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Thursday, 10 March 1977
Page: 165

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! Every honourable member in this House has a right to raise a point of order. On a number of occasions matters have been raised which have not been points of order.

Mr MORRIS -Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Reference to Hansard will reveal remarks made by the Government Whip which bear out the statement I made a few moments ago. I wish to bring to the attention of the Parliament a letter which is evidence of the extreme right-wing influence within the Liberal Party and of its activities in the Newcastle area. I shall read from a letter addressed to an ethnic church in the Newcastle area. The letter is dated June 1976 and was handed to the priest of that church. The letter relates to a meeting at the Newcastle office of the Liberal Party on 5 June 1976. It states:

An outline of Liberal Party policy which is basically antisocialist was given and part of the Liberal aim is to attract members of all ethnic groups with similar feelings and beliefs.

What has been happening in Newcastle is that the Liberal Party has been seeking to use religious groups and churches to spread extremist right-wing propaganda. Another paragraph of this letter states:

One particular aspect brought to the attention of the meeting was the concern expressed by ethnic group leaders regarding social indoctrination apparent in many churches.

I thought that churches and religion were associated with social issues. In this case, quite clearly the Newcastle Branch of the Liberal Party has misused the definition of those words. The key paragraph of the letter states:

If members of church congregations are politically ignorant and are therefore unaware of the dangers inherent in the social/labour doctrines, should the church arrange for the education -

The 'education' mind you- of its members in this area- or alternatively, should leaders of particular social groups related to each denomination organise some form of positive instruction by way of seminars etc., so that all individuals have the opportunity to learn about and understand the way of Australian politics.

Your comments and suggestions in regard to this topic would be very much appreciated.

The letter is signed 'Yours sincerely, Adrian Garton, Liberal Party member, Newcastle Branch' and is on a Liberal Party letterhead. It is an authentic document. I have seen the original letter. Quite clearly, this is one of the groups to which the honourable member for Evans was referring in his remarks which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 5 March 1977. It is disgraceful that the Liberal Party should seek to use the ethnic churches of this nation to promote extremist propaganda. This is a blatant example of an official letter from an organ of the Liberal Party of New South Wales seeking to subvert the priests of an ethnic church to collaborate in spreading this propaganda. No doubt the honourable member for Evans has recognised the danger of such activity and quite rightly he has sought in his statement of 5 March 1977 to disown these extremists within the Liberal Party. I say to those more moderate and more enlightened members of the Liberal Party sitting opposite who have some hope of remaining in this place that they ought to follow his example. The ethnic churches are not lobby groups to be abused and misused by the extremists who are masquerading within the Liberal Party.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Mr Bourchier - I rise to ask whether the honourable member for Shortland is prepared to table the document from which he read. He is so clever at asking this of everybody else. Also I wonder whether he bothered to pay the usual courtesy that is extended to members of this House of advising the honourable member for

Evans that he intended to address his remarks about him.

Mr Morris - Mr Deputy Speaker,my remarks were in no way derogatory of the honourable member for Evans. This is just an example of feverishness of the honourable member for Bendigo this evening. What I say in response to the matter raised by the honourable member is that I have not sought as yet- but I have no doubt I will receive it- permission of the recipient of the letter to have it incorporated in Hansard. I will do so at the weekend and next week I will be very happy to have the letter incorporated in Hansard with the permission of the Government Whip.

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