Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 24 March 1966


Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) .- On Wednesday, 16th March of this year, the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) deliberately chose to include in a speech that he was making a statement that I had been asked at a meeting whether I was against guerrilla warfare and that I had answered: "What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? " On Thursday, 17th March of this year, I said in the House that I had never been asked whether I was against guerrilla warfare and I had never said: "What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? " The honorable member for Chisholm had wanted to insinuate by these statements that I favoured guerrilla warfare and that in particular I supported the Vietcong in all their extreme and terrorist activities. He said that these statements were true and accurately recorded in shorthand notes taken at the time, which, of course, he has never produced. On 23rd March of this year, the honorable member for Chisholm produced a tape recorder, claiming that it confirmed the shorthand notes and proved I was a liar.


Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes (CHISHOLM, VICTORIA) - I did not use that word.


Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - That is what the honorable member was seeking to prove. He should not try to have it both ways. The honorable member for Chisholm has not been able to produce from his tape recorder even one of the words he claims were in the shorthand notes and upon which he based his allegations. He has not been able to produce from the tape recorder one of the words that he alleges were in the shorthand notes. He did not find any of the words asking whether I was against guerrilla warfare and he was not able to find any of the words that he quoted in saying that I had said: " What is wrong with guerrilla warfare? "

The tape recorder does not confirm his shorthand notes in any way. What is more, he was unable to tell the House that he had found in his tape recording even words that had a similar meaning to those that he had used before. What he alleges he found in the tape recording was the statement: " Is there something particularly sinful about a guerrilla?", and the words - my words: "I have said already, and I don't want to be misquoted about this, I have said already that I deplore force and violence used by anybody". In the very speech in which the honorable member for Chisholm alleges that I said I favoured guerrilla warfare he has found a statement that I deplore force and violence used by anybody. In the very speech that he produced to try to sub stantiate his claim he has found a statement that contradicts his own allegations. These statements do not mean that I favour guerrilla warfare. Indeed, they mean that I deplore guerrilla warfare. These statements that he has quoted from his tape recording - the only evidence that he has ever produced - prove that my position is as I stated it to be. These statements that he produced from his tape recording show that I said that guerrilla warfare is no more sinful than any other form of warfare. To me they are all bad. These statements prove that I deplore all forms of warfare including guerrilla warfare. That is the position with regard to these empty and baseless charges that the honorable member for Chisholm chooses to make on the basis of shorthand notes taken by some pimp of whom we have no knowledge, supplemented by a tape recording made by some other pimp or spy of whom we have no knowledge. I wonder just how much of this would have happened had the Bill that his Party tried to pass in 1951 become law? How many more of these pimps would have been running around with shorthand notes and tape recorders trying to take-


Mr Turner - A pimp at a public meeting?


Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - I do not mind. The bigger the crowd the better. And if the honorable member for Bradfield would do something about coming out and debating these subjects I would be very pleased to accommodate him too. I say that, taken together, the statements that were produced in the tape recording by the honorable member for Chisholm when he was trying to prove the opposite, prove that I said that guerrilla warfare is no more sinful than any other form of warfare - to me they are all bad - and secondly, that I deplore all forms of warfare, including guerrilla warfare.

The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) - we have not heard very much from him recently on this subject except by snide interjection - and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes), amongst other Government members, joined in the low level and unsupported charges last night and implied that I lacked courage. The honorable gentlemen might be right. 1 might lack courage. But I will say this: Any unwillingness on my part to join in the nightly smear campaign until I have had the opportunity to check the accusations in " Hansard ", is no evidence of a lack of courage, It is merely evidence of a desire to keep away from the stupid and petty accusations that the honorable member for Chisholm and the honorable member for Mackellar are becoming noted for in this House. I will also say this: I challenge those members singly and collectively to test, my courage, physical or moral, in any way they choose. My courage might not pass all the tests which will be imposed upon it in the next few years in politics, but I shall do my best and try to pass those tests. If I fail, I will not complain.


Mr Gibson - Are you a man of destiny?


Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - The honorable member has achieved his destiny already. I thought it was a most appropriate one for him. I think he is well fitted for it. The only other thing I ask is that the 'Melbourne "Age" and the Sydney "Daily Telegraph ", whose reporters, I think, went out of their way to spread the smears about lies and lack of courage, in the guise of news, will now do something about reporting accurately what they find in " Hansard " and what I have said this evening.







Suggest corrections