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Wednesday, 8 May 1957

Mr PETERS (Scullin) .- I remember quite a lot of the history of this country. I remember that right down through the years every member of the Labour party has been reviled by the present members of the Government and those who were in the Liberal party and the Australian Country party. I know that members of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party organized and fomented splits within the Labour party down through the years. The case of the Premiers plan was an instance. When honorable members opposite wanted to destroy the Labour government in this country, they bought Mr. Lyons, then member for a Tasmanian electorate. He joined their party and they gave him the prize of leadership. There was even a case in which, in order to destroy the Labour party, they gave to Mr. Hughes the leadership of their party. In South Australia, there was the occasion on which, in order to destroy a Labour government, the Federal Liberal Government of this country gave Jack Gunn £5,000 a year to be chairman of the Migration and Development Commission.

To-night, we hear members who have engaged in these tactics in order to divide and destroy Labour pretending, because they cannot do otherwise than pretend, that there is something wrong in the destruction of the Labour party. It is a horrible thing for them to contemplate that the Labour party is being divided to-day. The real objective of the Communist party is the division and destruction of the Labour party. The objective of the present Government and its supporters is also the division and annihilation of the Labour party. In other words, both the Communist party and the Government supporters have exactly the same objective. Opposition members who fight to preserve the Labour party and the democratic ideals upon which it is built have to fight, on the one hand, the reactionaries who seek to destroy it and, on the other hand, the so-called radicals but who, too, are reactionaries and seek to destroy it.

What has been the story of communism in this country? Has it always opposed the right-wing members of the Labour party? No. In the former electorate of Burke the Communist party opposed Mr. Maurice Blackburn and Mr. Frank Anstey. Why did they oppose them? Because they said those men believed in the constitutional improvement of the conditions of the working class. To quote the words of Lenin, they were representative of palliative and of reform. The Communists want the Labour party wiped out in order that unbridled capitalism can destroy the conditions of the working class and bring about what the Communists term a " revolutionary situation ". In that situation they would take advantage of a direct fight between what they term the " expropriated members of the working class and the representatives of monopoly capitalism ". It is the Labour party that stands for reforms and improvement of the conditions of the people to put off the revolutionary situation; it delays the arrival of the position that is desired by Communists throughout the world. It was Trotsky who said, " Russia first, and then Spain ". Why? Because in Russia there was an expropriated proletariat and a few wealthy magnates. And so the revolutionary situation existed. In Spain, there was a similar position, and he said -

These are the countries that fall prey to Communist philosophy.

But in those countries where the economic conditions of the vast masses of the people are protected by a strong Labour party from the manipulation of monopoly capitalism, there the menace of communism vanishes and we achieve for the aged and the infirm, as we achieve for the workers and the rest of the community of Australia, conditions that are adequate. Then the people do not fall a prey to the philosophy of communism. They stand for the evolutionary improvement of conditions. This is my answer to the humbug of those who seek the destruction of the Labour party and, when they see that destruction occurring, shed crocodile tears and pretend that there were at some time some members of the Labour party for whom they had some admiration and respect.

Mr. PEARCE(Capricornia) 111.511.- This occasion is unique in that I find myself in complete agreement with the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). For many years now - in fact, since I entered this Parliament- I have been trying to convince the people that the Queensland Government is corrupt, and all the other things that the honorable member for Hindmarsh has said about it to-night. On each occasion when I raised my voice on that subject in this place, I was howled down. The howls were led by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who now has seen the light and has condemned and criticized the Gair Government for what it is. I shed no tears for Gair, because I realize that he went into the trap with his eyes open. There is no doubt in my mind that at the last Queensland election, after the Mackay conference, when Gair accepted the support of Bukowski and bowed down to him on this three weeks' leave business, Gair knew as well as those members of the Opposition sitting here now who were in the Labour Cabinet of 1942 that Beasley presented a report to that Cabinet on Bukowski, showing that Bukowski was at that time a member of the Mackay branch of the Australian Communist party. Gair knew about that last March at the Mackay convention. It was known to the members of the Cabinet of the Labour Government that was in office in 1942. Yet Gair-

Mr Ward - I do not believe it.

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