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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2345

Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - I rise in defence of the Minister for Labor and Immigration (Mr Clyde Cameron) in respect of what Senator Davidson has seen fit to accuse him of tonight. Senator Davidson went on with a great tirade of criticism of Mr Cameron, but when one boils it all down one finds that Senator Davidson has only 2 criticisms. I will deal with the first one. Senator Davidson said that over a long period he had made representations concerning a second assisted passage for migrants from England.

Senator Poyser - For 3 years.

Senator McLAREN -No. That was a different case. This is the case where Senator Davidson for a long time was making representations concerning a second assisted passage. The only criticism that he has of the Minister in that case is that these people arrived in South Australia a month before Senator Davidson was notified. What is wrong with that, if they arrived? Perhaps Senator Davidson had not opened his mail for that month, or he may not have been in his office. But at least the Minister did give these people a second assisted passage, and that is what Senator Davidson was complaining about. He wants 2 bites of the cherry. He cannot criticise the Minister for that.

The other criticism which Senator Davidson makes of Mr Cameron is that Senator Davidson had been working on a case for 3 years and the papers were lost. This Government has not been in office 3 years. So for at least one year and 2 months the case about which Senator Davidson complains was the responsibility of a Minister for Immigration who was a member of the Government which Senator Davidson supported. That is possibly when the papers were lost. I have had cases involving migrants that I have taken up with Mr Cameron. I can say only that they have been given the greatest of sympathy. If the only 2 cases upon which Senator Davidson can criticise Mr Cameron are the 2 cases that he has mentioned tonight, I am sure that he has based his criticism on very flimsy grounds and he is on very thin ice. He is only trying to ridicule the Minister because of some personal grudge he has against him. Perhaps it is because our Minister for Labor and Immigration is a South Australian. The fact is that Senator Davidson is opposed to this Government and he has to vent his spleen on a Minister who, in my opinion, has done a good job in the short time that he has been the Minister in charge of immigration.

We must not forget the vindictive campaign that was conducted against the previous Minister for Immigration, Mr Grassby, in the electorate of Riverina during the period leading up to the election held on 18 May 1974. We know of all the filth that was scooped up to have him defeated in the job. I never heard Senator Davidson coming to the defence of Mr Grassby during that campaign. He was quite prepared then to sit back and be silent when that criticism was levelled against the previous Minister for Immigration. I have been to citizenship ceremonies and I have never heard Senator Davidson or people like him criticise the previous Minister for Immigration, Mr Grassby. But these same people were not prepared to speak out in his defence when organisations such as the League of Rights were conducting a very vindictive campaign against him in the electorate of Riverina to bring about his defeat because of the humane policies that man was implementing while he was Minister for Immigration. I think that it ill behoves Senator Davidson to stand up here tonight and criticise the present Minister for Immigration. I had greater respect for Senator Davidson before he made these remarks tonight than I have at the present time.

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