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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- The observations of the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) represented as priceless a piece of humbug as one could imagine. He referred to principles and said that all Australian aborigines should have a vote. I have been a jackaroo on properties in the far west of Queensland, and I know that some of the aborigines on the mustering camps have seen an aeroplane go over and have referred to it as a high-powered buggy. I put it to the honorable gentleman and to the committee: Do honorable members believe that one could take hold of a mentality of that description and project it into a civilized community and make it embrace all the responsibilities of democracy and understand the obligations and complexities of voting? If so, the honorable gentleman and the committee, indeed, are seriously misunderstanding the intelligence of the aborigines.

The House came to an agreement - I would have imagined that it was an eminently sensible, fair, and, above all, rational agreement - that it would appoint representatives, on a non-partisan basis, to consider the full ramifications of this problem. Do honorable members believe that one could go out to some of the aborigines in the far west of Queensland and say to them, in homely style: " Brothers, you have a vote on Saturday. You must vote for Labour"? If the honorable member for Reid did so the aborigines would be puzzled and I do not know whether they would regard him as a great white chief or as a specialist in yo-yo.

This is a serious problem to which I would have thought the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth), with his impeccable sense of honesty and judgment, had devoted his attention. But honorable members opposite, and in particular the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), have sought to make political capital out of it. I believe that one observation which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition made this afternoon stands as a blot upon his escutcheon and upon that of the Labour Party. It was one of the most monstrous observations I would have believed possible to have been made by any person in this place, and if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) had been in the chamber no doubt he would have turned to him and hit him either with his hand or with a tranquillizing dart in a sensitive part of his anatomy. He accused the presiding officers in federal elections of skulduggery.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And quite right, too. They all do it in the back country.

Mr KILLEN - Aha, here it is! This sounds like choir practice. I am pleased to find that the honorable member agrees with his deputy leader.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - There is skulduggery, plenty of it.

Mr KILLEN - The honorable member repeats it. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, when 1 interjected with characteristic courtesy, said to me, " It is crook, and you know it ". All I can say is that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was reminded of the circumstances which took place when the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) was disappointed in the ballot. He said to him, " lt is crook, and you know it ". And there he is! He has reflected that statement here this evening. I believe his was a monstrous charge to make against the presiding officers; to accuse them of skulduggery, and to say to them, " It is crook, and you know it ". I hope that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) with his sense of justice, will rise during the course of this debate and apologize 10 the committee for what one may euphemistically describe as the mental aberration of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He should be ashamed of himself.

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