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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr MENZIES - 1 referred, at a somewhat unreasonable hour last night or this morning, to this case, but I am very happy to have the opportunity of re-stating the position, because 1 have observed a further reference to it in the newspapers this morning. As soon as I read about this allegation I, of course, got in touch with the Commonwealth security organization to find out what substance there was in it. The answer rs that it is not the business of the Commonwealth security organization to supply security information about applicants for appointment either to the Wagga Teachers' Training College, which was one of the places mentioned, or to the University of New South Wales, or to any other State institution, which would include the State universities. In point of fact, the Commonwealth security organization did not supply 3ny information at all in relation to these matters.

I think that the confusion in some minds arises from this fact: The States, all of which conduct institutions of one kind or another, have their own police departments, which in every instance have a special branch dealing with matters of security from the State point of view. In these circumstances, it may well be that a State government would make some reference to its own special branch or to its own police authorities. That is the business of the State governments. But this bogy about the Commonwealth security organization, as if it were all-pervading, butting in where it was not wanted, ought to be destroyed. The fact is that there is no foundation in this case, or in another to which I referred yesterday in this House, for the allegation that the security organization of the Commonwealth had some part in what happened. I do urge honorable members, in the interests of this country, to seek to draw a proper distinction between the security activities of the Commonwealth and of the States. Let me remind honorable members that the Commonwealth organization is not a party organization; it began under the previous Government, very properly, and it has been continued under us. I reject the idea, and I hope that honorable members will resent it, that every time a report has been made about some one, it must have been made by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

Here are two cases that have been ventilated in this House. They have been given great headlines in the newspapers. But each contains an utterly false allegation about the Commonwealth security organization.

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