour when he did that because he also said, “I never make threats that I do not carry out”. Honorable members such as the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) who are irrational, irresponsible, untrained and inexperienced tried to associate honorable members of the Opposition with the Communist party. In those insinuations lies a real challenge to the Labour movement and to the trade union movement.
Honorable members of the Opposition will not permit themselves to be condemned by men who are vigorously opposed to them and would do anything to see them and other trade unionists removed from office without any trial. If the Government was able to release certain war criminals because it could not prove their guilt, and to spend huge sums of money to prove the guilt of other war criminals. If, when Hitler’s supporters were brought to trial, the onus of proof was placed upon the Crown,
Australian citizens should he given the same rights. Honorable members of the Opposition are not concerned about Communists, but are concerned about ordinary citizens who might get caught up in a net such as this. To safeguard against such a possibility the onus of proof should be placed upon the Government if there is any reasonable doubt. A citizen charged under this act is entitled to receive the same justice as a murderer, but the Government seeks to place the ordinary, average citizen in a worse position than a man who is charged with the worst crime in the criminal calendar. I believe that the liberal-thinking people of the community will not for a minute be deceived by the false arguments which have been put forward by the Prime Minister and his supporters.
This bill is just a further indication, as the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Eraser) has said, of how power-drunk the Prime Minister and his Government have become in a short space of time. This measure was introduced with a stern statement by the Prime Minister to the effect that the Government would not accept any amendments. He has also introduced into this Parliament a bill which, according to the press, has been designed to smash the Senate although even the members of his own party did not know anything about the bill until it was presented to Parliament.
Opposition, which has relied upon pure emotion and sentimentality in its attack upon this clause, has led itself into rather an absurd position. We have heard of the terrible stigma that would attach to a person who had been declared and how he would be hunted from every job in the land. Then we heard the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) saying that the bill would prove entirely ineffective because persons who were declared would wear the halo of martyrdom. Let honorable members opposite say just what their line of attack is. Are declared persons going to be martyrs, or are they to be subjected to infamy and degradation? Honorable members on this side of the chamber should be grateful to the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who excelled himself in reducing the
Opposition’s arguments against this clause to complete absurdity. He reached the heights of ridicule. Honorable members opposite have worked themselves up in their sentimental cliches about British justice and liberty, and the rights of the individual, without trying very hard to face the facts. They should look, for example, at the history of the onus of proof provision. If they study the history of English law they will find that English criminal law has always had as its first objective, not the freeing of innocent men, but the punishment of guilty men. The tradition that the onus of proof is on the accuser is merely a. development of judicial procedure. Furthermore, in countries where that system of judicial procedure is not followed, substantial justice is in fact brought about. We do not -find complaints of injustice, for example, in continental countries. I make that point not to suggest that the whole of our English procedure should be changed, but that the concern of honorable members opposite should be to face the facts. They should consider this provision merely as a matter of procedure involving no injustice to any one. No matter who has to start the proceedings, the courts will have to reach their decision on the evidence before them. So obvious has the fallacy of the Opposition’s argument on the onus of proof become in the course of the debate, that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) abandoned it. They talked instead of the terrible injustice involved in some hypothetical case in which an organization of 1,000 members had 988 non-Communists and 20 Communists. I draw the attention of the committee to the fact that the right honorable member for Barton did not suggest any amendment of clause 5 in relation to the declaration of such an association. In fact, he was completely silent about the matter. Moreover, the right honorable gentleman apparently does not object to subclause (1.) of clause 9, which defines persons who may be declared. He has not sought to amend that provision. His arguments, were wholly inconsistent and I believe, insincere. The right honorable gentleman also had another line of inconsistency. First he attacked the principle that a declared person should be obliged to start proceedings and show why he should not be declared. That, the right honorable gentleman said, was a departure from the usual procedure. Then he attacked the provision relating to dangerous and prejudicial activities because the definition of such activities is not open to question in a court. It has always been a matter for the Executive to decide matters of safety to the realm, without question in any court. The right honorable gentleman knows that very well. If he is to argue that the onus of proof provision is a departure from standing practice, to be consistent he should admit that adoption of his suggestion in relation to dangerous and prejudical activities would also be a departure from standing practice. “Whether or not activities are dangerous or prejudicial is obviously a matter for decision by the Executive. The Opposition’s arguments against this clause are full of inconsistencies. Honorable members opposite would be much better employed in facing a few facts instead of mouthing pious sentimentalities about British justice.
– I have listened to this debate attentively for a long period in the hope that honorable members opposite who have a proper sense of British justice would be induced to further amend this bill to enable it to receive the approval of most people in this country. I am not suggesting that the Government is unjustified in introducing a measure to deal with Communists. The Government claims to have a mandate to do that. That has been thrown in our faces many times by Government speakers. “We have been told that we voted for the second reading of the bill, and therefore we must approve of it. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) made it quite clear that the Labour party does not like legislation of this type. Quite frankly, as a trade unionist of nearly 50 years experience I believe that this is one of the most repressive bills ever to be brought before a Parliament in this country, and that clause 9 is the most reprehensible clause of all. The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Freeth) said that the Opposition was actuated by emotion.
I feel quite emotional about this bill because I realize that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who is a distinguished gentleman in the political life of Australia, has in his endeavour to honour a political promise to deal with Communists, brought down this measure which will in the future be condemned as the most hasty legislation ever devised by a man in his responsible position. To-day he dealt very little with clause 9. In his own words, he “ returned to clause 9 “ occasionally. He gave this chamber a brilliant exposition of his wit and natural talents. As an exhibition of that kind it was greatly appreciated but it was quite unconvincing. But the Prime Minister was followed by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who proved conclusively that the fears of honorable members on this side about the injustice of the clause were thoroughly justified. After having heard the Prime Minister tonight, I feel very uneasy because I voted for the second reading of the bill. I can speak as one who has, in the political and industrial fields, been opposed by Communists quite frequently. I know the nature of their activities, and to what lengths they will go to gain their objectives. There are many inexperienced members on the Government side who, if they had had an early opportunity to give consideration to all the arguments that have been presented in this committee, would have altered considerably their attitude towards the bill. I can hardly imagine an honorable member, if truthful, subscribing to a provision like clause 9, although he may be prepared to combat in other ways those opposed to him in political affairs.
This clause, which lays upon the individual the onus of proof, can apply to a man who is engaged in a trade union organization in which a very small element of communism exists. The clause may put him in the position of having to prove quite conclusively that he is not likely to be engaged in activities prejudicial to the defence of the Commonwealth. Such a provision places a man in a completely false position. No man in Australia or in any British community should have to prove his innocence in that way. It has been mentioned time and time again that legislation is already- in. existence -which provides that the onus of proof shall lie upon an accused person. In that connexion the tariff laws, the income tax and other laws have been quoted. It has also been mentioned that that legislation has been enacted to deal with special circumstances. A similar provision with regard to onus of proof was placed in the measure dealing with last year’s coal strike, but I say that honorable members who point to that act as a precedent are clearly and wilfully ignoring the time limitation imposed in it. As soon as the period during which that legislation was designed to operate had elapsed, the legislation went out of existence. The position is very different under this bill, especially under the provisions of clause 9. The authorities, under this measure, could say to a man, “ You are declared to be a person who is likely to engage in some subversive activities”. As a consequence of that the man would lose his employment in the Commonwealth service or in a key union, with small hope of obtaining it elsewhere. For years I held the offices of president and secretary in a key union, in which I admit a few Communists were employed, although at no time did they dominate the activities of that organization.
The time has arrived when those people who have been apathetic about their own interests are realizing that they must put the Communists in their proper place. At that point the Government introduces this bill which is purely to honour an election promise and is designed without any proper consideration of its implications. That has been illustrated by the fact that the Prime Minister has had to withdraw some of the allegations that he made when introducing the bill. Moreover, he has had to accept amendments tq the original draft. Even at this late stage there is still time for reflection after the bill leaves this chamber. The Government would be acting wisely, if it has any regard for British justice, in considering whether it should not add a further amendment to those it has already accepted. Even then the legislation would not be very palatable to many pf us who have been associated with trade unions throughout our lives. The bill reminds me of a measure that waa threatened in the Victorian Parliament early in my career to deal with a strike on the railways. It provided that two people meeting together could be treated as an unlawful assembly and arrested. That coercive proposal emanated from a government of which this Government is a political descendant. The same kind of government has introduced the same sort of objectionable legislation. I do not agree that the Government has been given a mandate to enact this bill as it is now framed. I speak strongly on the subject because it affects me deeply. Men like myself and the right honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway), who- have been associated with trade unionism for many years, have fought consistently to defend the rights of the individual. “We have always been prepared to acknowledge the existence of minorities in any organization and the right of those minorities to recognition. To ask us to vote for this clause is to ask more than can be reasonably expected of us. No doubt honorable members opposite will twit us by asking, “ Why did you vote for the second reading of the bill ? “ The course of action that we have followed represents the collective wisdom of the Opposition party. Supporters of the Government, in a similar situation, would also be guided by the decision of their parties. The fact that we did not oppose the second reading of the bill does not mean that we accepted it without question. The methods for which it provides have been proved conclusively to be wrong. The Government has failed to answer effectively argument after argument that we have submitted in criticism of those methods. The honorable member for Dawson (Mr. Davidson) has said that we have neither the wit nor the courage to try to rehabilitate ourselves after the defeat that we suffered at the general election. Such criticisms carry little weight when they are uttered by an honorable member whose party received the support of only about 480,000 electors when Labour party candidates recorded 2,250,000 votes. Some honorable members who support the Government will have a very short political life. They were elected by narrow majorities and they will not reappear here in the next Parliament. I remind them that they will have time for reflection between now and the return of the bill from the Senate, and I hope that they will be wise enough to take advantage of that opportunity and decide not to insist upon the enactment of a measure which in its present form can only be a blot on our statute-book. I urge them to take into consideration the views of men who have the interests of trade unionism at heart. If they will do so there is yet a chance to amend the bill so that the results that will emerge from it will be of value to the community. They have a duty to consider our point of view which, I hope, we have expressed without too much bitterness. I know that differences of opinion have arisen within the ranks of the Government parties. The lack of unanimity amongst their members is obvious although, when the bill was introduced, it appeared to have the wholehearted support of every Government supporter. If all honorable members spoke the truth and declared what was in their hearts, they would say that they recognize the injustices in this measure. I sincerely trust that they will reconsider their decision while there is yet time and will agree to amend the bill in the manner that has been proposed by the right honorable member for Barton. If they will do so, they will prove that they are amenable to reason and are not prepared to impose upon us a tyranny that should not be tolerated by anybody who claims to be a Liberal, a term that otherwise will be stigmatized as being representative of the most reactionary political movement in Australia.
.- We have heard some strange arguments about this clause to-night. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) expressed himself very volubly and whipped himself almost into a white fury over what he described as a great denial of justice. He wants the onus of proof provision to be removed at all costs. Such opposition on this issue comes very strangely from the right honorable gentleman. We all recollect that for many years the Labour party advocated the repeal of the Crimes Act, which provides that the onus of proof shall rest with the individual in certain circumstances. Nevertheless, although the right honorable member was Attorney-General for eight years, he took no action to remove that provision from the act.
– How does the honorable member know that?
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) knows as well as I do that the Labour Government took no effective action to repeal that measure. In fact, after listening to the right honorable member for Barton, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of truth in the remark that is often made by lawyers to the effect that the only good advice that can be obtained from some lawyers is advice that is paid for. The righf honorable gentleman executed a figurative double somersault in his argument on this clause. In the closing stages of the discussion, it is well to remember the exact purpose of the clause. It provides that, in the event of an unresolved doubt about the Communist activities of any person, the Crown shall have the power to sack him from Commonwealth employment or from office in a trade union if the union is vital to the defence of the country. No other penalties are provided, as members of the Opposition are well aware. The onus of proof would he placed upon the Crown if the clause provided for the imposition of a fine or any other form of punishment. Members of the Opposition have proved that they are anxious to mislead the people, because they are fully aware of the terms of the clause. The Government and its supporters realize the seriousness of the averment provision. We carefully weighed its advantages and its potential disadvantages before we decided to include it in the bill, and we were forced to the conclusion that such an unusual provision was essential if the fifth column activities of the Communists were to be dealt with effectively. The situation requires swift action against the ringleaders of the Communist movement in Australia. Acceptance of the Opposition’s amendment would make this clause as ineffective against the Communists as a toy chain would be in restraining a dog. The Opposition wants the Government to delete the effective part of the clause in order that the legislation shall be of no avail. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has said that the bill will be unworkable if it becomes law. The truth is that he does not want it to work. All the arguments that have been advanced on behalf of the Opposition have been nullified by the arguments that we have submitted in support of the bill. I was amazed by the suggestion for compromise that was made by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke), who proposed that the Opposition’s amendment be given a trial and that, if it were then found to be ineffective, the legislation should be tested in its original form. Such a course of action would bring operations against the Communist movement to a standstill, a situation that the Opposition wants to bring about. It wants to kill the measure. . The adoption of the suggestion that the onus of proof clause should be removed and that the defence should be placed entirely on the Crown would be the best way to do it.
A remarkable argument advanced by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) was that the number of Communists in Australia is so small that they really do not matter. The honorable member referred to the last Victorian general election in which, he said, only 5,000 votes were recorded for the Communist candidates. If only 1 per cent, of those 5,000 Communists were allowed to carry on their nefarious work in strategic positions, they could endanger the defences of this country. That is why the Government claims that it is so essential to take immediate action to curb the activities of those people who are doing so much damage to industry and whose effect on the defence of Australia is particularly dangerous at present. I sincerely hope that honorable members of the Opposition will appreciate that they gave this bill their blessing at the second reading, and that they will -realize the effectiveness of this clause and support it not only in principle but also with their votes.
.- There has been a lot of beating about the bush regarding this clause and very little talk upon it. The essence of the clause is in its description of certain people and of how action shall be taken against them. In a modified way it points out just how the Government has come to the conclusion that such people should be prosecuted. The clause specifically provides that it shall apply to any person -
who was at any time after the specified date and before the date upon which an unlawful association is dissolved by this act, a member or officer of that unlawful association; or
If one seeks to discover what a Communist is, one finds that the bill provides among other things that such a person believes in the teachings of Marx and Lenin. In the eyes of the law he would be condemned. Because he had expressed a belief somewhere or other that those teachings were valid and of some use, that would be prima facie evidence that he was a Communist.
I regret that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made such play one night when he spoke of the part that the Governor-General would play in relation to the provisions of this clause, because I believe that the right honorable gentleman was laying some blame on the Governor-General for any proceedings that might flow from this clause. There is a distinct injunction in the Standing Orders against the name of the GovernorGeneral being used to influence debate, but there was not the slightest doubt that the Prime Minister used the name of the Governor-General to give some ring of genuineness to prosecutions that might take place. The clause provides that where the GovernorGeneral is satisfied that a person is a person to whom this provision applies and that that person is engaged, or is likely to engage, in a certain class of activity, certain proceedings will follow. The Governor-General would know nothing about those persons. The only information the Governor-General would have when agreeing to such proceedings being taken by the Executive would be advice that had been given to him by his Ministers. The usual procedure is for the GovernorGeneral to follow the advice of his
Ministers, and it is interesting to learn where his Ministers are to get the information upon which they will advise His Excellency honorable members will find that the information will be obtained from the secret service organizaion. The readability of the information that flows from that organization was exposed in this Parliament after the Prime Minister had read in the House a list of the names of persons who were supposed to be implicated in the Communist movement in certain positions. There is not the slightest doubt that the statement had been closely “ vetted “ by the secret service ; but subsequently the Prime Minister was placed in the humiliating position of having to apologize to the House for having given wrongful information to honorable members. The right honorable gentleman got that information from the organization which will lay information against Communists and anybody suspected of being connected with Communists in any way. If the secret service organization could make a mistake in information that it gave to the Prime Minister, knowing that that information was to be placed before the Parliament and the country, it could make a mistake in other information.
The terms of employment of that secret service officers seem to imply that if their numbers grow to the extent that will be necessary if they are to deal with communism promptly and effectively, the time will come when they will be looking for cases to justify their continued existence. In that event they will produce evidence against individuals who are remotely connected with some Communist auxiliary. Those people will be hied before a court, no information will be laid against them and the onus of proof will be on them. The only defence that the Government can offer against that proposition is that the Governor-General would not lay any information against an innocent person. The truth is that the Governor-General acts upon the advice of his Ministers-
– Has the honorable member been a Minister?
– Well, the honorable member does not know the procedure or he would not talk rot.
– I remember when the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) was a Minister, but not a very effective one, and the electors of New South Wales showed sufficient common sense to inflict a very humiliating defeat on the Government with which he was associated. I am doing no more than follow religiously the information given to the committee by the Prime Minister as to the action that would be taken by the Governor-General. I am pointing out the means by which the Ministry will get the information that it will transmit to the Governor-General if, indeed, it is deemed necessary to tell him anything more than that a list has been prepared of persons whom it is proposed to have declared. Only two classes of persons can be dealt with under this clause - public servants, and union officials. The Government might be able to deal with public servants. It might aim at the hawk and hit the sparrow; but I warn it that the fun will start when it tries to dictate to the unions who their officers are to be.
– The honorable member is openly allying himself with the Communists.
– I am not allying myself with any one; but the trade unions will say this to the Government: “ We are the trade-union movement. We will elect our officers, and we will not tolerate domination or interference by a government that represents parties which, ever since they have been in existence, have been a menace to the trade-union movement “.
– The concluding sentence of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) might lead one to believe that he is not really in favour of this bill, and that such support as he has given to it has been forced upon him by the caucus of his party, which, in turn, has been forced to act by public opinion. It would appear that the support given by the Labour party to the motion for the second reading of the bill was “ phoney “, and that now the Opposition is doing its utmost, by its hostility to this clause-
– I rise to a point of order. Is the committee considering clause 9 of the bill, or must we listen to a secondreading speech ?
– The Minister is entitled to reply to the remarks of a previous speaker.
– 1 ask you, Mr..
Chairman, to prevent honorable members opposite from interrupting my speech, thus reducing the time at my disposal.
– On a point of order, I strongly object to the statement that 1 am trying to prevent the Minister from speaking.
– I propose to demonstrate the rank hypocrisy of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) in moving his amendment to this clause.
– On a point of order, I think you will agree with me, Mr. Chairman, that it is unparliamentary to describe an honorable member’s speech as rank hypocrisy.
– If the right honorable member for Barton takes objection
– I take strong objection to it. I thought that you would have objected on my behalf.
– I withdraw the statement with all the haste that I can muster, because I realize that the Opposition is trying to steal my time. I propose to quote from a speech by the right honorable member for Barton about certain persons who were members of what was known as the Australia First Movement.
– I rise to a point of order. What has the Australia First Movement to do with the clause before the committee ?
– The Chair will ensure observance of the Standing Orders.
– This demonstration by the Opposition is interesting, because it shows just how genuine wai the Labour party’s support of the bill. Now, honorable members of the Opposition are doing everything they can to prevent the expression of opinions different from their own. The right honorable member for Barton has moved an amendment to remove the onus of proof from the person declared under this legislation. Speaking in 1946 about the internment of members of the Australia First Movement, the right honorable gentleman said -
I altered the regulation to make it mandatory on the chairman of the tribunal to say to every person appearing before it, “The charge against you is this. What is your answer to it ? “
Did not that place the onus of proof on the accused person? The right honorable gentleman admitted that he had altered the regulation in order to make that provision. Yet now he has moved an amendment the purpose of which is to remove a similar provision from the present legislation. Giving his reasons for what he did in 1946, the right honorable member for Barton said -
It is perfectly true that the proceedings were not open to the public. How could they be when the very matter being investigated by the tribunal affected the security of the country 1 We all know that there were enemy agents in Australia. If the proceedings had been open, information given to the tribunals would have come into the possession of those enemy agents and the very disaster which detention was designed to avoid would have been facilitated.
– Do not omit the next two paragraphs.
– There is plenty more to read. It was a long speech, and I have not time to quote all of it, but the interruptions by honorable members opposite will not prevent me from saying what I want to say. The right honorable member for Barton said that had the security officers been compelled to give their evidence in public the sources of their information would have been revealed to the enemy. Now, he has the effrontery to try to persuade the people that the amendment that he has moved to this clause is a vital one. Does he really believe that, and does the Labour party believe it? I quote from the bill a recital that reads as follows: -
And whereas it is necessary, for the security and defence of Australia and for the execution and maintenance of the Constitution and of the laws of the Commonwealth, that the Australian Communist party, and bodies of persons affiliated with that party, should be dissolved. . .
– Order ! The Minister must discuss the clause.
– It is not proposed that declared persons shall be put behind bars, or that their lives shall be placed in jeopardy, but only that they shall be disqualified from employment by the Commonwealth, or from holding office in certain vital trade unions. That is the only penalty to which they will be subject. One would think, after listening to honorable members opposite, that it was proposed to go back to the days of King John, when men were thrown into dungeons or exiled for trivial offences. Persons will be declared only if sufficient evidence is forthcoming to convince the government of the day that action should be taken. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by references to the Governor-General. That is only a technical way of referring to the executive. If the executive, on the advice of those whose job it is to sift the evidence, says that certain persons are members of a specified organization, and they are therefore declared, the worst that can happen to them is that they will lose their jobs as union officials or public servants.
In view of all the interruptions from the Opposition, and especially from the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), I propose to quote from a little booklet prepared by the committee on unAmerican activities in the United States of America, and issued by the Government of that country. It is called Communism in United States of America, and I quote the following passage : -
How can a Communist be identified? It is easy. Ask him to name ten things wrong with his own country; then ask him to name two things wrong with Russia.
– Order ! The time allotted for the consideration of the bill in committee has expired.
Question put -
That the amendment (Dr. Evatt’S) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question put -
That clause 9 and the circulated amendments of the Government to that clause, be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Circulated amendments -
Clause 9 (vide page 2964).
Amendment. - Sub-clause (3.), leave out “ High Court “, insert “ appropriate court “.
Amendment. - Leave out sub-clauses (4.) and (5.), insert the following sub-clauses: - “ (4.) Upon the hearing of the application, the declaration made by the Governor-General under sub-section (2.) of this section shall, in so far as it declares that the applicant is a person to whom this section applies, be prima facie evidence that the applicant is such a person. “ (5.) If, upon the hearing, the court finds that the applicant is not a person to whom this section applies, the court shall set aside the declaration. (5a.) If the court does not so find, the court shall dismiss the application and the declaration shall remain in force.”.
Question put -
That the remainder of the bill (including postponed clause 3) and the amendments and new clauses circulated by the Government be agreed to, and that the bill be reported with amendments.
The committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Remainder of bill, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 11 (Disqualified persons to vacate office) consequentially amended.
Cicrulated amendments -
Clause 20 (Powers of search, Asc.) -
Amendment. - Leave out the clause, insert the following clause: - “20. If a police, stipendiary orspecial magistrate ia satisfied by information on the oath of an authorized person that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that there is in any house, vessel or place any property of, or books, documents or papers belonging to, an unlawful association, he may grant a search warrant authorizing the authorized person, with such assistance as he thinks necessary, to enter at any time the house, vessel or place named or described in the warrant, if necessary by force, and to take possession of, remove and impound any property (including books, documents or papers) which the authorized person is satisfied belong to that association.”.
Clause 21 (Jurisdiction of High Court)-
Amendment. - Leave out the clause, insert the following clause: - “21.- (1.) The High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any application mode to it under section five, nine or fifteen of this Act. “ (2.) The Supreme Court of each State is hereby invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is hereby conferred on the Supreme Court of each Territory (being a Territory forming part of the Commonwealth), to hear and determine any application made to it under section five or nine of this Act. “ (3.) The jurisdiction of the High Court or of) a Supreme Court in relation to an application under section five, nine or fifteen of this Act shall be exercised by a single Justice or Judge and the decisions of that Justice or Judge shall be final and conclusive. “ (4.) The Commonwealth shall be the respondent to any application under section five or nine of this Act.”.
Postponed clause 3 -
Amendment. - After the definition of “property”, insert the following definition: - “‘the appropriate court’ means -
in relation to on application by a body of persons - the High Court, the Supreme Court of the State or Territory (being a Territory forming part of the Commonwealth) in which the principal office of the body issituated or the Supreme Court of a State or Territory (being a Territory forming part of the Commonwealth) in which a majority of members of the body are resident ; and
in relation to an application by a person - the High Court or the Supreme Court of the State or Territory (being a Territory forming part of the Commonwealth) in which that person resides;”.
Amendment. - At the end of the clause, add the following sub-clause: - “ (3.) For the purposes of this Act, an application to a court which is discontinued or withdrawn shall be deemed to be dismissed.”.
Circulated new clauses -
After clause 11, insert the following new clause : - “11a. - (1.) Upon the publication under sub-section (3.) of section ten of this Act of an instrument declaring an industrial organization to be an industrial organization to which that section applies, any office in that industrial organization or in a branch of that industrial organization held by a person in respect of whom a declaration is in force under this Act shall, by force of this Act, but subject to this section, become vacant. “ (2.) If, at the time of the publication of that instrument, the time within which an application may be made to the appropriate court by that person to set aside the declaration has not elapsed, that person shall, by force of this Act, be suspended from that office. “ (3.) Unless an application has been made to the appropriate court to set aside the declaration, that office shall, by force of this Act, become vacant upon the expiration of the twenty-eighth day after the day upon which the declaration was published in the Gazette. “ (4.) If an application is made to the appropriate court to set aside the declaration the suspension effected by sub-section (2.) of this section shall continue until the making of an order by the court upon the application. “ (5.) If the courtsets aside the declaration the suspension of the person concerned shall cease, but, if the court dismisses the application, the office held by that person shall, by force of this. Act, become vacant upon the day upon which the court dismisses the application. “ (6.) A person whose office becomes vacant under this section shall, for the purpose of the determination of his rights in respect of superannuation or other retirement benefit, be deemed to have resigned.”.
After clause 21, insert the following new clause : - “21a. The High Court or the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of the Commonwealth may award costs in all matters before it under this Act, including matters dismissed for want of jurisdiction.”.
Bill reported with amendments ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
The following papers were presented . -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of labour and National Service - J. C. Lowson.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -
Department of Civil Aviation purposes -
Postal purposes - Burnie, Tasmania.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance - 1950 - No. 2 - Building Operations Control Repeal Ordinance.
House adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 May 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500523_reps_19_207/>.