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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr WIGHT (Lilley) .- There are in this country at the present time a great many Australians who, by tradition, are supporters of the Australian Labour Party. These people, whose loyalty to that party has suffered a great deal of strain over recent years, due to the series of crises that have occurred within the party, are watching their newspapers each day for reports of what is going on at the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party, which is being held in Canberra at the present time. These people are fully aware that at the last conference of the Australian Labour Party the ban on the use of unity tickets was endorsed by the conference. They are also aware that the Victorian executive of the A.L.P. placed on the agenda for the present conference a motion which, if agreed to, would have the effect of removing the ban on the use of unity tickets, and would pave the way for the united front that is called for by the Communists. There would be a coalition of the Communist Party and the Labour Party in trade union elections, and this would give an opportunity to the Communist Party to exert even greater control over the A.L.P. than it has previously done.

These people, whose loyalty, as I have said, has been given by tradition to the Labour Party, are becoming sick and tired of hearing their friends say that the party they traditionally support is nothing short of a Communist-front organization. Many people who feel that they cannot vote for the Liberal-Country Party coalition government find themselves unable to continue to support what they consider to be now a Communist-front organization. They have hung on to the tails of the Labour Party, and although their loyalty has been greatly strained over the last two years, they had hoped that the right wing of the Labour Party, led particularly by the New South Wales executive, would on this occasion have the courage to stand up to the spokesmen for the Communist Party, such as the members of the Victorian executive, many of the members of the Western Australian executive and some of the members of the Queensland executive. It was hoped that some right-wing members of the party would still have some fight left in them, and that there would still be some who believed in the fair dinkum, basic traditions of the Australian Labour Party and would be prepared to fight against Communist infiltration. But up to now there has been no evidence that the right-wing element has the courage to stand up to the dictators who have gained control of the executive of the party. There is no indication that there will be any fight from the right wing to continue the ban on unity tickets, or that the policy laid down by the previous A.L.P. conference will be implemented. I refer to the decision arrived at by that conference, which was in the following terms: -

Any member breaking this policy must be summoned before the respective State executive, and, following a satisfactory explanation, dealt with according to the rules.

Although that has been on the books for four years, it has not been implemented. This is borne out by a perusal of the official publication of the A.L.P. in Queensland. I have a copy of this journal before me, and I am told by Mr. Jim Keeffe, the State Secretary of the A.L.P. in Queensland, that this is a particularly good edition. It is called the " New Age " and it is dated 5th April, 1961. We find on page 4 a list of the members who attended the preceding meeting of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland. In reading those names I find no fewer than twelve members of the executive of the Labour Party who are holding positions of various kinds in trade union organizations after having stood for election to those positions on unity tickets. Is it any wonder, Sir, that, because at least twelve members who attended that meeting have stood on unity tickets with Communists, the rank and file of the Labour Party believe that the party is not game to implement the policy that was laid down by its own federal conference? But more than twelve members of the central executive are involved. I know of sixteen members of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland who have stood on unity tickets within the last twelve months without any action having been taken against them. In addition, the party has endorsed as a Senate candidate a man who stood on a unity ticket with Communists in a Waterside Workers Federation election not only in 1960, but also in 1959 and 1958. I refer to Mr. Arnell, the president of the Queensland branch of the Waterside Workers Federation. This man, who is known as " unity ticket " Arnell, has been endorsed by the Labour Party. When with Mr. Phil Healy, another member of the executive, after there had been a disturbance during adjournment debates in this Parliament, he was brought before the executive of the party, he and Healy used the excuse that they did not know that their names were on the ticket. That was quite untrue because the week before in a magazine entitled: " Branch News "; which is the official organ of the Waterside Workers Federation, Phil Healy published the statement that it was quite all right to have one's name appear on these unity tickets and that no action could be taken because the policy statement applied only to political elections.

Now let me read the names of twelve members of the Queensland central executive who have stood on unity tickets. They are as follows: - George Whiteside, W. McCormack, Jack Egerton, F. Whitby, F. J. Waters, J. S. Sweet, R. J. Patterson, F. G. Nolan, A. H. Dawson, B. R. Milliner, P. Healy and E. A. Stokoe. But other members of the central executive have stood on unity tickets. They include E. Edmonds, who was not present at the meeting to which I have referred, who stood with Sweet on an Australian Meat Industry Employees Union unity ticket with Communists. I have in my hand the actual unity ticket that was used; the names appear on it. But no action was taken. Both of those people knew that their names were on the ticket before it was published and distributed.

Why is it so important that action should be taken by the central executive of the Labour Party to deal with its own members whose names appear on unity tickets? The reason is to be found in a statutory declaration the terms of which have been heard by those who attended the debate in Brisbane. The statutory declaration reads -

I was present as a delegare at a meeting of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council held in Brisbane Trades Hall at which Mr. G. M. Dawson- 1 remind honorable members that G. M. Dawson is a self-confessed Communist and has boasted that he is a member of the Communist Party - identified a number of union officials present at a meeting by their names and stated that at the previous meeting of the Queensland Central Executive of the Australian Labour Party they had voted contrary to Trades Hall policy. He then went on to say that if they continued to vote contrary to Trades Hall policy at meetings of the Q.C.E. of the A.L.P. he would see that action was taken against them in their unions.

Subsequently Mr. Jack Egerton, who is a member of the inner executive of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland and president of this Communistcontrolled organization, the Trades and Labour Council - no Queensland member in this House will deny that the Trades and Labour Council is Communistcontrolled - and who got there on a unity ticket with well-known Communists, made the statement in his report to the trade union congress, subsequent to this action by the Communist Dawson at the Trades Hall, that he was pleased to be able to report that the delegates-

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