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Wednesday, 8 May 1957

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) . - The House will agree with me, having heard the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), that the timber wolf of the Labour party is getting a little mangy in his old age. I think we have to recognize with all seriousness the way in which certain members of the Opposition, when the very true charge of association between communism and Labour is brought to light, revert to character assassination, make personal remarks for which there is no justification whatever, and endeavour, by raising side issues, to draw the attention of the House away from the main issues.

The association between the Communist party and a certain element in the Labour party is clear and obvious. I believe that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) have convicted themselves of bad faith in the House to-night. Everybody knows that what they were saying was untrue and I believe they must have known it themselves. The association between the two groups is set out by the Labour party itself in a book entitled, " The Future of Labour " authorized by the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labour party only a few days before the Communists succeeded in getting anti-Communist elements purged from that branch in the manner to which the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) has drawn the attention of the House. I quote from what the Labour party wrote about itself -

We appeal to them to consider another grave issue. All over the world the Communist party is following a " popular front " policy. It hopes that Socialists will forget the bitter lessons of previous " popular fronts " and again fall prey to Communist infiltration and betrayal.

We do not suggest that the Federal Executive or Federal Conference would wish to do the work of the Communist party. But they are being urged to carry out the exact step that the Communist party has long proclaimed as its objective - the extrusion from the A.L.P. of all actively antiCommunist elements - so that the way is clear for " merging " with, i.e. taking over, the A.L.P.

That is the Labour party's view, and the view of the executive of the New South Wales branch of the party just before it submitted to purging, and just before the Federal Labour party did to it what it had described as " following the Communist policy ". So, I have a witness to what I said, the direct printed witness of the Labour party itself. Let the Labour party laugh that off if it can!

There is not the slightest doubt that in Queensland the Communist party is supporting the so-called Queensland central executive. Evidence of that is to be found in the last issue of the " Tribune " published on 1st May. Let me read a couple of extracts. The Communist party's statement is as follows: -

Gair has consistently defied the Convention and Executive of the A.L.P. and flouted the letter and spirit of the Constitution and Rules.

His expulsion was inevitable and there was no excuse for those who followed him.

The " Tribune " also says -

The Communists have no intention of interfering in the A.L.P.'s domestic affairs, but will assist all those working in the A.L.P. to solve their difficulties in the interests of the working class.

That is the Communist statement which I put parallel to the Labour party's statement. The two parties say that this association exists. How can the honorable membersfor Hindmarsh and East Sydney expect to be believed in this House when they say they are fighting the Communists and when they know that their party is working with the Communists on unity tickets throughout the trade union movement, and that the Labour party is actively helping the Communists to take over the trade unions? The fact is that they endeavour to hoodwink the House by saying things that are manifestly untrue. Everybody knows that these unity tickets are being endorsed by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), the Leader of the Opposition in thisHouse.

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - That is a low, downright lie.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honorable member for Darebin will withdraw that remark.

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Owing to force of circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will withdraw unequivocally.

Mr R W HOLT (WANNON, VICTORIA) - 1 withdraw the remark.

Mr WENTWORTH - Certain reasons have been put forward for the peculiar fact that, in the past, the Labour party in Queensland, which has been uniformly unsuccessful in the federal sphere, has been, successful in the State sphere. The first reason that has been suggested for this state of affairs is one to which 1 would not subscribe, namely, that Mr. Gair was a good Premier. I gather that the Opposition would not subscribe to that reason to-day. The second reason is one on which I would not be an authority; but it is widely alleged in Queensland by people in authority that the ballots have been cooked and that the rolls have been rigged. 1 don't know. But the third reason is the important one. It is that many people in Queensland have thought that Mr. Gair was an antiCommunist and could be safely supported, whereas they knew that the Federal Labour party in this House, which is at present allied with the Queensland executive council faction, was, in essence, a pro-Communist party, and they voted accordingly.

Mr Duthie - I rise to order. The statement that this Opposition is a proCommunist party is offensive to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I consider it fair comment.

Mr WENTWORTH - The Queensland executive council of the Labour party has endeavoured to interfere in the proper constitutional processes of government. Not only has it interfered but it has also interfered in a way which is the Soviet method. This is what Lenin counselled should be done to the Labour party. If anybody wants to see, writ clear, the pattern of what the Communists are trying to do in Queensland and for which they are using the Labour party, let them read Lenin's works, particularly " LeftWing Communism ", in which this plan is set out clearly and definitely and has been followed by the Communist party.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I rise to order. I have heard an interjection from the other side of the House that the honorable member for Mackellar is a lunatic. I do not know whether that is correct.


Mr WENTWORTH - I have never said that all honorable members on the other side of the House know what they are doing; I have never said that they all know the way in which the Communist party is using them and their party for its own ends, although, heaven knows, they all should know by this time. The honorable member for Moreton has set out the pattern quite clearly. One uses the doubtful " middle-of-the-roaders " to expel the right wing. Then the " middleoftheroaders " become the right wing, and one uses the next group to expel them. I warn people like the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), who sat on the fence for a long time wondering which way he was going to go and finally betrayed his former principles, that he is one of the people who is marked out.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

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