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Thursday, 14 May 1970


Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) - The Socialist Scholars Conference will be held at Sydney University between 21st and 24th May next. The main speaker, and the main attraction for people who will be attending the Conference, will undoubtedly be Dr Ernest Mandel, a Belgian economist who, if he is allowed to enter Australia, will be speaking at the conference on the crisis of capitalist relations of production. I do not know the people who are conducting the Conference. 1 am not much interested in whether they have any particular political affiliations. I wish to make that point clear early in my remarks. I think the principle involved in the exclusion of Dr Mandel from Australia is important and we ought not to be diverted in our considerations by any peripheral matter.

In spite of Dr Mandel's outstanding international reputation the conservative

Australian Government is refusing him a visa to enter this country. This seems to be a peculiar attitude for the Government to adopt. What is more distressing about the decision is that the Government refuses to announce the reasons why it is preventing the entry of this eminent international economist whose reputation stands very high in economic circles throughout the world. It is not know why the Government is not allowing this man to enter the country.

Some people associated with the sponsoring and organising of the Socialist Scholars Conference have indicated that it is their suspicion that the Government is out to wreck this Conference. This would be a most unhappy motive on the part of the Government. Because of that, and because of the fact that there ought to be a standard principle that no man would be excluded from coming into this country merely because of political considerations, 1 feel that this House and the Australian public are entitled to receive a full and candid explanation of the reasons why Dr Mandel is being prevented from entering Australia.

Dr Mandelplanned to visit Australia for 8 days, visiting only capital cities. He planned to present academic papers at the Socialist Scholars Conference at Sydney University. He was to present a paper on Marxist economic theory at Sydney University on 23rd May. He planned to address the Teachers Federation on modern capitalism on 22nd May. He was also invited by the Political Science Department of the Australian National University to give a seminar to academics there. He also has an engagement with students at Adelaide University. He planned to be in no way associated with any demonstrations or, I understand, with the internal politics of this country. His visit was planned purely as that of an academic who was to be involved with the presentation of academic papers which, on his world reputation, would bc of very high standard.

On this basis alone we ought to encourage the visit of this man. His eminence is such that he has engaged in debates with such world renowned economists as Professor Galbraith. He visited the United States of America in 1968. He was allowed to visit that country and to address scholars there. In 1969 the United States State Department sought to refuse him a visa to enter that country, but this attempt was overruled by the Attorney-General and the Justice Department. Very recently I have been advised that New Zealand has decided to grant Dr Mandel a visa to enter that country so that he can present academic papers there. Taking these factors into consideration - the granting by the United States of a visa to enter that country, and the decision of New Zealand, our nearest neighbour, and the country with great similarity in many respects to this country, to allow him entry - it is totally incomprehensible that he should be prevented from entering Australia.

This attitude . is heightened by the fact that so many Soviet academics and other personages from that country have been allowed to enter Australia. They entered fairly easily. Similarly Red Chinese cultural delegates and central bankers seem to have gained fairly easy access to the country. It would seem to this basis, particularly as Red Chinese central bankers have entered fairly easily, that if someone is connected with trade or material transactions, especially with the wheat industry, their presence is welcomed irrespective of their political affiliations. But if they are visiting Australia for purely intellectual purposes in order to present academic papers, there is a real fear on the part of the Government of what thought might accomplish or what stimulation to local intellect may cause within the community. Frankly the approach of the Government is a stupid one. We should encourage as much diversity in thought and discussion as we can. It is from the conflict of ideas and the challenge that these present that we learn to sharpen up our own scale of values. If we find ourselves wrong we should make the necessary adjustment. When we believe that we are right we should make the necessary inquiry so that we are better equipped to answer those conflicting propositions put to us by people with whom we may not agree.

Therefore I firmly believe that it is wrong in principle to prevent this internationally celebrated academic, Dr Mandel, entering this country. I passionately believe this as a principle. If Oswald Mosley wanted to enter this country, much as I disagree with his politics, I would support his application for the purpose of a visit. George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the Nazi

Party in the United States of America, sought entry, to this country some years ago. He was refused on that occasion and I believe that that decision was wrong and I believe it would be wrong to refuse him now. If he were to seek entry now I would support his application, much as I disagree with what he had to say, the views he represented and the sort of purposes in which he had invested his faith. I would express my opposition to him but I would do so according to the democratic principles of this country.

I stress this matter because these people are of the extreme right. I am informed that Dr Mandel is not a member of the Communist Party iri Belgium. I am not certain but I believe he is a member of a Socialist Party there. Even if he were a member of the Communist Party I believe that the organisers of the Socialist Scholars Conference have a perfect right, as Australian citizens, to expect that he should be allowed into the country to present an academic paper. I am positive that the Government is putting forward a bad principle in this respect. There is altogether too much paternalism in the way in which visas to enter Australia are issued to overseas academics. From memory I quickly recollect that it is not more than 12 months ago that Professor Rose wanted to enter this country to do some anthropological work among Aboriginals at Groote Eylandt. He was prevented from doing so. In my opinion that decision was totally wrong. In 1960 or 1961 Professor Gluckman, another world famous anthropologist, was prevented from entering New Guinea for the purpose of carrying out anthropological work there. The principle involved in these matters is totally wrong. Summed up it represents political censorship in a special form.

I mentioned to the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) that it was my purpose to mention this matter tonight but he has not returned to the House. I understand he is unavoidably detained on a number of fairly pressing matters relating to his portfolio which he cannot postpone. I ask the Minister to consider this matter before we rise at the end of this week and make a public statement in this House as to the reasons why this bar has been placed against the entry of Dr Mandel. I conclude by stating that it is my understanding of the situation that the decision is a Cabinet one. I suggest to members of the Cabinet that their decision is totally undemocratic and intolerant. It is certainly not consistent with Liberal principles or informed, responsible Conservative principles. I sincerely trust that the Government will review this quite unjustified decision.







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