Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 4 April 1957


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the honorable member for

Lilley (Mi-. Wight) both suffer from a prolonged morbid juvenility. The time has arrived when they ought to grow up. They cannot always come into this National Parliament and, under a pretence of making a statement in support of certain Hungarian refugees who are allegedly being denied admittance to a trade union, finish with an attack on the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and state explicitly that he is the person who is responsible for a particular policy of a trade union.

The Labour party has made its position clear time and time again in regard to communism, and we will wear down this campaign of misrepresentation and distortion. Let me put on record here to-night what the Leader of the Opposition said in his policy speech, delivered at Hurstville. in New South Wales, on 6th May, 1954. He said-

Dealing with national defence, I desire to add that Labour's attitude to any subversive or seditious activity by Communists is absolutely definite and clear. When in 1949 we were faced wilh evidence of an organized attempt to injure the essential defence project of the Woomera Rocket Range we never hesitated for a moment. We acted. V/e passed special legislation through the Parliament and we ended any threat to defence security. Similarly, whenever facts came before us warranting charges of seditious activity or breaches of a security law by Communists and others, we acted. Convictions were obtained and punishment imposed. Similarly, during the coal crisis of 1949 we did not talk, we acted Deeds not words.

In matters of vital defence security the Labour party will act vigorously, energetically and without the slightest delay.

I am certain that the Leader of the Opposition knew nothing of these allegations until he had read them in the newspapers. His position, as Leader of the Australian Labour party, in regard to the activities of trade unions, is not that of a master who can dictate or direct what shall be done. He acts properly by consulting the trade union movement on matters that are principally political. What Mr. Monk, the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and Mr. H. O. Davis, the president of the Australian Workers Union, have said about the revolution in Hungary, and the praise they bestowed on the social democrats, the university people and the students intheir attempt to overthrow communism, could never have been better stated by anybody in this House or elsewhere. Even if there was some justification for the charge that has been made to-night by the honorable members opposite who have spoken on this matter - which I do not admit, because 1 do not know the facts any more than the two honorable gentlemen who have spoken know them - there is an Australian engineering union other than the Amalgamated Engineering Union that these people can join. I am sure those honorable gentlemen are no more concerned about the Hungarians than they are about any other people in the community. They are using them as a stalking horse. I am satisfied of the integrity of the Hungarian people. I am satisfied that the Communist party will always strive to prevent immigrants from coming to this country. I had experience of that in 1949 when the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia tried to deny new Australians, brought in by the Chifley Government, the right to work in the steel industry in Newcastle, Port Kembla and other places. We fought a good fight, and won. That fight was won by the trade union movement, as the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) has said. I am prepared to leave all these things to be decided by the trade union movement, because I trust the good common sense and the basic Australianism of the members of that movement and their desire to help their fellow workers in a spirit of mateship.


Mr Riordan - They are true democrats.


Mr CALWELL - Yes, the average trade unionist has no compeer when it comes to democracy. He treats his fellow worker as a mate, regardless of race or creed or colour or anything else, and he certainly does not set out to exploit him for political or other purposes.

I hope that these attacks on the Leader of the Opposition, particularly when he is absent from the chamber, will cease. I hope that we shall see an end to this organized campaign waged every now and then during debates on the motion for the adjournment of the House by three members of the Liberal party who want to pose as the great champions of anti-communism in this country, and whose allegations are not being accepted by even their fellow members in the Government parties to-day. I think that Government supporters are sick and tired of the activities and the nonsense of the three honorable gentleman 1 have in mind. They remind me of three people in England who petitioned the Parliament at Westminster, claiming to speak for the whole of the people of England. They were the three tailors of Toolcy-street. They began their petition with the words, " We. the people of England ". The three honorable gentlemen to whom I am referring say, in effect, " We, the people o£ Australia ". 11 they think they can bluff the people of this country with anti-communism of the spurious type they promulgate and propagate, they are making a serious mistake.







Suggest corrections