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Thursday, 3 July 1941

Senator SPICER - What has that to do with the motion?

Senator CAMERON - The policy of those papers is to stampede or bludgeon Labour members into supporting whatever views they hold. Just because their nominee was defeated, the suggestion is put forward that the interests of Tasmania have been prejudiced. It is not said, as would be the truth, that the interests of the party supporting the

Government have been prejudiced. That is the true position. With honorable senators opposite, party interests are of primary importance.

Senator McBride - The newspapers concerned did not publish either of these things.

Senator CAMERON - I am merely telling the Senate exactly what the newspapers stand for and my statements cannot be denied. The privatelyowned press is 100 per cent anti-Labour, 100 per cent, against increases of wages and everything else that democracy stands for, and 100 per cent, in favour of the existing dictatorship in this country. It seeks to intimidate every Labour representative who is weak or foolish enough to be influenced by it. That is what is behind this attack. If this attack be allowed to pass unchallenged, more would follow. Those newspapers would continue in the same strain, and claim that, by their silence, Labour representatives had acquiesced in their previous attack. It would be claimed that we had nothing tosay and had no defence to offer.

Senator McBride - We have not heard anything from the Labour senators representing Tasmania.

Senator CAMERON - Possibly the Tasmanian Labour senators are waiting to see if there is any sense of fairness in honorable senators opposite. Senator Sampson said that action of this kind would bring Parliament into contempt with the men fighting overseas. I do not agree with that, and I shall tell the honorable senator exactly what will bring this legislature into contempt with the men overseas. When the Government does everything possible to prevent these men from receiving pensions to which they will be entitled when they come back, refuses to pay them adequate wages, and does not protect their dependants as they should be protected, Parliament is held in contempt.

Senator McBride - I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator addressing himself to the motion now before the Senate ?

The PRESIDENT - I ask Senator Cameron to confine his remarks to the motion.

Senator CAMERON - I have been trying to keep as close to the motion as did Senator Sampson. The honorable senator claimed that the passing of this motion would bring Parliament into contempt, and I am endeavouring to show that the attack is in conformity with the policy of this anti-Labour Government, a policy which these newspapers stand for and which they would like to see followed to a far greater degree than it is at present. Therefore, when Senator Sampson says that a motion of this kind would bring Parliament into contempt, I suggest that it is proper that we should see whether, by a process of mental projection, he is attributing to others the very traits which he himself, and other Government supporters, possess. The Government is doing more than we could ever hope to do to bring this national institution into contempt. I am sorry that that note has been struck. I agree that we should have kept more closely to the subject-matter before the Chair, but since the opportunity was taken by honorable senators opposite to introduce matters which are not entirely relevant, it is very bad taste for any one to object when those arguments are opposed. If they were not opposed, it would be said that, because of our silence, we acquiesced in them. I hope that the motion will be carried. I repeat that there is a great deal more in this matter than appears on the surface. The discredit of every man or woman who represents the Labour movement is a practice that has been resorted to for years. The more capable and determined the Labour representatives are, the more newspapers such as those mentioned attack them, ridicule them, discredit them, and do everything else to outlaw them socially. In spite of that, however, the Labour movement is becoming stronger and stronger. It may be said that we could afford to ignore this attack. Of course we could, but it would not be the proper thing to do. We should take full advantage of the opportunity we have to tell those newspapers exactly what we know them to be, and to tell the people what they are trying to do.

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