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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1889


Senator MCAULIFFE (Queensland) - Mr President,I want to apologise to you for having raised a sort of challenge when I did not get the call. I was just enthusiastic to get to my feet and when you gave the call to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) I felt that that may have closed the debate. I hope that you will accept my explanation.


The PRESIDENT -Thank you very much.


Senator MCAULIFFE - I am prompted to speak in this debate because one must have serious doubts about the sincerity of Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood when they respond when accusations of this kind are made. I must also now include in that category Senator Rae because he made some reference that a similar matter was introduced on the eve of the Queensland elections. I can recall speaking some months ago- true, it was on the eve of the Queensland elections, but that was coincidentaland I spoke to the subject on which I did speak because the Standing Orders of the Parliament provided me with that opportunity when the States Grants Bill was before this House. I spoke about Mafia type tactics being introduced into the gambling industry in Queensland and being organised by a panel of bookmakers in Queensland. That evening I was subjected to a very vitriolic attack by Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood who seem to be the heavy artillery for the Opposition in these sorts of things. They challenged me and made all sorts of accusations that I was using it for political purposes on the eve of a State election, that I had produced no proof to the Senate and that I was not able to document the evidence and place it before the chamber as proof of what I was saying. I accepted that and 2 evenings later, on the adjournment debate, I brought 9 documents before this Parliament as proof of the accusations that I had made about Mafia type tactics that were being introduced into the gambling and bookmaking industries in Queensland. Particularly, I sought leave to have the documents incorporated in Hansard. With great repetition loud noes came from Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood on each occasion that I sought leave, so much so that the House remained sitting until 20 past 2 in the morning. If anyone wants to read the pages of Hansard which record the history of those events he will see, without my going into them in detail, that the documentation which I produced was ample proof of the claims I had made. Furthermore, if further proof is required, the bookmakers concerned in Queensland have resigned and the association which they were using for their Mafia-like tactics was disbanded at the request of the Minister.

But what concerns me more is that although that documentation was produced in this House- and I say again to the Senate that the bookmakers association which was being used as the vehicle for these Mafia-like tactics was dissolvedthere was silence from Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood on the question that they had erred in their accusations against me. They remained silent with the silence of Dean Maitland. They have still not apologised. But what concerns me even more was that after I had produced these documents in this Parliament my life was threatened by one of the persons mentioned. He said at Sydney Airport that he would get rid of me. Even though I made this claim in the Senate and produced evidence, Senator Wright, still in a cowardly manner, sat in his seat and forgot the whole incident. I must say that I cannot have any opinion of Senator Wright, Senator Rae and Senator Greenwood in these matters other than that they are false. I do not think they are sincere. I think they just do this for the sake of political expediency, to try to dodge answering the questions.

Senator Gietzeltwas entitled to make the claims that he made. As a matter of fact, in my capacity as Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control certain information came into my possession which influenced me to see whether I could persuade the Committee to inquire into accusations similar to those which Senator Gietzelt has placed before the chamber tonight. However, because a royal commission was taking place in New South Wales the Committee decided to leave the matter in abeyance until the conclusion of the royal commission. I think Senator Gietzelt had every right to do what he has done. I object to the attitude that has been adopted by Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood particularly in trying to say that these things are done for political purposes. I tell those senators: You still stand answerable in my eyes. Nearly 9 months have passed since I produced proof of the claims that I made in this place and I informed you of the threats that have been made on my life by these people. Yet you still sit there and you have not got the decency or the manliness to say: 'In this instance, I was wrong. You did produce proof. I erred in thinking that you did it for political purposes'. Instead you are trying to condemn Senator Gietzelt as you condemned me. I am sure that now he has been challenged he will produce proof.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 7.56 p.m. until Tuesday, 20 November, at 2 p.m.







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