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Thursday, 4 April 1957

Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .- Most of us on this side of the House respect the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey); but that honorable gentleman did pass strictures on, or question the propriety of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) in taking part in a debate on the subject of a man's right to work in this country. He suggested that the National Parliament was not the place in which to raise that matter. I ask the honorable member for Bendigo: Is it not right that this National Parliament and the Minister for Labour and National Service of the Commonwealth should discuss any question which involves the freedom of a man to work? 1 also ask him: Should this National Parliament delegate to the Australian Council of Trades Unions the decision on the question of a man's freedom to do so? I do not think it should. I think that the Minister was perfectly in order in answering the question raised in the debate. The National Parliament is the right place for a discussion of a man's right to work.

The only other thing I should like to say is that yesterday we on this side of the House were accused of protecting the monopoly oil interests, in connexion with the legislative action taken in the Queensland Parliament. To-day. the antiCommunist " Grouper " Premier of Queensland is having legislation passed against the socalled oil monopoly, whereas his party colleague, Bukowski, is seeking to protect its interests. I am surprised that honorable members opposite have not raised that question in the House to-day.

Mr. CLYDECAMERON (Hindmarsh) [11.301. - I believe that the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) has struck the light note to-night in his reply to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the regrettable threat by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) that, unless the Australian Engineering Union bowed to the order of the honorable member for Mackellar, the Government would introduce legislation into this House to alter the Trademen's Rights Regulations Act as the honorable member for Mackellar desires.

I have watched with growing admiration the improvement in the general demeanour of the Minister for Labour and National Service since he became the Deputy Leader of the Liberal party in this House. I had hoped that this improvement in his status and sense of responsibility would have continued. But for the break to-night and his reference to a question this afternoon, 1 had begun to think that we would see the Minister developing into a responsible person who might one day become the Prime Minister. But that prospect seems to be disappearing now that we see him as a party to what is obviously a concocted arrangement, because the Minister knew in advance what the honorable member for Mackellar was going to say. He had his answers prepared.

It is obvious that there was some collusion between them. The arrangements were for the honorable member for Mackellar to raise the matter that is under debate. Then the Minister was to come in and make this threat against the trade union movement.

It seems remarkable that persons like the honorable member for Mackellar should come into this Parliament and criticize members of the Australian Labour party and members of the Commonwealth Council of the Australian Engineering Union for being Communists, because the association of the honorable member for Mackellar with the Communist party is well known, and is worth repeating now. He was the gentleman who at one time started a newspaper on the south coast of New South Wales called the " Illawarra Star ". Because he was not able to sell that rag, he decided to approach the Communist union officials of the Waterside Workers Federation. After several secret conferences in the lounge of Mr. Roach's house at Port

Kembla, the honorable member for Mackellar eventually decided to present what he called the " Illawarra Star " cup to the union which marched best in the sixhour day celebration.

What made it better was that, as a result of the arrangements made between the honorable member and Mr. Roach, it was decided that the six-hour day march would be held on May Day to give it the international flavour which they both thought should be given to the procession. To make sure that no anti-Communists would win the cup for the best marchers, it was arranged that some other Communist would be the judge of the best marchers. As a consequence of this arrangement, the Waterside Workers Federation members - who were by no means the best marchers in the procession, according to persons who were present - were awarded the cup.

The honorable member for Mackellar then said that he had great pleasure in. handing the cup over personally to Mr. Jim Healy, the Communist secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation. lt is recorded that, as he handed the cup to Mr. Healy, he said, " I hand you this cup wilh very great pleasure and congratulate you ". Thereupon, he shook hands with Mr. Healy before a camera, and we have a photograph in the Australian Labour party office in Sydney showing the honorable member for Mackellar shaking hands with Mr. Healy as he handed over the cup.

To prove that he was not just a pink, but a full-blooded Communist supporter of Mr. Healy and company, the honorable member for Mackellar decided to make a donation of £10 to the Communist members of the Waterside Workers Federation at Port Kembla, who were engaged in a strike in connexion with the pig iron dispute. So the people who were responsible for carrying on the pig iron dispute could boast that they were able to drink beer and eat pancakes, towards the cost of which the honorable member had made a contribution.

As time went on, the attitude of the honorable member for Mackellar to communism changed somewhat. He developed great solicitude for the Hungarian workers, but not for the Australian workers, particularly if the Australian was an ex-serviceman with six children. In the case of one such " Digger ", who lived on property owned by the Wentworth family in Port Kembla, arrangements were made, as a consequence of instructions given by the Wentworth family, for a bulldozer to be pushed into the house that was occupied by the

Digger " and his six children. The exserviceman was evicted from the home and put on to the street with nowhere to take himself and his family. The honorable member poses as a great friend of the Hungarian workers. The " Digger " with his six children, who was evicted, only wishes that the honorable member would show the same feeling towards Australian workers.

Having said that, I turn now to this other remarkable character, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight). I recollect clearly when the honorable member made a terrific speech in this House against compulsory unionism, which he described as a sort of Communist authoritarianism. Now, to the amusement of everybody who heard that speech, the honorable member has criticized the federal conference of the Australian Labour party because it abolished the plank of its platform on compulsory unionism and adopted something that is more moderate in its place.

I can remember the honorable gentleman telling this House time and time again what a rotter Vince Gair was, especially at the last election when he told us that Mr. Gair was the person responsible for all the ills in Queensland. He could not say anything bad enough about the Queensland Premier. Then, lo and behold, to-night we learn that Mr. Gair is a lily white. He is not such a bad fellow after all. The honorable member shed crocodile tears because Mr. Gair is likely to be pushed out of office.

Then he made an unfair attack on the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) by accusing that honorable member of deliberately staying away from caucus to avoid having to declare himself. The fact is that at that time, the honorable member for Kennedy had been involved in an unfortunate accident.

Mr Wight - That was six months later.

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