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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for East Sydney is in order.

Mr WARD - I repeat that the questions directed to the applicants were intended, Got to ascertain their qualifications as research officers, but to find out what they thought about various aspects of government policy. Anybody who had Labour sympathies and answered the questions honestly - as all Labour men do - had no possible chance of securing an appointment. The Minister said that he did not give directions for that sort of question to be asked, and I accept his word that that was the case. Well, then, who did do so?

The secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service, to whom the Minister has thrown the ball, is none other than the son of a Liberal member of this Parliament. There is no doubt that, in making his decisions in these matters, he leans heavily on the side of the Liberal party. From the Minister's admissions in this chamber, I do not think he accepts this as being a suitable arrangement in the department he administers, and he has rejected the suggestion that he would have anything to do with it. I want to know from the Minister what he proposes to dc to change the situation in the Department o< Labour and National Service, and what investigation he proposes to make in respect of this most serious and important matter.

Now let me pass to another matter. In this House last night I tried to get some statement from a Minister about the screening of immigrants overseas, because not only does the Minister for Labour and National Service and the secretary of his department want only Liberal supporters working in that department - certainly in the ranking positions in the department - but also they want only immigrants who are opposed to the Labour party.

I brought to notice last night the case of a man and his single sister now living in Malta. These two people wanted to come to Australia. They passed the medical test and they were of sufficient educational standard to warrant the approval of their application. They both speak English fluently and they have received a first-class education. However, for some reason unknown to them their application was refused. They wrote to me, because the> probably thought that was the best way te find out why their application had been refused. I wrote to the Minister-

Mr Freeth - Mr. Speaker, I rise to order. We heard all this last night. Must we submit to all this tedious repetition?

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for East Sydney is in order.

Mr WARD - Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Might I say that these people had their application refused only because it was discovered that they were supporters of thiMaltese Labour party. There could be no security report which would forbid rneb entry to this country because the man in question happens to be an electrician and has been working at Her Majesty's naval dockyard in Malta for a number of years If he were a security risk-

Mr Freeth - Mr. Speaker, I ask for a ruling on how often an honorable member must repeat himself before it becomes tedious repetition. We heard all this last night.

Mr SPEAKER - I have already ruled on that.

Mr Freeth - Will you rule on how often a speaker has to repeat-

Mr SPEAKER - I rule that the honorable member for East Sydney is in order. I will ask you to take your seat.

Mr WARD - As a matter of fact, in reply to the honorable member who took the point of order, it would have to be repeated several times before it would pierce his bone head and he would understand exactly what is going on; but I am hoping that not all Government supporters are as hopeless as he is.

Mr Freeth - Mr. Speaker, I respectfully ask whether you consider such terms as " bone head " parliamentary? The honorable member for East Sydney has had your indulgence in a remarkable way, with all due respect, but how far is this indulgence going to extend?

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for East Sydney is out of order in referring to the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Freeth) as a bone head.

Mr WARD - I am not anxious to offend the honorable member and if he feels hurt I withdraw the expression " bone head " and I merely say he is very thick in the skull. That evidently will be in order. I hope that the Minister will peruse Hansard " and will see what honorable members have said in regard to the various matters that have been raised on the motion for the adjournment of the House, and that he will give Opposition members some reply, if there is a reply which can be given.

Let me say finally that I raised another important matter last evening regarding a person who is in the pay of, or who is being kept by, this Government. I asked how long the taxpayers were to be asked to keep Vladimir Petrov and Mrs. Petrov on the pay-roll of the Commonwealth and how long the community was expected to maintain them. After the Minister has given some attention to these matters he might also be able to tell this House what became of Petrov's trousers at Surfer's Paradise.

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