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Thursday, 13 October 1955

Mr W M BOURKE (Fawkner) . - From what I recall of this matter, which Mr. Dougherty apparently has instructed the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) to raise in the House-

Mr Edmonds - That is another lie.

Mr W M BOURKE - I made several remarks, and I must say that the honorable member has put up a pitifully weak case in defence of the man who told him to come here and defend him to-night. I did not say very much about Mr. Dougherty, but the gravamen of the case was that Mr. Dougherty, as secretary of the Australian Workers Union in New South Wales, apparently regarded himself as above and beyond the law of this country, and whereas, in respect of any ordinary citizen of the community who transgressed and broke the law, the law took its normal course, so that an ordinary citizen, whether a member of the community or a member of Parliament, would have to pay the penalty and face a charge in court, when Mr. Dougherty broke the law and a summons was issued against him for a traffic offence-

Mr Edmonds - A traffic breach.

Mr W M BOURKE - Did I not say that? Mr. Dougherty used his influence and had the case withdrawn. The honorable member for Herbert did not try to say that those statements were not true. What I said was true.

Mr Edmonds - The honorable member said that he was not a fit and proper person. That was not true.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable gentleman must be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr W M BOURKE - Apparently, Mr. Dougherty is not prepared to deny-

Mr Haylen - Oh, you are a smearer!

Mr W M BOURKE - Did you call for order, Mr. Deputy Speaker?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! I asked the honorable member for Herbert to allow the honorable member for Fawkner to speak.

Mr W M BOURKE - Apparently, Mr. Dougherty does not deny that those statements I made about him are true.

They are true. As for this ridiculous challenge to go and say these things outside the House-

Mr Edmonds - The honorable member is not going to do that, is he?

Mr W M BOURKE - Certainly, I shall accept that challenge. I shall go and do it to-night, or wait until next week, if the honorable member likes, and I shall read out whatever is reported in Ilansard about what I have said, and other matters could be added to it, too.

Mr Edmonds - Including what was said about the Premier of New South Wales?

Mr W M BOURKE - If the Premier of New South Wales wants to go on with that matter, we should be quite happy about that, too. If the Premier of New South Wales, and some of his colleagues, are prepared to throw open the books of the " slush " fund of their party and to disclose their personal assets position, we should be quite happy to go on with that matter also, though they have not shown very much readiness to do so. Anyhow, that is another matter.

What has the honorable member for Herbert to say about the disruptive activities of this man Dougherty regarding the Labour party in Queensland, and his attempts to wreck the Gair Government and drive it out of office, to defeat a Labour government which has been doing a great job for the people of Queensland? Why does not the honorable member for Herbert tell us that, when Mr. Dougherty and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) went up to Brisbane recently, they addressed a meeting in the Brisbane Trades Hall, and that that meeting was directed against the Gair Government? They want to get rid of Mr. Gair.

Government Supporters. - Hear, hear !

Mr W M BOURKE - Apparently, Mr. Dougherty has some allies. It is a well-known fact, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that when Mr. Dougherty and Mr. Ward announced their intention to go to Brisbane and launch their attack upon the Gair Government, the honorable member for Herbert was simply scared stiff about the matter. He was so frightened of what the repercussions might be, and of what the effect might be as far as he was concerned, that be stayed here in Canberra for the week-end. He was not game to go back to Brisbane, because he might have had to declare himself and go on the platform and side with Mr. Dougherty, or he might have had to stay away from the meeting and try to side with Mr. Gair, in which case his big friend, Mr. Dougherty, would have had him on the carpet. So this brave man stayed here in Canberra and kept out of the way, in order that he might not put himself in such an invidious position. He was not game to go to Brisbane, because he was too frightened to be lined up with this man Dougherty in the attempts he is making to smash and get rid of the Gair Government.

I do not know whether Mr. Dougherty really is complaining because somebody said something about him in this Parliament, but I point out that Mr. Dougherty runs a newspaper called the Australian Worker, and he sends copies of it to some honorable members here, at times when he is attacking them and bashing them. I have received a few copies of that newspaper from Mr. Dougherty. He devotes page after page to attacking people he does not like, and he prints their photographs in that newspaper.

Mr Edmonds - But he leaves himself open. He does not sneak into this chamber and do it.

Mr W M BOURKE - As regards the statement that we are sneaking in here to do it, I say that if Mr. Dougherty made that challenge, I am very glad to accept it.

Mr Hulme - Let him make the challenge.

Mr W M BOURKE - Yes. I do not know that he really has made it. I invite the honorable member for Herbert to state that Mr. Dougherty wishes these statements to be made outside the House, and I shall be very happy to oblige him.

I might say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that I imagine that not too many members of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labour party would be very happy to come in and support the honorable member for Herbert, or to support Mr. Dougherty, because in addition to doing his best to wreck the Gair Labour Government in Queensland, Mr. Dougherty has been conducting constant warfare against the democratically elected executive of the New South Wales branch of the Labour party, for no other reason than that those people refused to be the stooges of Mr. Dougherty, and refused to do what he instructed them to do. It is a well-known fact that, when Mr. Dougherty was elected to the executive there a couple of years ago, he was associated with the groupers in those days. But he broke with the groupers because the executive of the New South Wales Labour party would not give him one of the plums and make him a member of the Sydney Council.

Mr Keon - He wanted to be Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Mr W M BOURKE - He wanted to get into the council. He had his eye on something. Because they would not let him do that, he started to sulk and would not play with them any more. From that moment, he set out to wreck the New South Wales executive of the Labour party, and he has done a pretty good job of it.

Mr Roberton - Who is this Mr. Dougherty?

Mr Keon - He is just a Sydney gangster.


Mr W M BOURKE - Mr. Dougherty, apparently, conducts his activities on a nation-wide scale. As I have indicated, already he is attempting to wreck the Gair Government, and he has been attacking the members of the New South Wales executive of the Labour party. Why they put up with him, I do not know. Why they have allowed him to get away with it and break all rules of the Labour party, I do not know, either. Perhaps they are just as scared of him as is the honorable member for Herbert. Mr. Dougherty also had a hand in what happened in Victoria. As a matter of fact, it is well known that before things split up in Victoria, Mr. Dougherty promised, through his union, to put up sufficient money to run break-away left-wing candidates against the official branch of the Labour party in that State. He would put up the money because he was determined that if he could not control the Labour party, not merely in New South Wales, but throughout the Commonwealth, and that if he could not get all the people to do just what he wanted them to do, he would smash it up. In the past, before Dougherty got control of it, the Australian Workers Union had a magnificent tradition of fighting communism and of pro-Australianism. That tradition has gone.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - (Order ! The honorable member's time has expired.

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