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
Wednesday, 8 March 1961


Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- I want to mention an important matter this evening in which I have become involved quite by chance and quite innocently. Last Sunday night the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was on a television session in Brisbane called " Meet the Press ". I am bound to say that I think he was suitably billed because in the daily paper which heralded his arrival in Brisbane and advised the people that he was appearing on television he was styled in this way - " Calwell on Meet the Press ' Channel 7 10 p.m. Sunday " and immediately beneath mat appeared - " Nightmare Comedy ".

When the honorable gentleman was on television and was being quizzed by the gentlemen of the press he adverted to a unity ticket and made what plainly was a preposterous claim. My colleague, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) with his abiding affection for the truth, corrected him. The following day the Leader of the Opposition, with his characteristic trait for putting his foot in it, denied what the honorable member for Lilley had said. What my colleague had to say was simply that the particular example of the unity ticket with which the Leader of the Opposition had been confronted had been brought under his notice by me many months before and the honorable gentleman denied it. In some respects the Leader of the Opposition is quite correct, but his unhappy circumstance is that he has seen so many unity tickets and has taken so little notice of them that he is hopelessly confused.

What are the facts? Last year, as the House wm recall, I asked the honorable gentleman in his new-found role as Leader of the Opposition whether, in conformity with the declared policy of the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party, he would take some action in relation to unity tickets. I cited the unity ticket operating in the Victorian branch of the Australian Railways Union. I also adverted to a unity ticket which had been in the course of preparation in the Waterside Workers Federation in Victoria. But now the honorable gentleman, with his affection for abuse and his disregard for the facts, said that this was complete nonsense and referred to me - I thought in rather unkind language - as a Charlie McCarthy. I was deeply upset about it! Whenever the honorable gentleman is put on a spot he resorts to the characteristic line of abusing the individual md ignoring the argument. In Queensland, on this occasion, the honorable gentleman has been confronted with a unity ticket on which the name of one of the Australian Labour Party's candidates for the Senate election, Mr. Arnell, appears with the names of members of the Communist Party. There is a member of the Australian Labour

Party on a unity ticket with members of the Communist Party, but the honorable gentleman tries to brush this aside, as he has in the past. He wrote to a gentleman in Queensland, who is a member of an opposing political party-


Mr Calwell - Which party?


Mr KILLEN - He wrote to Mr. Judge, a member of the Queensland Labour Party; but that does not matter. What does matter is what you said in reply to him. The Leader of the Opposition said -

In reply to your two letters of July 26th and August 16th concerning an alleged unity ticket which has been drawn up for the election of office bearers in the A.M.I.E.U. and which you sent to me with accompanying documents because of what you were pleased to call "your undertaking publicly given at the time of your TV appearance in Brisbane", I desire to inform you that my invitation was addressed not to members of the Queensland Labour Party or the Liberal Party or any other anti-Labour group seeking to pry into the affairs of the Australian Labour Party, but to members of the Australian Labour Party who are genuinely anxious to have the facts concerning charges of unity tickets investigated and dealt with.

This is a fascinating situation. What it boils down to is that no member of the public and no member of any political party which is in opposition to the honorable gentleman can bring to his attention the plainest evidence of unity ticket activity, and his party will not heed such evidence. Members of the Australian Labour Party will not act on unity tickets simply because they have consistently supported them. The honorable gentleman is on the spot and cannot get off it. He has had presented to him, time and time again, the plainest evidence or" unity ticket activity and he has simply wiped it to one side.

On this occasion it is not only members on this side of the House who look to the honorable gentleman for an explanation of his indifference, but also the great majority of Australians are looking to him for an explanation. At this moment, a member of the executive of the Victorian A.L.P. is campaign secretary for a member of the Communist Party, Mr. Southwell, who is Communist Party candidate in the election of officers of the Amalgamated Engineering Union.

When the honorable gentleman assumed the mantle of Leader of the Opposition he had a glorious opportunity to emerge as the strong man of the Australian Labour Party, but the fact is that he is a prisoner of the Victorian executive of the A.L.P., a branch of his party that is seeking to have the socalled federal ban on unity tickets removed. This is the executive he is dead scared of. That sums up the honorable gentleman's position; he is scared stiff. He is a prisoner of the Victorian executive of the A.L.P. and he refuses to act even when confronted with evidence such as this. Having put the honorable gentleman right - he was confused when he was in Brisbane - I reiterate the one point: It is unfortunate that the honorable gentleman has seen so many unity tickets that he is hopelessly confused about what is really going on in his party.







Suggest corrections