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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) .- That there is a need for the maintenance of the security service within the nation no one seriously disputes, and that this need should have been appreciated and, what is more, acted upon by the traditional Labour party in Australia, when in office, is also understandable. Any one with any political acumen knows that the Labour party is the traditional crucible of the freedoms of the people. That has been so with the parties of the left in the centuries before the emergence of what we now know as the traditional Labour party. Equally, it is true to say that the conservative parties of the right have been known, in the past, for their traditional reactionary approach to the subject of civil liberties which have in numerous cases - all too numerous, unfortunately - been curtailed in those essentially selfish interests which the party represents in the councils of the various nations. lt is no uncommon thing, unfortunately, for the individual, or for a mass of individuals, for that reason, to be stripped of their personal freedom in order that the privileges of the few may be maintained. Therefore, we can conclude with equal confidence that when any such action is taken by the Labour party, the essential freedoms and rights of the individual will be protected and that they will be reduced only to the minimum necessary for maintaining that degree of security which defence of our way of life entails. It is not without significance that the Liberal party is now acting in a manner designed to preserve, not the personal freedom of the individual, but the rights and privileges of those few persons who comprise the security service, whose job it is to deprive the mass of the people of their essential personal freedoms and security. The job of security is to deprive people of their essential freedoms, should that be necessary to protect our defence system or our way of life. We admit, of course, that that is an essential function. I do not suppose that, even in a well-run security service, those employed in it take any pleasure in their job. Unfortunately, as 1 shall indicate later, events have proved that there are bestial men and women who lake a sheer sadistic delight in depriving the individual of his freedoms.

We find ourselves confronted to-day with a measure which is designed to protect not the people who are threatened with loss of their personal freedoms, but those who are to do the depriving. Security services the world over employ unsavoury methods, including spying, lying, telephone tapping, impersonation, interception of correspondence, and pitting father against son. The very nature of the duties of the secret service calls for certain qualifications which must be sought by those responsible for selecting the personnel. Despite _ the numerous incidents of deprivation of individual freedom that we have seen in recent years, I believe that the future is bright, and that our essential freedoms will be not only maintained but also enhanced. But, of course, that involves action of a constructive nature. We just cannot sit back and allow these services to operate without the most stringent supervision that it is possible to exercise. I do not suggest, of course, that the type of action we should take is that suggested by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). I sincerely hope that the honorable member was not stating the views of Brigadier Spry when he expressed certain opinions in this House to-day. 1 am sorry that he is not in the chamber to hear what I am saying, but having seen him in conclave with Brigadier Spry after the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) spoke last night, I repeat that I hope that the views of the honorable member for Moreton are not also those of Brigadier Spry. Such a warped approach to a matter of this kind could result only in the direst disaster to our way of life, which we value so highly. I make that statement advisedly. I should not like it to be thought that I am making a personal attack upon the honorable member for Moreton: I am merely attacking his ideas. After all. we can oppose each other's ideas without being personal.

The duties of security officers leave so much room for abuse that serious consideration must be given to this aspect when selecting employees of the service. The qualifications of the chief security officer are most important. As one who has served in numerous capacities on the Army staff, I can say without hesitation that the military approach and the military intellect are totally inadequate for security purposes. Therefore, regardless of the personal qualities of Brigadier Spry, I maintain that a man who has been educated on military lines and has a purely military outlook, and who is quite unsuited to administer the security service. As many of us know,

Army methods involve the complete negation of personal freedom - and rightly so, because that is essential to the function of the Army in war-time. Those honorable members who have had military experience will appreciate that what I say is true. On turning the pages of history, we find that the judiciary has cradled our liberties and essential freedoms, as instanced by the battles between Chief Justice Coke and Sir Francis Bacon in the seventeenth century.

The greatest battles for the preservation of personal freedoms have been fought by the judiciary, and that is why, in the past, we have stressed the need for an independent judiciary, rather than the kind of judiciary that exists, for instance, in South Africa to-day. The preservation of the independence of the judiciary is the only way in which we can resist the encroachments that are made from time to time upon personal freedoms by the executive or the government of the day. When the Labour party introduced legislation to establish a security service in 1948, it appreciated that fact, just as it does to-day. Indeed, since the supervision of Mr. Justice Reed and others has been removed from the service, the need for such responsible control has become most apparent. There is a need for impartial, dispassionate and objective control, and for the intellect of a man with a philosophic approach, rather than that of a man with a purely militaristic approach. We all know that the military staff officer loves to deal with files, to place on them red tabs marked " urgent ", " top secret ", or " emergency operations ", although most of them should be placed in the "selfanswering " tray and left there. That is the difference between the approach of the military mind and that of the legal or judicial mind.

I suggest that many of the criticisms which we on this side of the chamber level at the security service, and which this bill does nothing to answer, arise from lack of supervision of the service. That is the main ground on which the Opposition bases its objection to the bill. Another ground of criticism, of course, is the abuse of the system that we have seen. Because of inadequate supervision, selection of the wrong type of employee, and the absence of adequate safeguards, we have witnessed character assassination and the deprivation, without redress, of the livelihood of individuals. Although we have a so-called democratic system in this country, encroachments by the executive, or the government of the day, upon individual freedoms are only too apparent. This legislation contains no safety valve, no means whereby justice may be done to a man who has been unjustly accused. Even though cleared of the charge, he will not be able to remove the smear. For that reason the Australian Labour party opposes the bill. We say that until the Government provides a system of appeals so that an individual may not be wrongfully deprived of his freedom or, what is more important, of his honour, the measure will be opposed. It just cannot succeed.

My argument is strengthened by a study of a test case that came before the Supreme Court of America in May last, the decision on which had the effect of limiting the application of loyalty tests, and the activities generally of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In commenting upon this matter, President Eisenhower made the following remarks, which are reported in the " Christian Science Monitor ", of 16th May, 1956:-

In this country if some one dislikes you or accuses you he must come up in front. He cannot assassinate you or your character from behind without suffering the penalties of an outraged citizenry. If we are going to be proud that we are Americans, there must be no weakening of the codes by which we have lived, as, for example, the right to meet your accuser face to face, your right to speak your mind and be respected.

The case in question concerned Dr. John Peters, who was employed in the American Public Service in what was known as a non-sensitive job. Despite the fact that he was accused on sixteen different counts, and that not one of his accusers was present at any of the loyalty tests that were applied, or before the loyalty review board of the American Civil Service, he eventually cleared himself to the satisfaction of all concerned, but not to the satisfaction of his employer. His employer said, in effect, " You have been cleared, we admit, but for security reasons we must insist on your dismissal ". That was the situation that developed, and the nine black-robed gentlemen of the Supreme Court of the United States of America upheld his appeal for reinstatement. That is the kind of happening that the Australian Labour party has in mind when it objects to this bill in its present form. There must be provision for appeal.

This trend that I am now discussing culminated in what we know as McCarthyism. The cult of McCarthyism was finally carried to such extremes that overseas State Department representatives of America were instructed to destroy any books in the overseas offices of the State Department that were regarded as subversive. Even the story of Robin Hood was banned in America, because it was supposed to be subversive and capable of undermining the morale of young children. So we find that, because of the perverse distortions of warped, sadistic minds, there are these reactionary, contradictory and non-British activities. McCarthyism had its effect, also, upon the American diplomatic service. In 1947, an American diplomat in China was asked by a correspondent why he did not write anything about the Eighth Route Army, and he replied, " It is all right for me to damn and denounce the corruptness of the regime of Chiang Kai-shek, but, knowing how things are back home, I dare not say anything about the Eighth Route Army that may be construed as being in favour of it, or I may lose my job ". The American diplomatic service operated on that basis, because the cult of McCarthyism, which culminated in abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a body that is more or less equivalent to our security service, prevented American diplomatic representatives from making honest and factual reports. We know that the leaders of a nation base their judgment upon such reports when formulating national policy, and the policy to be adopted with regard to foreign countries.

This aspect of the matter has also been stressed in an excellent article in the 'Adelaide News" of Tuesday, 31st May, 1955, which reads -

Two distinguished and responsible American political correspondents last week filed from Washington a report which is being studied with interest in Canberra. The report was written by the brothers Joseph and Stewart Alsop. It deals with the security curtain which, they say, increasingly enshrouds U.S. governmental activity. The brothers Alsop claim that in the persuasive name of " security " the American Government is depriving the American people of much information essential for the formation of proper political judgments. 1 stress that last point by repeating it -

The American Government is depriving the American people of much information essential for the formation of proper political judgments.

That is exactly what the security service, as set up by the present Government, is doing to-day. In fact, when one considers the examples given earlier to-day by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), one finds that many people, who would make excellent Australian citizens, are being deprived of an opportunity to come here because an arbitrary decision is made which affects the possibility of their enjoying a contented future.

When a system such as is developing in Australia is allowed to operate, amazing results can flow from testimony given by professional perjurers. In this respect I refer to a man named Harvey Matusow who is a self-styled and self-confessed professional perjurer in the United States of America. The " Christian Science Monitor " of 5th March, 1955, when referring to a congressional inquiry before which Mr. Matusow was indicted, said -

This is' the hearing to determine whether short, youthful, glib-talking Harvey Matusow is telling the truth now when he says he was really a perpetual and habitual liar while serving as an eager government witness in the past few years, when charging some 245 persons with communism or Communist associations.

Matusow. incidentally, testified against Professor Owen Lattimore. Rowland Sawyer, in an article in the "Christian Science Monitor" of 11th February, 1955, said-

I know personally of a government official who was charged with being a security risk, and his case finally turned upon whether or not he had written a letter to Dr. Owen Lattimore beginning. " Dear Owen ", or " Dear Dr. Lattimore ". However, he was able to locate the letter which proved he had begun, " Dear Dr. Lattimore ", and so this individual was cleared as a security risk.

He was cleansed of a smear cast by Matusow, who admitted that he had made false charges in 245 cases. The article in the " Christian Science Monitor " to which I have referred continues -

The paradox of Harvey Matusow, who says he is a liar and that many will not believe him

Mr.Matusow testified 25 times before assorted security agencies and official inquiries, pointing his finger at scores of organizations and individuals, some of whom were convicted largely through his testimony. Now 28 years old, Mr. Matusow says he lied, and one more reason arises for an investigation of the Government security system.

The Labour party says that, before it is too late and before further abuses occur under the system now operating in Australia, we should provide in the bill for further safeguards. If that and other amendments were included, we should support the bill.

The selection of the people to do this work is important. We do not want a repetition of what occurred in the Petrov inquiry, when evidence was given by a Miss A. - I know her name, but 1 shall not mention it now, for obvious reasons - a woman who had left a mental asylum not long previously. Where Miss A. is now. we do not know. Is that the type of person who is to be employed by the Australian security service? When men are threatened with deprivation, not only of their freedom, but of their very livelihoods by tactics of sneer, smear and character assassination, without hope of redress, the selection of personnel for this organization is very important. The task should be entrusted only to a person of the highest intellect and character. To ensure that our freedom will be protected, the head of the security service should be a justice - a member of the judiciary independent of parliamentary control - and there should be a system of appeals to an independent tribunal that could not be influenced by the Executive. Although I disagree with what the honorable member for Moreton has saidI hope that I should be the first to defend his right to say it, if that were necessary.

The honorable member for Mackellar wants open identification of Communists. I agree that that could be necessary. But is he concerned only with the subversive activities of Communists? Surely there are equally bad and equally heinous activities by fascists. There appears to be at least as great a need to watch the activities of fascists as of Communists. The honorable member for Mackellar suggests that tribunals be established only for branding Communists. He has not defined what he would regard as Communist activities, but I suspect that his definition of a Communist is any one who disagrees with his political philosophy.

Mr Pearce - What is the honorable member's definition of a fascist?

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I shall refrain from making personal reflection on the honorable member. I believe that fascism and communism are both characterized by absolutism. Under fascism and communism something is imposed from the top down wards. That is the antithesis of democracy which is a welling up of the will of the people and an acceptance of the idea that the State exists for the service of the people

What does the honorable member for Moreton suggest should be the course of action open to a man who is wrongfully indicted, wrongfully exposed to public contempt and wrongfully deprived of hit means of livelihood? A great number of actions would be brought in the courts for damages for defamation of character libel and slander, if the experience of the security service so far, with its underhand charges or charges made under the cloak-

Mr Joske - What about charges such a? that which was made this afternoon under the cover of parliamentary privilege?

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - If the honorable member is in the habit of doing that, ) cannot help it, and accept him as an authority on such abuses.

Mr Joske - You know perfectly well what I am referring to.

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - On the safeguard.necessary to prevent abuse of the system of open identification, the honorable member for Mackellar was silent. The Opposition says that the bill is no good, because adequate safeguards are not provided. We say also that it is not good to have in charge of the security service the military mind trained in the denial of civil and individual rights and freedom.

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