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Wednesday, 12 April 1961


Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) .- A most distressing show of temper by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) does not help in a debate of this nature, which relates to a matter of grave national concern. The Leader of the Opposition talks about buffoonery. This is a lesson in semantics and temper from him. What he did not do at any time was refer to unity tickets. He did not make a single reference to this subject, except in a bad-tempered throwing away of the very documentary evidence for which he asked. When it came to light, he refused to look at it. Why did he refuse to look at it? He is not game, in common with the rest of his party, to face up to the question of unity tickets and Communist infiltration into his party and into trade unions. In 1958, the Leader of the Opposition said -

What they want us to do is to take part in the campaign and denounce Labour men and Communists who are standing together. And the Labour men who are standing with Communists in trade union campaigns are, in my view, violating the rules of the Australian Labour Party and will have to be dealt with at some time or other.


Mr Wight - Who said that?


Mr SNEDDEN - The Leader of the Opposition said that in August, 1958. He said they would have to be dealt with at some time or other, but he has not done so yet. There can be no doubt that unity tickets are against the rules of the Labour Party. This was made perfectly clear by the former Leader of the Opposition, the right honorable Dr. Evatt. He made it perfectly clear in tracing the resolutions of conferences of the Australian Labour Party and of executive decisions of the party, which held that to stand on unity tickets was to violate the party's policy. The conferences and the executive said, " We direct State branches to take action against those people who violate the policy by standing on unity tickets ". On the last occasion on which the Leader of the Opposition spoke on this matter, he said, " Victoria, of course, is in a special position. In Victoria we cannot do much about it, because, you see, in Victoria there is the Democratic Labour Party and some of the unions in Victoria are affiliated with that party. So, although we would like to do something about unity tickets, we really cannot because there is the Democratic Labour Party down there." He then gave a long recitation about the efforts in the Federated Clerks Union of Australia to get rid of the Democratic Labour Party and he made it perfectly clear that he regarded the Democratic Labour Party as a greater enemy than was the Communist Party.


Mr Calwell - No, I did not.


Mr SNEDDEN - You did. Look in " Hansard " of 13th August, 1958, and you will see that you made it perfectly clear. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition is in good company in putting the Democratic Labour Party forward as a greater enemy than the Communist Party, because Senator Cant in another place said that he without doubt would always put the Communists in front of the Democratic Labour Party when he exercised a preference in voting. But do not let it be thought that Senator Cant was speaking without authority. It was not much later that the present Federal President of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Stout, at the conference of the State branch of the party in Victoria, said publicly that he would always put the Communists before the Democratic Labour Party in voting. That was printed and it was confirmed subsequently by Mr. Stout. He was then the Victorian State president. He is now the Federal President of the Australian Labour Party.

This is the matter that the Leader of the Opposition characterizes as filthy propaganda. This is not filthy propaganda. This is something of great national importance and it is not assisted by displays of temper by the Leader of the Oposition. It is not assisted by Opposition members turning away from the issue and refusing to face up to it. This is something to which the whole of the Australian people demand an answer, because, laughable as it may seem, by our constitutional practice the Opposition is the alternative government. Opposition members come into this House and speak in a way that they hope will attract from the people of Australia sufficient votes to put them in government. How could it ever happen that they would come into government while they flirt in this way with the Communists? Of course, there is no doubt that this flirtation has long since passed from the hand-holding stage; it is now a deep engagement. What sort of progeny this association may produce is anybody's guess; but the ravages of atomic warfare, which may produce biological monstrosities, will have nothing to compare with the result of a union between these two parties.

If there be any doubt about where these people stand, let us consider the situation. I have referred to the former State President of Victoria. Now let us look at the utterances in this very chamber of the Honorable R. W. Holt, who was formerly the honorable member for Darebin. While he was a member of this House, he stood up and said, " If action is taken against any unionist in Victoria for standing on a unity ticket, the Australian Labour Party can look forward to another split in Victoria. There will be an Industrial Labour Party. We will refuse to be dictated to by the Australian Labour Party in this matter." One might reasonably say, " He was here when he said that but he is not here now." But where is he now? He is now the treasurer of the Australian Labour Party in Victoria. He is still an executive officer of the party. What he said no doubt had the support of the executive of the Victorian Labour Party. These matters stand out and bear no refutation. When it comes to unity tickets, of course, the devices and artifices of the people who work them know no bounds. There was a unity ticket at Yallourn for the Trades and Labour Council election. Do honorable members know what happened? A man named Gardiner, who was a Communist, was on the joint ticket. In explanation, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna) said that the only reason Gardiner was on the ticket was that he was the only fellow there on the night when the team was selected; there was to have been an A.L.P. man present but he did not turn up, for some reason, so they had to put Gardiner in for vice-president of the Trades and Labour Council. But when we look at the votes, we find that Gardiner, the Communist, polled 48. Hodgkin, who was elected president, polled 48; Wragg, for secretary, polled 48 and Shaw, the assistant secretary, polled 48. One would have thought that the two vicepresidential candidates, Gardiner, the Communist, and Akers, the A.L.P. man, would also have polled 48, but by a curious coincidence there was one informal vote. The one informal vote was for Akers, the A.L.P. candidate for vice-president, which meant that Gardiner the " Com " got 48, one more than Akers. and was elected senior vice-president. By a curious set of circumstances, there was one informal vote; the only informal vote was the one which made the Communist on the unity ticket the senior vice-president. This is the way in which the deal was done. This is the way in which the unity ticket operates.

For all these reasons, this can be said: If the A.L.P. is to remain a responsible party in Australia, it should cleanse itself of these Communist accretions. If the

Leader of the Opposition wants to issue a challenge to anybody, any one on this side of the House will debate with him. I certainly will accept any challenge from him and I am certain that the honorable member for Lilley will do the same. If the Leader of the Opposition has any sense in this matter - he has displayed precious little to-night or in the past - he will not debate this issue publicly, for he cannot win. Unity tickets exist and the Labour Party has refused to do anything about the matter. The Leader of the Opposition himself has said that they violate A.L.P. policy, and that something has to be done at some time or other. We can quite reasonably ask the Leader of the Opposition: When will this " some time or other " arrive?







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