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Thursday, 24 March 1966

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member cannot debate the matter.

Mr Uren - Well, I deny it.

Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes (CHISHOLM, VICTORIA) - The honorable member is obviously stone deaf as well as not very good in the brain if he denies that he heard it. There were about six or eight other persons there who could act as witnesses as to what was on the tape and whether the honorable member heard it or not. Another accusation which amuses me was made by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) and now again by the honorable member for Yarra. It was that this was reported to me by some spy or pimp or somebody else who was at the Mosman meeting. The honorable member for Yarra advertised the meeting. It was a public meeting; anybody was entitled to go there. How can you have a spy or a pimp at a public meeting? How ridiculous it is. It is as ridiculous as the rest of the honorable member's argument. The honorable member for Wills reminds me of that old musicale " The Desert Song ". He seems to be the red shadow for the honorable member for Yarra in the deserters' song.

The honorable member for Yarra invited the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) to come out on the platform and debate this matter with him. Recently I received a request - it was supposed to be in the name of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council - to a teach-in in the lower Town Hall. I started to make inquiries and I received a very interesting letter which shows the kind of debate that the honorable member for Yarra wants on this question. The letter is addressed to trade unions and to trade union executives and officials. It states -

Dear Friends,

We, individually trade union officials, are deeply concerned at the continued escalation of the Vietnam war and the deepening involvement of Australia. As trade unionists with responsibility for the protection and development of working people we are concerned to see so many of our youngsters being conscripted to fight wars in foreign lands. Further we take very seriously the trade union slogan, " Peace is trade union business ".

The letter continues to say that they proposed to invite one member from the Government side - that was me - and I was informed that the member from the Opposition who would be invited was the honorable member for Yarra. The letter continues -

We sincerely ask that your union executive study the «on tents of this letter and assure us, as soon as possible, of the co-operation we will need to ensure a successful meeting. For convenience sake replies can be forwarded to. . . .

The next step will be the calling together of a planning committee to cope with the practical details. We would hope that your union in considering your support will also be prepared to delegate an official to help with the preparation of the " Teach In ".

The letter was signed by George Crawford, Roy Cameron, Bert Nolan, Neville Hill, Tommy Doyle, Felix Martin, Stan Williams, Kevin Doherty, Percy Johnson, Don McSween, Jim Ralston, Albert McNolty and Bill O'Brien. It sounded to me like a good unity ticket show. Although I was brought up in the early days of street corners on Friday nights and have been accustomed to that atmosphere, I have no intention of playing the fly to be asked into the web of the honorable member for Yarra. These teach-ins are not really teach-ins at all; they are merely attempts to get publicity and to drag moderates into the audience. The honorable member for Yarra can get an audience for himself. The honorable member knows that at these meetings he sometimes gets a bit hot under the collar and then comes along and denies what he has said. Even when he is given proof he gets up in this House and says that he has not said what he did say. That is absolutely sheer nonsense. I was fair to the honorable member for Yarra. I did not quote his remarks out of context. I quoted the sentence that he used. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I leave it to the people who have been listening to this debate or who read it to judge who is right and who is wrong in this context.

Mr SPEAKER - I call the honorable member for Barton.

Mr Uren - Mr Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I have called the honorable member for Bar; on. The name of the honorable member for Reid is not shown on the list of speakers.

Mr Reynolds - I rise to order. Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) wishes to make a personal explanation. I think he should be allowed to do so.

Mr SPEAKER - If the honorable member makes it clear to the Chair that he wishes to make a personal explanation and the Chair understands his request, he will have that right.

Mr Uren - 1 desire to speak, but I shall wait until it is my turn.

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