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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- Are we not to have any reply from the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) to the questions that have been asked by members of the Opposition? The honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) has introduced a very important point into the debate, ls this service to be so secret that not even the members of this Parliament can be told whom it is employing, the methods that it is adopting, and the agents who will come within the category of temporary or permanent employees? 1 think that the Minister either does not know anything about the subjectmatter or is treating this Parliament with complete contempt.

Let us consider what could be the situation in regard to agents. I have already stated that a lecturer at the Sydney University was asked to inform on members of the leaching staff at that institution. I also read a passage from a church journal to show that members of the clergy had been asked to inform on members of their congregation. Surely that will not be permitted to continue in this country under this type of legislation.

It is necessary to be very careful in the employment of temporary or casual employees. The gentleman whom I quoted and named during the second-reading debate showed how easy it was, because of the type of people who are employed in the security service, to get information which could be of importance to the enemies of this country.

Are we so naive as to believe that these people who had been employed in the secret service of another country, as the honorable member for Bonython pointed out, might not decide to sell the information which they obtained as members of the secret service either to their former government or the government of some other country?

Let us look at the matter realistically These people bargained with the Commonwealth security service. From the evidence given before the royal commission, it is quite clear that they were bargaining with the security service in order to extract the greatest payment that they could for any information that they were able to hand over.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! We are getting too wide of the clause.

Mr WARD - 1 do not know that we are.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - If the honorable member will resume his seat, I shall give him some information.

Mr WARD - Provided that the Minister gives me an undertaking that he will supply me with the information that the honorable member for Bonython and I have been seeking, I shall consider his proposition. But 1 am afraid, knowing the Minister- -

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) proposed-

That the question be now put.

Mr Curtin - Black mark!

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.

Mr Curtin - I withdraw the remark " black mark ".


The CHAIRMAN - Who used the word " bushranger "?


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.


The CHAIRMAN - If any one defies the Chair in that way again I shall name him. I will not allow that type of remark to be thrown about the chamber.

Question put -

That the question be now put.

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