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Thursday, 2 June 1949

Mr RANKIN (Bendigo) .-The House is discussing to-night four bills which seek the appropriation of money to j>r'.'v:-de for the services of the Govern- ment for the next four mouths. A great many subjects have been dealt with by honorable members during the debate on these measures. Some strange statements have been made by honorable members on the Government side of the House. For instance, the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) accused Opposition members, and particularly the members of the Liberal party, who are quite capable of looking after themselves, of being the friends of the organization known as the Friends of the Soviet Union and supporters of the Aid to Russia movement. He said that in all States the Australian Labour party had instructed its members to keep absolutely clear of the people associated with these activities because they were Communists. That instruction may have been issued in Queensland, but if it was issued in other States it was ignored. I well remember that when Russia was allied with Germany in the war with the Allied powers the Friends of the Soviet Union marched through the streets of Bendigo. In the second rank of marchers was the Honorable L. W. Galvin, the deputy leader of the Australian Labour party in Victoria, Mr. De Grandi, an old friend of mine, Mr. Duus and other prominent members of the Australian Labour party. These representatives of Labour gallantly marched behind the red flag, taking their place alongside the Friends of the Soviet Union notwithstanding that the Soviet Union was then opposed to the British Empire. No matter what honorable members opposite say, they cannot get away from the fact that the Menzies Government banned the Communist party and put the well-known Communists, Thomas and Ratliff, behind bars, and that immediately after the Labour Government had assumed office it schemed to release Thomas and Ratliff without incurring the opporbium of the people. The honorable member for Herbert accused the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) of rushing round and shaking hands with the members of the Friends of the Soviet Union and of waving the red flag at a time when Russia was our ally. The memhers of the Australian Labour party supported those people when Russia was our enemy. Long before then the Australian

Country party had made its position in relation to the Communists quite clear. We said that we would have nothing to do with them and that we would ban ti"* Communist party and drive its members underground like rabbits and after they were driven underground we would gas them if we could. The great majority of the people who are leading these antiBritishers are importations from another country. The Minister for Immigration (M.r. Calwell) proposes soon to introduce a bill to amend the Immigration Act to give the Government power to deport certain people.

Mr Edmonds - He should be in the House.

Mr RANKIN - There are many occasions on which the honorable member for

Herbert is absent from the House. We hope that after the next election he will be absent for a very long period.

Mr Lemmon - The honorable member for Bendigo will not be here after the next election, for he was not game to stand.

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