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Wednesday, 14 October 1964

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works) . - I do not believe I have ever heard in this chamber a vaguer or more tendentious statement than the one we have just heard from Senator Murphy. Let us go back to the beginning of this situation. The Attorney-General stated that a man called Sachs had said in. about 1950 that he was a Communist. That is the total of what the Attorney-General stated. As a result of that statement he has been attacked tonight by Senator Cavanagh and accused of not telling the truth, of saying things he should not have said, and of making ridiculous statements.

What are the facts? The facts are that this man in 1945 said before a Johannesburg court that he was a Communist. If Senator Murphy wants the truth to be told he should not attack people who, when telling the truth, just happen to be two or three years out in time. The most dangerous thing that can happen is for people who are discharging a responsibility to give a factual account to bc attacked and intimidated in an effort to stop them telling, not just facts, but facts which are not palatable to certain individuals.

Senator Murphy - Tell all the facts.

Senator GORTON - Those are the facts. What the Attorney-General said was that in 1950 this man said in front of a court that he was a Communist. Honorable senators opposite can read what he said.

I come now to the peace conference. Of course there are a number of people who endorse the peace conference and intend to go along to it. They have made their own judgment. They believe that they can overcome the Communist influence in this conference. Nobody is attacking them for that and nobody has attacked them. But again, it is perfectly right and proper for the Attorney-General of this Commonwealth to point out the genealogy of this conference - the steps, one by one, by which it has descended from the Communist world, and the number of Communists' associated with it in key positions. That having been done let people make up their own minds whether to associate with the conference or not. That is all that has been done and these people should not be attacked. When they are my colleagues they will not be attacked without defence by me for having said, not wrong things, but true things, although those things may bc unpalatable to some members on the Opposition side. 1 move -

That the question bc now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed expenditure noted.

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