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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2989


Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - I enter this debate only to contradict what Senator Rae has tried to imply in relation to the comments of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) tonight. He has in fact said that the Minister has declared a falsehood in this House tonight by his endeavour to expose the actions of the Premier of Queensland, Mr Bjelke-Petersen. The Minister said in his remarks that certain telegrams he had received today all contained an identical message.


Senator Sheil - Not all.


Senator McLAREN - Well, most of them contained an identical message. They came from the same place in Queensland. These telegrams were inspired by the Premier of Queensland, who sent a telegram to the people who sent telegrams to the Minister, asking them to send those telegrams. The Minister has checked by telephone today with the senders of some of those telegrams, who told him that they were asked by the Premier of Queensland to send the telegrams. I want to read into the record of this Parliament the places from which and the times at which these telegrams were sent to prove that Senator Rae is endeavouring to cover up a despicable action by the Premier of Queensland. I am not going to read the text of them because it is already in the record, having been read by the Minister. The first one was sent from Thursday Island via Brisbane at 11.30 p.m. this day by Joseph Mondy, Chairman, York Island'.


Senator Baume - I think you mean a.m.


Senator McLAREN -The telegram has '11.30P' on it.


Senator Baume - That is an unusual time at which to send a telegram from Thursday Island.


Senator McLAREN -Yes. That makes it all the more unusual.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator WebsterOrder! The honourable senator knows how to present his case.


Senator McLAREN - The second one was sent from Thursday Island via Brisbane at 1 1.45P and was signed 'Murray Lui, Chairman, Coconut Island'.


Senator Sheil - That is a different island.


Senator McLAREN - It was still sent from Thursday Island. The next one was sent from Thursday Island via Brisbane at 1 1.40P and was signed 'Charlie Gibuma, Chairman, Boigu Island'. The next one was sent from Thursday Island via Brisbane. The time of dispatch is shown as 11.35P. It was signed 'Wees Nawia Chairman, Kubin'.


Senator Bishop - Was it the same message?


Senator McLAREN - It was the same message. The next one was from Thursday Island via Brisbane. The time of despatch was U.30P. It was signed 'Nelson Billy, Chairman, Warraber Island '. The next one, which contained an identical message, was from Thursday Island via Brisbane.


Senator McAuliffe - At what time was it despatched?


Senator McLAREN -At 1 1.55P. It was signed 'Wages Waia, Chairman, Saibai Island'. The next one was from Thursday Island via Brisbane. The time of despatch was 1 1.50P. It was signed 'Tabipa Mau, Chairman, Dauam Island'. The next one, containing the same message, was from Thursday Island via Brisbane. The time of despatch was 1 1.35P. It was signed 'Philip Nola, Chairman, Badu Island'. The next one was despatched from Thursday Island post office. The time of despatch was 11.30P. It was signed .'........ Lui, Chairman, Yam Island'. The next one was from Thursday Island via Brisbane. It was despatched at 9.20 a.m. and signed 'Llope and Councillors and People Weipa Community'. The next one was sent from Thursday Island, time of despatch 10.40 a.m., signed 'Victor McKinvoy, Robert Gilbert, Councillors and people Lockhart River community'. The next one was sent from Thursday Island, time of despatch 9.20 a.m., signed 'Harris Gregory, Acting Chairman on behalf councillors and people Kowanyama'. The next one was sent from Thursday Island, time of despatch 9.20 a.m., signed 'Jimmy Kendall'. All contained exactly the same message- every word the same. Then we go a little further afield. The next one was sent from Bamaga via Brisbane, time of despatch 11.55, signed 'Chairman, Umagico, Mr Bill Brown'.


Senator McAuliffe - What is the text of that message?


Senator McLAREN - That is exactly the same message. The next one was sent from Bamaga, time of despatch 1 1.50 p.m., signed 'Chairman, Banaaga, Mr A. Adidi'. The next one was sent from Bamaga but it was not exactly the same message. The next one was sent from Bamaga, time of despatch 11.45 p.m., signed 'Deputy Chairman, Cowal Creek, Simon Peter'. That was the same message. The next one was sent from Hopevale, Queensland, time of despatch 10.40 a.m. That contained the same message and was signed 'Herbert McLean, Chairman, Hopevale Council'. The next one came from Brisbane, time of despatch 10 p.m. and that is signed 'Dulcie

Dooley, Chairwoman, Aboriginal Council, Woombinda'. That contains the same message. The next one came from Murgon, Queensland, time of despatch 9.25 a.m., and was signed 'Les Stewart, Chairman, Cherbourg and Aboriginal Advisory Council '. The next one is from Domadgee Mission Outpost, Mount Isa, time of despatch 12.49 p.m. That contained the same message and was signed by the chairman.

All of those telegrams- I have read out a handful of them- were sent at different times, most of them from the same post office, and all with the identical message to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. As the Minister has pointed out, those telegrams were instigated by Mr Bjelke-Petersen who inspired these people to send the telegrams. It is quite obvious that these telegrams have been engineered by the Premier of Queensland. As Senator Rae pointed out, this is not the first time that Ministers or members of this Parliament have been inundated with identical messages signed by people who do not know what they are signing. I raised a similar matter here some months ago in an adjournment debate. I received a petition that had come from a doctor's clinic in Adelaide and had been signed by many people. I telephoned these people. Some of them denied that they had signed and some of them did not know what they had signed. I raised that matter in Parliament. It is quite obvious that the Senate is being subjected to organised telegrams, petitions and stereotyped letters to try to influence members of the Parliament. That is quite bad enough but when people try to do it for political purposes and try to influence the Minister, I think it is time that some action was taken. I hope that when Senator Bishop makes his investigations on Monday he also ascertains who paid for these telegrams from all these post offices. I hope that he advises this Parliament at the earliest possible opportunity just who is responsible for paying for the sending of these telegrams to the Minister.







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