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Thursday, 27 June 1946

Mr HARRISON (Wentworth) (12:53 PM) . - We have seen once again the " dingo " character of the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward). He always runs away from, any issue with which he is confronted. When the honorable member talked again about " the Brisbane line ", i he thought he would be able to put . across his usual bluff, but when his bluff is called, he runs for cover. He said, "I will discuss this matter with my party ". He has had the opportunity of discussing it with his party ever since he made his lying statement about "the Brisbane line " in this chamber, but has never taken it. He has never been game enough to pursue this issue to its ultimate conclusion. He was not game enough to appear before the royal commission that was set up by the Government of which he was a member. Instead he took refuge behind a law dimmed by 'the ages in order to save his hide. Now, at this late date, he continues to pour his corrosive filth on members of the Opposition. The Minister says- he would welcome an investigation. I will give him the opportunity to have one by an amendment that I propose to move when we come to the next clause. Let us see if he will run away from that. What are the f acts_ in regard to the defence of this country? Who objected to the formation of the Australian Imperial Force? The members of the Labour party, including the present Minister for Transport? Who objected to universal training? Members of the Labour party? Who said, " Sue for an honorable peace"? The New South Wales Labour party conference, supported by honorable gentlemen opposite. Who made the statement that we should have an honorable peace when Britain was facing Germany alone but for its dominions? A resolution to that effect was carried at the conference just referred to by 195 votes to SS. Who opposed' the Empire Air Training Scheme, which saved civilization? Honorable members opposite? Who is it that has attended completely anti-British demonstrations ? Honorable gentlemen opposite? Who called the Royal Navy an evil thing?A member of the party opposite. Who but the Minister for Transport talked about giving away New Guinea, and said, "Let the capitalists defend New Guinea if they want to, but I would not send one working man there to defend it "< The irony of it is that he is charged with the administration of the territory that he was ready to betray! This man who has the temerity to pose in this place as a patriot, referred to the " diggers " of the last war as " Evebob.adaymurderers." He is ever ready to pour out filth. Every statement he makes reeks with it. No decent man would associate with him. This champion of loyalty has never been able to express the truth. He relies on filth and vituperation. I will give him the opportunity to have his investigation. To-day he said something about, my being a person prepared to oppose- constitutional authority pf this country. To prove what a dirty coward he is, I give him the opportunity of saying that outside this chamber, and if he says it outside this chamber, I will prosecute him for slander.

Mr Ward - I thought that the honorable member was offering to "have me on " in the physical sense.

Mr HARRISON - I will "have the Minister on " any time he likes. Legal proceedings will hurt him more than a hiding.

Mr Ward - The honorable member could not give me a hiding.

Mr HARRISON - We shall talk about that later. If the Minister repeats that slanderous statement about me-

Mr Ward - What statement?

Mr HARRISON - The statement about my being prepared to resort to unconstitutional methods to overthrow the government of the country.

Mr Ward - What about the New Guard ?

Mr HARRISON - Will the Minister repeat that outside the House? He shelters behind the privilege afforded in this chamber, but 1 'shall give him an opportunity to prove whether he desires the investigation. On the next clause, I shall move that the investigation which be pretends to seek be granted so that he may attempt to justify the slanderous statements he has made in this House.

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