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Thursday, 8 November 1956

Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) .- I rise only to reply to some of the extravagant and absurd statements that have been made by the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight). Obviously labouring under the stress of emotion, he said several things that must be contested by honorable members on this side. He adopted the juvenile attitude that the members of the Labour party do not now and never will support anything British. He said that during the time he had been a member of this House, the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) had never said anything good about the British. What about the right honorable gentleman's statement to-day that we are behind the aspirations of the British people, but against the absurdities and nonsense of their conservative government? The point that the honorable member for Lilley overlooks, as does his leader, is that public opinion in Great Britain is inflamed at the moment because of the mistakes that the British Government has made in relation to the Suez Canal and the United Nations.

A great deal of lip service is paid to the British people, particularly the British workers, by honorable members on the other side of the House, but the Australian Labour party, when it was in office, made a practical contribution to their welfare. After the war, a Labour government gave £35,000,000 to the British people. In addition, it gave a more sympathetic consideration to the balance of payments problem of Great Britain than has been given by the patriotic tories in this House. During the war, we accumulated £800,000,000 of overseas funds, simply because the British people had to buy everything that we had to sell and, because of the war, could sell us nothing in return. When the British Prime Minister of the day was thinking of funding certain debts, our Prime Minister said to him, " I think we had better give you a to ". and nothing further was done. We of the Labour party have always spoken up for Australia as a dominion. We have never been stooges. The inspired stoogery of honorable members opposite nauseates everybody in this country. This Government has not the courage to say to the British Government that what it has done is wrong. I have shown, I think, that the young honorable member for Lilley was wrong when he said that we on this side of the House have never had any consideration for the British people.

Let us return to this debate. The Leader of the Opposition has made at least three statements on Hungary. No man could do more. If we use for the purposes of comparison the statement that was made by the ineffectual deputy holder of the External Affairs portfolio, the Leader of the Opposition made a wider, more comprehensive and more complete statement than did the Government spokesman himself. If anybody could make anything of what we heard this afternoon from the Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs, he is a better man than I am and a better man than many honorable members on this side.

Mr Snedden - That would not be difficult.

Mr HAYLEN - That is a matter of opinion. The situation in Hungary has been seized upon by the Government, avidly and rabidly, for propaganda purposes. If the measure of what the Government knows about that situation is what the Minister for Defence told its, then the Government knows nothing about it. There is no need for the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) to become annoyed. At present he is in touch with a Hungarian who, the Jews of Sydney assure me, is a mass slaughterer - Dr. Laszlo Megay. The honorable member is looking for another Dobson - that miraculous person who exceeded the feats of Olympic Games athletes by swimming Sydney Harbour without getting wet! The honorable member has discovered another protege to use in his propaganda war against those Australians who are a little more, or considerably more, to the left than he is. The new protagonists join with the honorable member to attack the Leader of the Opposition and say that he said this or that, but the old treadmill is worn out. No man fought the Russian veto more steadily and more consistently in the United Nations than did the Leader of the Opposition, as will be seen by any one who reads the records.

Mr Anderson - Ha, ha!

Mr HAYLEN - If the honorable member would take his mind away from his turkeys and read the records of the United Nations and of this House he would see that that is true. If he reads the records of the United Nations he will see that Gromyko, who represented the Russians at the time, was time and again worsted in debate by the Leader of the Opposition. But does any one ever mention that? Of course, Government supporters do not. They conduct a propaganda war against one man. It is no longer to be tolerated. The young honorable member for Lilley does not know very much about it. The honorable member for Mackellar professes to know everything about it. I rose merely to state these facts. Opposition members were patient, having been brought here today to hear a statement on international affairs by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). It was a studied and calm statement by a leader. But there was not much in it that we did not already know or had not already guessed. The speeches which followed also were appropriate to the occasion. Then suddenly, because some one considers he has been thwarted of the opportunity to make a speech - a propaganda speech at that - we run into this argument during the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House, when, in a few moments, we all shall wish one another a happy Christmas. No one who understood what has occurred here this afternoon would believe in it.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - We are not yet adjourning for the Christmas recess.

Mr HAYLEN - Of course, that is one way out of it. I shall send the Minister a personal Christmas card. There is no doubt that these personal attacks on the Leader of the Opposition are savage, and propagandistic. And they are made to any one who is at hand.

A moment ago, out of a blue sky, we heard about 3,000 refugees coming to this country. Tt brings me sadness to hear of a dead man in any country, because I have always been a pacifist. When a man is dead it does not matter what mistakes he has made. In these crucial situations why do we become so much inflamed by propaganda? If there is a final showdown, we all must work together to deal with the problem, whatever it may be.

We know where we all shall stand if the Suez situation deteriorates to the point of general conflict, and if the situation in Europe results in. a conflict involving the British Commonwealth, of Nations. Yet we spend our time in these intervals bickering, and blackmailing each other! The attacks on the Leader of the Opposition have become intolerable. Every little person in this House - by " little person " 1 mean any one who adopts a small-minded attitude in this matter or has shown no previous interest in it - thinks it a good thing to " knock the old Doc. over ". This sort of thing should end, for the dignity of this Parliament and for the good of the people in general. It should cease finally and completely.

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - lt happens because the Leader of the Opposition is wide open to it.

Mr Whitlam - The honorable member for Richmond should not forget what happened to Antony in Egypt.

Mr HAYLEN - Yes. Perhaps the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) recalls the famous words - i am dying, Egypt, dying . . .

As the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) has said, let him not forget what happened to Antony, who did not have the benefit of sanctions or of the United Nations.

I want to conclude on the question of the coming of refugees to this country. I was forgetting for the moment that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt), who is now at the table, is no longer Minister for Immigration. I do not want to appear callous in this matter. My advice is that the Hungarian frontiers have not been closed. In view of my allegations in regard to the peoples of Europe, which I intend to substantiate, I believe that whether newcomers are refugees or not we must, this time, maintain a degree of screening. Will the Minister not agree with that? I hope this mercy contingent of immigrants will not be brought here without their backgrounds first being investigated. We will welcome genuine refugees and work to help them, and the Australian Labour party will give the Government the maximum cooperation in bringing them here. But let the intake not be loaded with escapees as in the past. This is a matter in which we should be cautious, and 1 am sure the Minister, who, as I have said, was formerly Minister for Immigration, will agree with what I am. saying. I regret that this debate should have taken on an acrid note at this time, and I deplore the repeated attacks on the Leader of the Opposition, particularly the criticism that he did not say anything about Hungary. He has told us more about Hungary than the Government has done, and he has shown by his previous actions that he supports the United Nations.

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