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Wednesday, 14 October 1964

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) . - I feel somewhat guilty as I was the originator of this discussion in this chamber for the reason that was better stated by Senator Cohen, namely the injustice of ruining the reputation of a man who is in Australia to support a specific cause with which we all agree. This matter was raised for the purpose of ascertaining whether the Department was getting proper advice in view of the number of mistakes it had made. I referred not to only one inaccurate statement by the Department but to three.

I maintain that it has been clearly demonstrated tonight by Senator Cohen, supported by documentary evidence, not only that the statement of the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) in this particular case was inaccurate, but also that the Minister for

Works (Senator Gorton), representing the Attorney-General in this chamber, takes full responsibility for the assertion that in 1945 Mr. Sachs said he was a Communist. When we asked the Minister in this chamber to produce his authority, the only authority he gave was that the Attorney-General had said so. That is the source of his information. He is backing a statement by the Attorney-General against a South African law report.

Senator Gorton - It is a different court case.

Senator CAVANAGH - The Minister has taken responsibility for the statement without referring it to anybody else. He has said that Sachs said this in 1945. When challenged by Senator Cohen to produce his authority, he said: " My authority is the Attorney-General ". He is prepared to accept as authoritative a statement by the Attorney-General as against the reputable report of a court case in the Sooth African Law Reports.

It has been suggested that this man had made a profit out of his expulsion from the Communist Party. The man himself did not make the profit. The profit was made because of statements such as that made by the Minister in this chamber tonight except that those statements were made without the protection of parliamentary privilege. If the Minister is sure of his ground he could prove us to be all at fault by repeating the charge he has made outside the House. Then further profits would come to this particular individual.

Senator Bransonhas done no more than support the remarks of Senator Cohen. All

Senator Bransonsaid was that this man, on a television programe, said: "I was a member of the Communist Party ". Senator Cohen gave documentary evidence that this man said he had been a member of the Communist Party. If this man were a Communist, in the light of recent actions we could expect that he would never have been permitted to enter Australia. This is a condemnation of a man who came to Australia on a certain mission only because certain Ministers do not support that mission, despite the vote of our delegates to the opposite effect at the United Nations.

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