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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1728

Mr SCHOLES (CORIO, VICTORIA) - I ask the Prime Minis ter whether he agrees with the implied suggestion by the Minister for the Navy that

Australians working in naval shipyards are spies and saboteurs. Have any Australian workers in defence establishments been prosecuted for breaches of security in recent years? Does the Prime Minister consider that Australian defence secrets would be better kept in British, Japanese or United States shipyards than in Australian shipyards? Has he any evidence of any lack of security in respect of sh p, built in recent years in Australian shipyards?

Mr McMAHON - 1 have complete confidence in my colleague, the Minister for the Navy. I cannot answer in detail the question asked by the honourable gentleman because it is a question that should have been put on notice. But from my recollection of the dockyard in Sydney when I was Minister for Labour and National Service I can say that the greatest degree of obstruction came from such unions as the Ship Painters and Dockers Union under the control of Mr Terry Gordon and honourable members know where his political affiliations lie.

Mr Birrell - He is a Liberal.

Mr McMAHON - That remark puts the honourable member in a class of his own because Mr Gordon happens to a member of the Communist Party. I listened with great attention to what was said by my colleague, the Minister for the Navy. I have every confidence that what he said is correct. If the honourable member for Corio believes that there are any details which are inaccurate let him have the courage and the degree of responsibility that are essential: When he gives me the details I will be only too happy to examine them.

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