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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr JONES (Newcastle) .- Mr. Speaker,I have listened to the usual diatribe from the roly-poly member for Phillip (Mr. Aston).

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I must ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.

Mr JONES - I withdraw it, Mr. Speaker, and substitute the over stout member for Phillip? I suppose that next we will have the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) coming in with his usual tripe on this question of unity tickets. What strikes me in these debates is the failure of members of the Cabinet to buy in. They let the rat bags on the back benches continually beat their brains out on the subject of unity tickets. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) started to take to task a friend of mine, Jack Egerton, who is the secretary of the Boilermakers Society in Brisbane and also the president of the Trades and Labour Council. When the honorable member takes him to pieces and claims that he is a Communist and a supporter of unity tickets, he takes to pieces a man who has been continually in the Boilermakers Union, of which I am a financial member. For years he has been an executive member of that union and he has continually run against the Communists. In 1949, on the Labour Party ticket, Egerton was the man who ran the federal secretary of the union to 92 votes. The federal secretary of the Boilermakers Union, as every one knows, is a very prominent and declared member of the Communist Party. Two years ago the same Jack Egerton was the Labour Party supported candidate in the federal ballot of the Boilermakers Union. Yet the honorable member has the temerity to stand up in this House and claim that Egerton is a supporter of, and a party to unity tickets. I know this man personally. He would not be associated with Communists or unity tickets or have any other association with them. Do honorable members think that the Communists would permit him to stand on a unity ticket with them in Brisbane and use the build-up that it would obviously give him to oppose and defeat a Communist candidate for a position in the boilermakers' union? It is too stupid for words to suggest that any fair-minded, fairthinking person would believe that they would build up a man to defeat one of their leaders of the industrial movement in Australia.

Let us have a look at the men who here to-night, in their usual manner, have been talking about unity tickets. I have not heard one of them in this chamber raise one objection to this Liberal-Country Party Government's unity ticket with the Communist countries of the world. Consider the export of wheat at the present time. If the Government is fair dinkum in wanting to embarrass, harass and hinder a Communist country, why is it selling wheat to Communist China? Honorable members in hillbilly corner over here - the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) and the rest of them - are prepared to work in unity with the Communists when it suits them.

A short time ago 1 took the trouble to find out just what goods were being exported to Communist countries. Frozen beef is one of them. Nobody can tell me that these goods cannot be classified as being of some importance in the defence budgets of those countries. The exports include also greasy, scoured, carbonized, and hand wool, wool tops, rutile concentrates, sheet steel, steel plates, galvanized flats, pipes and tubes. Does anybody say that steel is not needed for defence? It is clear that all the talk by honorable members opposite about unity tickets in trade unions in Australia is just sheer humbug. This trade with Communist countries shows that supporters of the Government are prepared to work in unity with the Communists not on a small scale, but on a large scale. Honorable members opposite know as well as I do that 10 per cent, of Australia's total exports to non-British countries go to Communist-controlled countries, but not one word is said by the honorable members for Moreton, Phillip, Lilley, Stirling and the others who speak on this matter from time to time, against the Government's policy of trading with Communist-controlled countries. They do not say one word about that, but they continually trot out this question of unity tickets.

Mr Wight - Where do you stand on unity tickets - for or against them?

Mr JONES - I am against unity tickets. If honorable members opposite were prepared to do something constructive in regard to their trade and their own unity ticket with Communist countries, we might be able to talk some sense into them. They use their policy only as an excuse to smear and slander people. They are not prepared to get out on the streets, the highways and the by-ways - places where it would constitute slander - and attack these men so that the men would have the right to have a go at them. They are not prepared to make their statements about Egerton out in the street where he would have the oppotunity of having a crack back at them.

Mr Wight - I did.

Mr JONES - They always get up in this coward's castle and make their statements.

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