Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
One of the founders of the League of Rights finds it difficult to believe that Alexander Downer was unaware that he addressed a League of Rights meeting seven years ago

HAMISH ROBERTSON: There's still some confusion this morning over the speech Alexander Downer gave at a rally in South Australia seven years ago. Mr Downer now claims he didn't know the rally was organised by the ultra Right wing League of Rights. But one of the surviving founders of the League, Mr Eric Butler, says he finds this hard to believe. He says that Mr Downer had been invited to speak on Australia's constitutional heritage in an event which had been publicised in the organisation's newsletter.

Ginny Stein asked Mr Butler whether he was surprised when Mr Downer accepted the invitation.

ERIC BUTLER: It was arranged by the late Mr Frank Bawden who was the State Director in South Australia at that time. And he arranged it and he informed me - I was National Director - that that was what we were going to do. And I said: That's fine with me. So I wasn't surprised at all because we've had, as I've said, a wide variety of people that have appeared on League platforms over the years. And sometimes there's pressure put on them. Mr Graeme Campbell had tremendous pressure put on him last year, the Labor Member, but he decided he was going to be his own man and spoke.

GINNY STEIN: So how was Mr Downer approached - normally, I guess, a letter, then a follow-up telephone call?

ERIC BUTLER: Relying on my memory, I would say that he was probably rung up and approached in that way.

GINNY STEIN: I mean, obviously when you're approaching people to speak that you would have to say where you're coming from. You have no reason to doubt ....

ERIC BUTLER: .... seen tonight showing of the video which one of the stations obtained somehow. There's no argument that Mr Frank Bawden, State Director of the League, was on the platform and opened the proceedings. And Mr Downer did refer to him.

GINNY STEIN: So he would have known who he was and where he came from?

ERIC BUTLER: I can't speak, but I'd be amazed if he didn't. In fact, I'd be staggered.

GINNY STEIN: So, for an invitation to be put to Mr Downer, it would be a matter of it coming under the name of the League of Rights, wouldn't it?

ERIC BUTLER: Oh yes, definitely, I would have thought so, yes. Mr Bawden wouldn't misrepresent himself. He'd represent himself as the State Director of the League of Rights.

GINNY STEIN: So you are under the impression that there's no way that Mr Downer could have not known where he was going to speak and who he was addressing?

ERIC BUTLER: Well, I can only say that, without getting involved in the controversy, I can only say that I would be surprised if he didn't. But it's conceivable that, well I'd find it hard to believe that he didn't know. I don't know.

GINNY STEIN: You were there on the occasion ....

ERIC BUTLER: That's right, I was the second speaker.

GINNY STEIN: And also Jeremy Lee who was to take David Irving around Australia if he was able to come out. Would he have been known to Mr Downer?

ERIC BUTLER: I can't say whether he would or whether he wouldn't, but I presume he knew who I was.

GINNY STEIN: Had you met him before that?

ERIC BUTLER: I had not met him before that, but if you'll look at the video and get the recording there you'll find that I followed Mr Downer's address and took the opportunity, on just a personal note, referring to the fact that I had known his late father for some time, both before he went to the United Kingdom as the High Commissioner, met him on several occasions in Adelaide, primarily to discuss one of my books with him which he read, The red pattern of world conquest. And then, of course, when he went to the UK, after 1962 I was in the UK every year for the next 10 years lecturing on the common market issue, and Mr Downer, as anyone who checks the records will find, he was strongly opposed to the British entry. And so naturally I had something to do with him.

GINNY STEIN: So for Mr Downer now to say that he wasn't aware who he was addressing, what do you think of that?

ERIC BUTLER: I really can't say, but I'd be astonished if he wasn't aware of the nature of the function.

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Eric Butler, one of the founders of the League of Rights.