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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (12:43 PM) . - The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, has demonstrated very clearly the value of the allegations which are made in these adjournment debates. Mr. Bigart alleged that Mr. Chamberlain made a statement on Formosa. Mr. Chamberlain denied having made that statement. Now, how does one determine who is telling the truth in that way? Everybody continues to believe what he wants to believe. In actual fact, every one of the allegations made by rankandfile members of the Government parties which I can recognize had similarly been denied in the past. People with a wish to believe these allegations do not accept the denials.

Mr Harold Holt Mr. HaroldHolt interjecting -

Mr WHITLAM - Mr. Speaker,I did not interrupt-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask honorable members to remain silent.

Mr Aston - Let him deal with the facts.

Mr SPEAKER - Order!

Mr WHITLAM - These allegations are never made about people who can answer in this place. There is no Government member or supporter who will make an allegation about the political rectitude of any member of this Parliament. He knows that if he did, it would be promptly denied, and the member concerned would have his remedy before the Committee of Privileges. Furthermore, these allegations are rarely made about persons who are well known to members of the Parliament. In the few cases in which the allegations are made they can be refuted. One such allegation was made to-night about Mr. Egerton, and we had a factual and temperate refutation of that allegation by a man who knows Mr. Egerton - the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones), whose Labour and anti-Communist record is very well known in this Parliament and in the district where he has lived his whole life, and1 which he now represents in this Parliament. The utter lack of scruple that the Treasurer showed to-night can be seen by honorable members who recollect what the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) said yesterday afternoon. The AttorneyGeneral made a reference to what Mr. Chamberlain is supposed to have said about Formosa. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), who followed the Attorney-General in the debate, pointed out that Mr. Chamberlain had denied making that statement, and the Attorney-General at least had the grace to interject " I said that he was reported to have made it ". Now, Sir, nobody who knows Mr. Chamberlain, or who has conversed with Mr. Chamberlain, or who has heard him, believes that he ever expressed the view that Formosa is expendable.

The view of the Labour Party in Australia, the Labour Party in New Zealand and the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, is quite clear. All those parties say, as does the British Conservative Government, that it is quite inappropriate for Formosa to have a permanent seat, with the right of veto, on the Security Council, and to have the right to nominate judges to the World Court, and so on.

Mr Snedden - Would you give the Communists preference over the D.L.P.?

Mr WHITLAM - No! And the Labour Party never has. I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to answer the numerous interjections being made. I have had the courtesy to answer the interjection of the honorable member for Bruce, since he is so rarely in the chamber. There is no member who has such an appalling attendance record as the honorable member for Bruce. There is no member who so abuses his travel warrants as the honorable member for Bruce does for his own private profit. Sir, he is a disgrace to this Parliament. He is a disgrace to the party which up to now has endorsed him for the elections. I will answer a member like that. He is not one of the usual mid-night orators. The other mid-night orators have made the usual allegations which have already been denied. They have not refuted the denials of these allegations. The allegations which one can recognize have no more validity than the allegation which the Treasurer repeated without qualification.

Now, Sir, there is no question about the attitude of the Labour Party and of all of its members. The Labour Party does not believe in unity tickets, and you will find that every member of this Parliament who is a Labour member, every member of the federal conference of the Labour Party which is meeting in Canberra, and for whose benefit this mid-night performance - this command performance - is put on, will state the same. He will state that he is against unity tickets. The plain fact of the matter is that all parties other than the Labour Party wish that the Labour Party would approve of unity tickets. They have good reasons for wishing that. Because the Labour Party will not approve of unity tickets, every other party in Australia is forced to make one of two allegations. The first allegation is that the Labour Party is not carrying out a ban on unity tickets. The alternative allegation is that we are about to repeal the ban. We can never win in this argument. If we ban unify tickets we are asked to alter the ban or not to put it into effect.

The attitude of the Labour Party is quite clear in this matter. If any member of the Labour Party believes that any other member of the party is a party to a unity ticket, a procedure exists under our rules, a procedure that is perfectly well known to every member of the party, whereby he may make a complaint about the disloyal conduct of the member who he alleges is on a unity ticket. Then the matter is determined after hearing both sides. People have been disciplined, expelled and suspended for being on unity tickets. Our opponents - supporters of the Liberal Party, the Australian Country Party, the Australian Democratic Labour Party and the Communists - claim that we should have expelled more people. It is impossible to satisfy people who believe anonymous allegations. There have always been allegations about unity tickets and there always will be among people, such as supporters of the Democratic Labour Party and the Communists, who strive for the allegiance of the trade union movement but who have been unable to secure any such allegiance. There will always be such allegations from supporters of the Liberal and Australian Country Parties who, of course, want to break the link that has existed in all British countries between the trade union movement and the political party of real reform. The real objective of the Treasurer, who is now sitting on the back benches beside the person who started this performance, the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), and other Liberal philosophers is to break that link. They want to create the position that exists in the United States, and which hitherto existed in Canada but which is now being abandoned there. Canada is doing what other members of the British Commonwealth have done. It has established a link between the industrial unions and the political party of real reform.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

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