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Thursday, 13 April 1961

Mr CALWELL - I am grateful to my colleague for that observation.

We now have the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) trying to strike an heroic pose and inviting all and sundry to demean themselves by debating with him. Well, I have no intention of debating with him. I would not mind debating with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), and after I had finished him off I would take on the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), and then a few more in quick succession, all on the one night. I do not mind doing that, but I could never get down to the honorable member for Lilley until I had exhausted at least the 75th member on the Government side.

Mr Browne - You said you would do so.

Mr CALWELL - I did not say anything of the sort. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is as silly as the honorable member for Lilley. I did not say anything of the kind, and there is nothing in any document to prove that I did. The honorable member for Lilley regales the House with a lot of documents, and we have given him permission to table them. Let me tell you where he got them. He got them from the National Civic Council or the Queensland Labour Party. I have in my possession a letter written by Mr. F. E. Doyle, divisional manager of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen, the union to which the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) belongs. The letter is, in fact, addressed to the honorable member for Blaxland. It reads, in part -

I am promoted to write as a result of the feeling, particularly in the Lilley area - against Mr. Bruce Wight due to the fact that you exposed the source of information he used in the Federal Parliament whilst attacking the Trade Union Movement and the A.L.P. in Queensland.

It is apparent that many of his followers were shocked when this well timed exposure was made by you and there is no doubt that he will not gain any support as a result of his misguided statements and inferences.

The honorable member had a document which he got from the National Civic Council or from the Queensland Labour Party. Here is a copy of it. It purports to show the association between the Communist Party and the Labour Party. The honorable member was forced to admit that he got it from some of these sources. How ridiculous the document is is shown by a simple perusal of it. On the left hand side of the decument - appropriately enough, I suppose, from the honorable member's point of view - we see some figures concerning the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The document says that at the biennial conference of the A.C.T.U. there were 97 affiliated unions and 420 delegates, of whom 350 were proCommunist and 70 anti-Communist - no

Labourites among them at all. Those 70, of course, would be people sympathetic to the Democratic Labour Party or the Queensland Labour Party and the rest of them would be pro-Communist. This is the document that the honorable member was flaunting as the result of his alleged great research. On the back of the document are shown 52 unions affiliated in Queensland, and the best that the honorable member, or anybody else, can show in respect of unity tickets are perhaps four or five or six examples over -the whole of the 52 unions in Queensland. If you take the 150 unions, approximately, throughout Australia, perhaps ten or twelve examples could be found. But the honorable member, of course, makes the mountain out of the mole hill.

The honorable member for Lilley is always careless with his facts. I have another letter dated 27th March, 1961, from the secretary of the Australian Labour Party in Queensland, Mr. Keeffe, who says -

I have now obtained copies of Hansard In Which the Federal Member for Lilley Mr. .Bruce Wight is alleged to have stated that I made a report on the Federal Division of Kennedy to the Queensland Central Executive and said that we were likely to lose this Seat and also the seat of Brisbane.

I would like to state quite categorically that never at any time have reports of this nature been presented to the Q.C.E. and Mr. Wight's statement is a complete and utter fabrication.

It is unfortunate that this particular Federal Member has a habit of playing to the gallery and I recall that on one occasion last year when I was in attendance at a Social Function held at Zillmere (Lilley Division), at which Mr. Wight was also present, he stated to me that he had handed copies of the Bill covering the Amendment to the Crimes Act to legal men of Liberal and Labour persuasions, and when the matter came before the House, he would not necessarily be guided by his Party, but would accept the opinions of the two persons to whom he had given copies of the Bill for their opinion.

There is no doubt that untruthful statements made by this person from time to time, usually under privilege of Parliament, have a very bad effect, and I am happy for you to use the information contained herein in any way you deem necessary.

The honorable member is continually talking about Communists. Let me tell you something about his career in Queensland. He knew a man named Bill Banks.

Mr Wight - That is right.

Mr CALWELL - This man was once the endorsed Liberal candidate for the Nudgee seat in the Queensland Parliament.

Mr Wight - That is right.

Mr CALWELL - He was endorsed mainly at the instance of the honorable member for Lilley and Mrs. Jenny Hoffman, a great worker for the Liberal Party in Queensland.

Mr Wight - That is right.

Mr CALWELL - Well, my facts are right up to this point. Mr. Banks, who had been a wharf labourer, approached one of the Zillmere branches of the Australian Labour Party seeking membership, but because he was suspected of either being a Communist or having strong Communist Party leanings, he was not even given an application form to fill in, and so he joined the Liberal Party, and he won the support of the honorable member for Lilley. He failed to win the seat for which he was a candidate and, I understand, soon afterwards left the Liberal Party.

The honorable gentleman himself had ambitions of becoming a member of the Labour Party, because in about 1950 he told the secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Keeffe, and two friends at a social gathering in Brisbane - the honorable member has been challenged on this point, and it is a very sore point - that he would have liked to join the Labour Party because he wanted to be a politician, but the qualifying period of three years' membership required by the Labour Party before a candidate can be endorsed was too long for him to wait, and so he joined the Liberal Party instead. Mr. Keeffe is prepared to confront the honorable gentleman with at least one of the persons who were present that night.

During one of the divisions last night the honorable member took his seat on one of the Opposition benches, and allegedly flaunted a unity ticket to a number of people in the gallery, saying, "What are you going to do about it? " The honorable member's friend, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), protested about breaches of privilege. Of course he told only half the truth. He is as careless in handling facts as is his friend from Lilley. They are two of a kind. If they have a grievance against people in the gallery, let them bring the matter before the Privileges Committee, and we will have a complete investigation carried out.

If the honorable member for Lilley will meet Mr. Keeffe in Queensland or anywhere where he can be challenged on any of these statements which I have made, we shall be happy to hear the result. But in this place he counts for nothing, and as far as debating with him is concerned, I treat his effusions with contempt, and I am sorry for the electorate that has to suffer him.

Mr Wight - I wish to make a personal explanation.

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