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Wednesday, 8 March 1961


Mr WIGHT (Lilley) .- The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) saw fit to deride the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) for having brought to the notice of the House the effect of the unity tickets which are being circulated in most trade union elections in Australia today, and in connexion with which leading members of the Australian Labour Party act in concert with members of the Communist Party who are moving to take over the control of the trade union movement. The honorable member for Barton sought to divert attention from this by making reference to what he called the serious unemployment situation in Queensland. He spoke about the number of people who were becoming disemployed in Queensland. I remind the honorable member for Barton that a great deal of any unemployment which exists in Queensland has been caused by the capricious attitude of certain trade unions. I can refer the House right now to one specific case, that of the Metal Trades Union which was responsible for the dismissal of at least 50 men from the C.O.D. cannery in Northgate. Brisbane. That union brought about the dismissals despite the fact that normally the period of employment of these people is limited by seasonal conditions and by the state of the pineapple crop. With no regard for the welfare of these people the Metal Trades Union saw fit to ensure that 50 employees, and probably a great many more, were dismissed. So h comes poorly from the honorable member for Barton to suggest that this Government is responsible for creating the situation in Queensland. I also remind the honorable member for Barton, who derided the Government's economic measures, that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) himself on a television show last Sunday night stated that rf Labour had been in office and had to meet the economic conditions which at present exist it would have gone further in many respects than this Government has gone. Could we not interpret that to mean that the Labour Party would have caused an even greater degree of disemployment? 1 want to make some reference to the statement by the honorable member for Barton that the Labour Party is quite competent to take care of its own affairs. The dismal fact - and it is a fact - is that the newspapers of Australia have recognized the ineptitude of the Opposition, the complete failure of the Labour Party to be the Opposition in this Parliament, and so they have themselves assumed the role of opposing the Government of this country, disregarding the Labour Party, because they realize that it is too concerned with its own internal problems to be a proper Opposition. How great are the internal problems of the Labour Party? The honorable member for Moreton referred to unity tickets. But what is the principle behind this unity ticket move? Tt is a principle which means, Sir, that the rank and file trade unionists and those who seek to have their names included in a union ballot are being told that men with such a vast knowledge of the trade union movement as the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) - and I doubt whether anybody here has a greater knowledge of it than he has - are no longer competent to represent the trade union movement, and that the control of that movement should be taken away from the Australian Labour Party and given to the Communist Party and its sympathizers. In other words, these people are being told that the Labour Party, which sprang from the trade union movement, which came into politics to represent trade unionists, is no longer competent to do the job, and that the only people who are competent to do it are the Communists. The rank and file of the Labour Party are being led by the nose to support the Communists and the fellow travellers who run with them and who put their names on unity tickets for election to union executives. For how long is the Labour Party going to allow this situation to continue? Are honorable members opposite going to allow the Labour Party to be whittled down by the action of the Communists who are working on a long-term plan to whittle the party down until it is just a solid core of people like the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen)? Are they going to allow the Labour Party to be whittled down to such a degree as will ensure that it will win no elections and that it will continue to lose seats until there is so little of the party left that the Communist Party can move in and become the official Opposition in this Parliament?

We see even in to-day's newspapers the heading " Shock Unity Ticket Move ". This follows the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition last Sunday night. I believe that in answer to the Leader of the Opposition the Labour Party executive in Victoria has been asked to discard the ban on unity tickets. The Leader of Hie Opposition appeared to be quite upset, during that television show, by the fact that a member of the Queensland Centra] Executive of the Labour Party was a candidate for a union office and that his name was included on a ticket with Communists such as Albie Graham. The union concerned is the Waterside Workers Federation. The Leader of the Opposition said he had not seen that ticket. I believe that this matter was first raised in the Parliament in 1957, and it was raised again in 1958. Facsimile copies of the ticket were sent down to the table of this House. Sitting at the table on that occasion was the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Evatt, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at that time was the honorable member for Melbourne (MrCalwell), who is now Leader of the Opposition. If the Leader of the Opposition refers to "Hansard" of 13th August, 1958, he will find that this same unity ticket was run, I believe, in 1957, and certainly in 1958. It was run again in 1959, and in 1960 it was again used by the Waterside Workers Federation. On every occasion this man Healy, who is a member of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland, had his name on the list with Communists like Albie Graham. When the matter was raised in the House the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Evatt, said that it was opposed to the ruling of the Labour Party, and that the matter should be dealt with by the State executive of the party. We challenged the Labour Party to arraign this member of its own State executive and have him explain his reasons for appearing on the unity ticket. The Queensland central executive called him before it, and he explained, in 1958, that the reason why his name was on the unity ticket, and why he was not culpable, was that his name had been placed on the ticket without his knowledge. The Queensland central executive accepted that excuse and forgave him in 1958. But his name appeared again on the unity ticket in 1959, and no action was taken by the Queensland central executive.

It was used again in the election conducted by the Waterside Workers Federation. The same unity ticket was used for three years running, but the present leader of the Labour Party said he had not seen it before he -was shown it during that television show, He saw it in 1958, and if he did not see it in 1959 he has not kept in very close contact with the affairs of the party that he claims to lead here. The same unity ticket was used again in 1960, so it was used, I believe, for four years running, and in each of these four years this member of the Queensland central executive of the Labour Party has been a candidate for election to the executive of the Waterside Workers Federation and has had his name on a unity ticket with Communists. How is the Labour Party going to struggle out of this? How can the party say that a member of the Labour Party can have his name on a unity ticket and a political election not be involved? Who is going to kid anybody that a trade union election is not political nowdays? You have the Communists running a unity ticket with their left wing cobbers in the Australian Labour Party. You have the Australian Democratic Labour Party running an anti-Communist ticket and the other people who do not want to have anything to do with either of them trying to get in between somewhere. Of course, it ยป a political election! Of course, any Aus tralian Labour Party man who runs for the Communists on an A.L.P. ticket is guilty of a breach of the rules!







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