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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr PETERS (Scullin) .- Every time I hear in this House accusations, such as those made to-night by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), that members of the Australian Labour party are Communists or the stooges of communism, 1 shall rise in my place to repudiate the statements. Not merely do. I desire to repudiate the statements, but, if this Parliament is to be not a place in which economic, social and political issues are to be discussed but a place in which the reputations of men are to be smeared by members on the Government side, then I. too, can take my part in that occupation 1 charge the Government with consisting of men who have been irresponsible in the performance of their duties to the men and women of this community. The condition* of luxury that they and those who stand behind them enjoy are at the expense of the aged in this community and of the wage-earner whose quarterly basic wage adjustments have been taken away from him. The luxury in which supporters of the Government live is at the expense of those who in my electorate are unable to secure homes. The supporters of the Government are men who are well endowed with the goods of the world. There are. however, some who are not so well endowed. They belong to the working class but betray the principles of the working class so that, by association with the powersthatbe in this country, they are able to secure for themselves many of the desirable things in this community.

I have repudiated, as others on this side of the House have repudiated, the accusations that we support the Communist party or are stooges of the Communist party. The Labour party through the years has held aloft the torch of freedom. Because members of the Labour party in days gone by held aloft the torch of freedom and fought for the economic and social improvement of the people of this country, they were vilified and described as anarchists by the class that is represented by the Government here to-day. Members of the Australian Labour party were called anarchists when they sought to establish the Commonwealth Bank. They were said to be seeking to destroy the bonds of Empire when they established the Royal Australian Navy. They were described as the instigators of immorality when they introduced motherhood endowment, with benefit in respect of each baby.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (WANNON, VICTORIA) Mr, MalcolmFraser interjecting,

Mr PETERS - Our friend laughs. He does not remember that motherhood endowment was ridiculed as a bangle bonus by the class to which he belongs, or that supporters of the present Government said in those days that the endowment was loosening the ties of marriage. Inevitably, that attitude is adopted towards people who stand against greed and avarice and on the side of economic justice in the community, and towards people who stand for equitable, decent conditions for age pensioners, for the provision of homes, for adequate and just taxation at the expense of the wealthy. Likewise, people who stand for the provision of farms throughout the country at the expense of the graziers, of whom our friend who just interjected is one, will, of course, be vilified. Such people will be vilified by the honorable member for Moreton and the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). They will be vilified by all who sit on the benches opposite, but in that vilification we take the greatest pride.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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