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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- It is regrettable that at this particular juncture in our history people of the calibre of the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) and the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) endeavour to lead the Australian public to believe that a party of the standing and status of the Australian Labour Party has any substantial or other association with the Communist Party of Australia. This is a moment in history when this Parliament and the Government of this country should be seriously devoting themselves to the consideration of the possible outcome of the rumoured success of the Communist Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in putting a man into space and safely returning him to a pre-determined destination. Honorable members opposite may laugh at my words, but I emphasize that this is a matter which, if it is true, will need serious consideration at a very early date by every responsible member of this Parliament.

If the report is true, it means that it is within the ability of a great power to lodge at any pre-determined place on the face of the earth a missile containing an explosive force equal to all the explosions that have ever taken place in recorded history. To the people of Australia, it means that every penny spent henceforth in the defence of Australia is absolutely futile. This Parliament ought to have before it at least initial proposals for the diversion of our expenditure of £200,000,000 per annum on defence to constructive efforts on behalf of men wherever they may live. Work that one out! Before very long, if this rumour is correct, responsible members of this Government, at the United Nations and perhaps in Moscow itself, will be making peace and working in amity and harmony with the Soviet Union. Work that one out!

I know perfectly well the real reason why all this piffle has been talked to-night and why this attempt has been made to intrude into the private affairs of the greatest political party in Australia's history - the greatest force for peace in the history of this country, a party which when this country has been involved in either peace or war, and particularly in war, has acquitted itself with honour and credit and been recognized throughout the civilized world as a party worthy of honour. Let honorable members opposite devote themselves to investigating the filthy ramifications of the commercial and other usurious interests with which the party opposite is actively and directly associated. In the last twenty years or in the last twelve years - put it at that - this country has seen an increase in the usurious powers of the commercial interests in this country, an outbreak of profiteering and land inflation unparalleled in Australia's history, and an infliction on every young couple wanting to buy land on which to establish a home of a burden which is round their necks for the rest of their lives. When honorable members opposite can cease their dirty attacks, cleanse their own filthy stables, and cease to use this sort of thing to divert the attention of the Australian public from their own dirty sins, they will be worthy of a name as good as that which the Australian Labour Party bears.

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