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Thursday, 1 September 1994
Page: 810

Senator ABETZ (3.51 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans), to a question without notice asked by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Hill) this day, relating to a meeting of the league of rights.

The little exercise in which this parliament has been engaged in recent times concerning the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Downer) addressing a certain meeting in South Australia is a very sad reflection. It has been an attempt by the Labor Party to smear my leader and to assert a degree of guilt by association.

  What has been shown today is that one should not throw stones if one lives in glass houses. Indeed, the Labor Party is the kettle trying to call the pot black. We have a situation where the Australian Labor Party has endorsed and put forward to the people of Australia as a suitable candidate to be in this parliament the member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Campbell), a member of the parliament who has addressed the League of Rights.

  However, more importantly than just addressing the League of Rights, which allegedly my leader has done and Mr Campbell, the member for Kalgoorlie, has done, we now have a situation where the Labor opposition leader in Western Australia has issued invitations to the Australian Heritage Society, which proudly says that it is a subsidiary of the League of Rights in this country. Mr Ian Taylor, the Leader of the Opposition in Western Australia, sent this invitation for morning tea to these members and indicated that they could RSVP on the telephone number of the Leader of the Opposition. I defy those on the Australian Labor Party side of politics who so self-righteously beat their breasts the other day to also beat their breasts about Graeme Campbell and the Leader of the Opposition in Western Australia.

  Indeed, we have a Prime Minister (Mr Keating) who says that his pin-up boy in politics is none other than Jack Lang. What were Jack Lang's policies? The Prime Minister would be associated with Jack Lang all the time. He moved within the New South Wales division of the Labor Party to allow Jack Lang back into the Labor Party. What were Jack Lang's policies in relation to Jewish immigration? They are in Jack Lang's memoirs; they are in his book. We all know that he was opposed to Jewish immigration because Jews engaged in a terrible business of the black market, according to Jack Lang—a clear anti-Semitic embraced by Paul Keating, our Prime Minister. Yet the Prime Minister and the Labor Party have the audacity to parade around this country saying that the Leader of the Opposition is guilty by association.

  Indeed, Jack Lang also was very proud of the fact that one of the central parts of the Labor Party policy in his day was the white Australia policy—another element of gross racism. That the Prime Minister embraces Jack Lang as a symbol of the Labor Party, as a symbol of Labor heritage and as a symbol of Labor policy that ought be continuing through into 1994 indicates that we have a great hypocritical party on the other side. Even Senator Burns has to try to bury his head in the newspaper because it is all too embarrassing for him, and I do not blame him.

  But the real point of this contribution is to pay a tribute, I suppose, to Senator Coulter, who, I think, gave notice of a very good and sensible motion this morning. Senator Kemp is surprised, as indeed, I must say, I am, because I did not necessarily think I would be finding myself on my feet supporting Senator Coulter. Both of us might become guilty within each other's parties by way of associating with each other.

  What Senator Coulter said was a very sensible, rational thing to say. That was: `just because you address a meeting of a certain group of people does not mean that you necessarily embrace their ideology or their views.' Indeed, I have addressed Trotskyist organisations in Tasmania—and it might come as a surprise to the Labor Party, but I am no Trotskyite! This ought to be a lesson to us all that, as members of parliament, we have a duty to address and listen to all groups within the community, but not necessarily embrace their philosophies.