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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .- I associate myself completely with the sentiments expressed by honorable members on the Government side. I have just listened to a speech by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) with which I do not agree. People hearing the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for the first time would think his speech very effective, but those of us who are constantly in this chamber and who heard his recent speeches on foreign affairs have a very different view of his effectiveness. During the course of his remarks, he criticized the conduct of a certain polling booth in the Calare electorate. In my electorate there is one polling booth at which, at all elections in which I have been interested except one - and they number five - 40 votes have been polled for the Labour candidate and one vote - that of my scrutineer - for me. At the remaining election, there were two votes for me and 39 for Labour, and the Labour Party conducted a witch hunt in an endeavour to find out who the second man was. It is absolutely futile to argue that there is any skulduggery in the conduct of the ballots in these areas. The plain truth is that some people in the country will not have a bar of Labour.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition then talked about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when pleading for a vote for the aborigines. I understand that the Labour Party believes in extending the principles of that declaration to the Congolese natives, to the Tanganyikans, and other black people in Africa, and to the dark men in Asia, but its members do not extend them to the good Australian worker who is not allowed freedom of association. Nor are the principles of the declaration extended to the Labour Party's own members for they are denied freedom of speech.

Mr Reynolds - Rubbish!

Mr ANDERSON - It is not rubbish. Does the honorable member say that compulsory unionism is in accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? The Australian worker is not allowed the ordinary freedoms which the Australian Labour Party demands for every Tom, Dick and Harry in every other part of the world.

I look upon this proposal as an attempt to gain political advantage. Everybody should know that there are many difficult problems associated with aborigines which have yet to be settled. It is because we have those problems that a select committee is being appoined. If members of the Labour Party do not understand the problems associated with giving every aboriginal in Australia a vote, then they do not know anything about the life of Australian aborigines. For instance, I challenge any honorable member to discover the address of many of these aborigines.

I do not look upon this proposal as a genuine attempt to obtain a vote for the aborigine. I look upon it as an attack upon the Australian Constitution. I look upon it as a suggestion of a type of apartheid. This House has already agreed to the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the best methods of dealing with this great problem of giving the Australian aborigines the right to vote. Now the Opposition comes forward with a carte blanche proposal which it knows is not in the interest of the Australian aborigines. There is a tendency to-day for those who have not the interests of the native people at heart to try to hurry them along the road to progress. That is dangerous. Just imagine a walkabout aboriginal being subjected to pressure from a Labour, a Liberal or a Country Party politician! Does any one think the aboriginal could form a judgment on the problems that beset us in those circumstances?

Mr Peters - I do not think the honorable member could do so.

Mr ANDERSON - I know a great deal more about the natives than you do. The Opposition is trying to induce this Parliament to agree to something that has been submitted purely for political reasons yet it denies to its own members the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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