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Tuesday, 10 April 1973
Page: 1251

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Leader of the House) - The right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) and the Deputy Leader of the Country Party (Mr Sinclair) look so solemn that one really would think that they meant the motion that has been moved. The only purpose of this motion to call the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) before the Bar of this House is to delay the business of the House. Today we have seen this House pass a resolution of confidence in the Attorney-General, and consistently on this side of the Parliament, the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and others have answered-

Mr Katter - Why are you frightened?

Mr DALY - I suggest that honourable members opposite should be patient and I will enlighten them. The real purpose behind the motion moved by the right honourable member for Higgins is to delay the business of the House and to take the minds of the people off the guilty consciences of those who sit opposite. For years honourable members opposite, particularly the right honourable member for Higgins, as I shall show, have gone easy on the terrorists. In addition, honourable members opposite have moved this motion as a diversion. Who would not want to forget the wrangles going on between the Country Party, the Democratic Labor Party and the Liberal Party? Who would not want to put that away? Who would not want to forget the dissension that exists in their ranks and to put away from the public mind the fact that they are split to ribbons from one end of this country to the other and in the Parliament? Everybody knows about this and this motion is a diversionary tactic that honourable members opposite hope will succeed. They are desperate men. Of course they are looking for issues. Honourable members opposite refuse to believe the truth. 1 wonder why we do not ask Senator Greenwood to come before the Bar of the House in order that he might tell us what he has done with the stolen documents that he has hidden in his garage. Of course, no mention is made of this.

The right honourable member for Higgins talked about civil liberties. He was a party to that infamous propaganda which was put out during an election and which listed as a communist every person who walked down the street with a communist. We were defeated in that election a few years ago because of the policy of guilt by association employed by the right honourable member for Higgins and those who sit behind him. Everybody knows that the motion moved by the right honourable member for Higgins is a phoney approach to the subject. It is guilt by association. Honourable members opposite have been answered again and again in this Parliament.

Documents galore have been produced, and still they refuse to believe the truth. They wish to take the matter to another place so that they may have an opportunity to use again the brute force of numbers that they used so undemocratically in that place. Honourable members opposite pretend that they are defending public servants. Public servants waited 23 years for the then Government to do something for them. That Government would not even give them decent working conditions, yet the Opposition now says that it is defending the good name of public servants. What a phoney proposition. .

Let us examine what was done by the right honourable member for Higgins and see how he went easy on these terrorists. I have a document signed by Patrick Shaw, First Assistant Secretary, dated 27th August 1964 and dealing with Croat terrorists in Australia.

Mr Enderby - What year was that?

Mr DALY - The document is dated 27th August 1964 and it states:

In the past few months there has been considerable activity towards drafting some public statement which would answer the numerous questions on the parliamentary notice paper concerning the activities of Croat national groups in Australia. As a background there have been further investigations into the activities of these groups by both ASIO and the Commonwealth Police. My impression is that the Commonwealth Police reports have been more thorough, accurate and revealing than those of ASIO. An important point in the investigations was the turning up by the Commonwealth Police of a film put together by the Croat organisation in Australia, purporting to show the extent of the Australian Government's military and political support of their terrorist activities. This film was obviously designed for use overseas and it brought a violent reaction from the Attorney-General when he saw it. At that time Mr Snedden was about to issue a fairly strong statement in his own name which has been approved In principle by the Prime Minister just prior to bis departure overseas.

Let honourable members listen to this:

However, Senator Gorton objected because of its possible unpopularity amongst Government back benchers and there have been a number of attempts to redraft a watered down version of the condemnatory statement which contained threats of legal action against terrorist groups.

In other words, the right honourable member for Higgins was going easy on his friends in the terrorist organisations in this country; he was going easy on the Croats. That confidential document indicates what a phoney argument he has advanced in this Parliament today. It is a smokescreen by the right honourable member for Higgins. He would not have moved this motion in the Parliament if he had had the numbers, because the last thing he wants is an investigation into how he and the previous Ministry went easy on those who are terrorists in this country. Of course, honourable members opposite will move a motion in this House only when they know that they cannot carry it.

I would love to see the secret files on the activities of members of that Ministry in regard to terrorists. At that time Senator Gorton did not want anything done because those great civil liberties fighters who sit behind him would have been embarrassed by action being taken against their fascist friends in the ranks of the Croats in this country. This is the reason why the motion to call the AttorneyGeneral before the Bar of this House has been moved.' Have honourable members ever heard anything more phoney in their lives? I only wish we had the time to debate in this Parliament the unlimited things that should be said in respect of this matter. But there is legislation to be passed by this House. There is legislation to which we must give effect. We are not like the previous Government. We are doing things. We do not have idle hours to sit here and not put measures through. The fact is that the motion is an attempt to delay the House. It is what might be called a phoney apology for what has been done. The Party opposite has been cut to ribbons by the allegations by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy). If anybody was demolished today in this Parliament it would be the members of the Opposition when the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) had finished speaking in the previous debate. I have never seen such relieved men opposite as when we said that they could have only 3 speakers in the debate. Immediately the Prime Minister finished talking they all walked out from the other side of the chamber. You could have fired a shotgun in the direction of the other side of the chamber without hitting anyone because not one of those great freedom fighters remained to hear the rest of their case. Is it any wonder that we treat this motion as a phoney proposition?

The honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), who is Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party, has to try to fight his way back to the top somehow. His Leader is only the third most important man in the Opposition. Where that puts him, I do not know. He is grasping at straws. The Leader of the Country Party (Mr Anthony), the great militant, came forward and tried to tell us that he will fight for civil liberties. The most oppressed people in the country are those who are represented by members of the Country Party. There is no democracy in that Party or in its administration generally. Here today members of the Country Party are telling members on this side of the Parliament what ought to be done. I would have liked the right honourable member for Higgins to have moved that we call to the door of the Parliament some of the great capitalists of this country so that we could hear how they are exploiting the Australian people through prices and such factors. I would like to hear from somebody like Senator Greenwood. He probably could give us a lot on this matter that he is keeping hidden. He must have something to hide because he has pinched the papers and has hidden them in his garage. That is the situation. What a phoney proposition to put up.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Leader of the House is getting a little away from the motion.

Mr DALY - I will get back to the motion. I name it for what it is - an attempt to hold up the business of the House. I issue to honourable members opposite not a threat but a word of friendly warning. The Government will not tolerate the business of the House being taken out of its hands. The legislation of this country must go through and it will go through. Tactics of this nature should be judged by the public for what they are. They have nothing to do with national security or the Attorney-General. They are a deliberate attempt to hold up the business of the House and the progressive legislative program of this Government. Keep in mind that such tactics will not be tolerated. Learn early that if you want to debate the big issues, do not waste time on frivolous motions like the one we have just debated.

Mr Gorton - I rise first to raise a point of order and then to make a personal explanation. I ask in accordance with standing orders that the document from which the Leader of the House quoted be tabled.

Mr Daly - There is no need for the right honourable gentleman to ask under the Standing Orders. I would have tabled the document if he had asked by interjection.

Mr GORTON(Higgins) - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr GORTON - Yes. I have been misrepresented by the Leader of the House. 1 believe that he has misrepresented me by claiming that I have been soft on terrorists, which seems to be a standing insult from the other side of the House. He apparently relies on a document in which I indicated that I did not think a stronger statement should be made or action should be taken against people whose names I cannot remember. That approach of mine would be made entirely in line with what I have been saying in the House today; that is that there should bc no action and no public accusations unless there is sufficient evidence for a charge to be made and a conviction to be brought. That is not being soft on terrorists. That is being hard on protection of the civil rights of Australians. I say that the other approach is being hard on Australians.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Gorton's) be agreed to.

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