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Wednesday, 26 April 1972
Page: 1343

Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - I enter into this debate with a feeling of deep disappointment. This evening I heard the television programme This Day Tonight'. At the beginning of the programme it mentioned that we should all listen to the startling revelations in the Senate. At the end of the segment an announcer said: 'Don't forget. Listen to the Labor boys in action tonight.'

Senator Georges - When was that said?

Senator McMANUS - It was said on This Day Tonight'. There were 2 advertisements for this particular adjournment speech. My word, the Australian Labor Party must have a pull inside the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I came along and expected something worthwhile. But what have we heard? We have heard a statement from that notable newspaper of the Australian Union of Students and the alleged minutes of some meetings supplied by an anonymous pimp or informer who was not prepared to make the allegations in his own name. I feel that if there is anything worse than a pimp or an informer it is a proxy for a pimp or an informer. For that reason I regretted having to listen to what we heard tonight.

Members of the Liberal Party will speak for their own Party. But I was interested in the reference to the fact that this organisation in some way was tied to the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I am not a member of it. Senator Gair is not a member of it. Senator Byrne is nol a member of it. Senator Little is not a member of it. We have never been members of that organisation. We have never been asked to join it. I am a little bit disappointed in this respect because the list of its members is so impressive that I would have been honoured to be in their company.

All I can say is that the statement which appears in that newspaper of the Australian Union of Students is typical of the malicious lies in which that organisation indulges and of which I had a personal example within recent weeks. Some weeks ago, on the Michael Willesee show, the president of this organisation which claims to represent 148,000 students - of those students, 146,000 would not even know it exists - was permitted to launch an attack on me in which he said that I had taken part in a student campaign against the paying of fines for students at La Trobe University, that I personally organised the campaign and that I addressed a big meeting of 60 students at Yarrabundy Avenue, or somewhere or other, in Drummoyne last February.

It is a good cause, but I knew nothing about it. I had had nothing to do with the campaign. He said that I had been at Drummoyne in February. I have not been in Sydney since May 12 months.

Senator Keeffe - Thank God for that.

Senator McMANUS - I say thank God for that because some of the company there is not very good at times. I communicated by telephone with Mr Willesee. I was informed that he would ring mc back. He has not rung me since that time. I wrote to him and pointed out that this statement was an untruth. I asked him for the opportunity to repudiate the statement and asked him what he intended to do. I did not receive a reply.

I wrote to the Australian Union of Students, this reputable body which has been quoted as the authority for these statements. I wrote to Mr Newcombe and pointed out that he had told an untruth. I asked him what he intended to do about it in order to clear what he had said. I have received no reply. I wrote to the Secretary of this highly reputable body and asked him what he intended to do in view of the fact that his president had told a malicious lie. I have received no reply.

I would not believe any statement made by the Australian Union of Students on a bet. It stands convicted of having publicly told a deliberate and malicious lie about a member of this Parliament. When that body was asked to repudiate that state ment, it did not have the guts even to reply to this letter. I listened to what was said here about people being associated with undemocratic bodies and what was said about a Minister. We have somebody who is spoken of as a prospective Minister. He attends certain organisations called moratoriums and he advocates that the, should break the law. On other occasion: he has come before the Parliament in association with people that others would no touch with a barge pole. In their company he has advocated again that the law b( broken.

I have no hesitation in stigmatising whawe have heard tonight as humbug anc hypocrisy of the worst type. I anc confirmed in my opinion by the fact tha: this information obviously has been supplied to the Leader of the Labor Party ir this chamber by an organisation which has been shown within the past month to be an organisation which is prepared to propagate deliberate lies about people. I would never believe anything from the Australian Union of Students on a bet.

Senator O'Byrne - Mr President.

The PRESIDENT - Order! Are you addressing yourself to the same subject, Senator O'Byrne?

Senator O'Byrne - Yes.

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator O'Byrne.

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