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Wednesday, 8 May 1957

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- I should have preferred that the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) had reserved his personal explanation until I had finished; it would have saved time. Honorable members who happen to know the honorable member for Moreton could not but agree with the description of him that has been given by the " Century " newspaper in New South Wales, which described him as the greatest bore of all time in the Parliament.

Mr Cramer - That is not an authoritative newspaper.

Mr WARD - No. but it is an antiCommunist journal. You cannot claim it to be Communist. I agree with the excellent case that has been put forward by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), who has debunked everything that the honorable member for Moreton had to say. Unintentionally, the honorable member for Moreton has done a great service to the Australian Labour party. Although we have suspected that there was close liaison between the Gair breakaway party in Queensland and the Liberal party, we did not previously have any evidence of it, but it is quite obvious that the honorable member for Moreton rose in his place to-night after having been briefed by the breakaway Gair section in Queensland, to state its case against the Labour party in this Parliament.

In taking up the brief for Gair, the honorable member went back to 1952. Would Gair be completely unaware of the things that the honorable member for Moreton has mentioned to-night and which he has advanced in support of Gair? This little gentleman from Moreton - and he is a little man in all respects - has spoken on many occasions in this House implying that members of the Labour party have a close liaison with the Communist party. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has spoken truly. The only political force in Australia that the Communists fear is the left wing or militant section of the Australian Labour party. There is no doubt in the world about that.

But what happens to this gentleman from Moreton? I have heard him on a number of occasions twitting members of the Australian Labour party. He has said, " I have fought for so many years against communism during the war ". He wanted to direct attention to the fact that he had been an ex-serviceman.

Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes - What is wrong with that?

Mr WARD - There is nothing wrong with that, but he must have lost any courage he had because recently, when everybody was denouncing what was happening in Hungary, and none louder than the Labour Opposition, what happened? The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) made a suggestion. Honorable members will recollect that the government in Hungary at the time would not permit United Nations observers to enter the country and observe and report on what was happening. The honorable member for Mackellar made a brilliant suggestion. He said, in effect, " The United Nations representatives ought to line up on the Hungarian boundary and, unarmed, walk into the country, defying the Soviet and challenging it to take some action against them ". In order to prove he was not advocating something that he himself would not support, he said, " I will lead them ".

Mr Turnbull - Did the honorable member for East Sydney volunteer, too?

Mr WARD - The honorable member for Moreton volunteered. I waited with great interest to see what was going to happen in respect of this heroic march into Hungary to liberate the Hungarians from Soviet control.

Mr Curtin - What happened?

Mr WARD - The honorable members for Mackellar and Moreton set out for Hungary, but they did not get beyond the civil defence school at Mount Macedon in Victoria. That was the nearest they got to Hungary. I believe this little gentleman is an exhibitionist. He likes publicity, and he will do anything to obtain it. Therefore, I think one can say that he should be cut back to size. It is probably not the right term to use in respect of the honorable member for Moreton. When he arrived here he rather interested me. I was not able to make my mind up whether he was a miniature Hitler or a filleted prawn, but I decided that he did look, in many respects, like a miniature Hitler.

Reference has been made to pressure groups. Do honorable members opposite think that this Government is free from what they term pressure groups? What have the private banks been doing for some time in Canberra and elsewhere? They have been canvassing and lobbying members of the Government.

Mr Curtin - The shipping companies, too, have been similarly engaged.

Mr WARD - Yes, representatives of the shipping companies were amongst those who visited members of the Government. The Executive of the Liberal party actually had the audacity, not only to come to Canberra to meet members of the Government, but to meet them in the Cabinet room of all places. As a matter of fact, the members of the Executive summoned the leaders of the Government to meet them because they had to submit to Ministers certain demands that had been made by pressure groups in this country. Everybody knows that there is not an honorable member sitting on the Government side who is free to act and vote as his conscience determines. Each Government supporter has to vote as the private bankers tell him. He is controlled by the monopolies who demand that he shall vote in a certain way. How often have honorable members opposite put on a sham fight, and threatened to make a certain move against the Government! Then the Government has adjourned the debate, and Ministers go away, and have a little talk with, and threaten, these people with withdrawal of their endorsement at the next election unless they come into line. All these revolts that occur from time to time on the Government benches suddenly fizzle out because the pressure groups get to work on the members concerned. There is not a member on the other side of the House who does not owe his position in this Parliament to the approval given to his endorsement by private banks, shipping companies and the monopolies generally in this country. The only party in the Commonwealth Parliament to-day that is able to determine its own policy and to act in the Parliament independently of these great monopoly interests outside is the Australian Labour party. I conclude by thanking the honorable member for Moreton for giving the opportunity to my colleague, the honorable member for Hindmarsh, and myself to state the case for Labour.

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