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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2689

Mr JAMES (Hunter) - Mr Deputy Speaker,in this grievance debate I want to raise a matter that should be the concern of every decent Australian. A week ago today the Vice President of the United States of America resigned in disgrace and scandal. He was forced to resign because of his association with crooks. He was a grafter and a friend and associate of grafters. The day after the Vice President of the United States resigned the Premier of New South Wales announced that there would be an election in my great State. The Republican Party of the United States has been exposed as a corrupt organisation. The Liberal Party of New South Wales is tainted with the same sort of corruption. The only difference is this: Corruption in America has been exposed and the guilty men are to be punished. Corruption in New South Wales goes unchecked and the guilty men appear in white tie and tails in the company and presence of the Queen of Australia.

In the United States the former AttorneyGeneral, Mr John Mitchell, is now under indictment because of his association with crooks. The people of New South Wales are entitled to know the facts about the asssociation of their Attorney-General, Mr McCaw, with the greatest crook and rogue ever to disgrace the Australian business scene. I refer to one Alexander Barton. He was the master crook and he was the friend, associate and adviser of leading Liberals in New South Wales. He was adviser to the firm of which the present Attorney-General of New South Wales was the principal partner. The name still is over the door of those solicitors where all the crooked companies formed by Alexander Barton were fo,med. They were formed in that office. Many of those companies are called MACJOSH which signifies, in abbreviated terms, the words McCaw and Johnston.

Compared to Alexander Barton, previous scoundrels like Woolcott Forbes, and all those associated with the H. G. Palmer and Co. affair in effect were amateur crooks. They were novices. Barton was virtually a killer barracuda attacking a school of prawns and one of those prawns was, unfortunately, the previous Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon). Barton floated a huge number of public companies which he manipulated-

Mr Giles - Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask the honourable member for Hunter to withdraw that remark. It was a personal reflection on a colleague of mine on this side of the House. It was personal and offensive and I think he should be asked to withdraw it.

Mr JAMES - I do not think it was offensive at all. I said that unforunately he was one of these prawns. He was the victim of association.

Mr Giles - You named him and you should withdraw.

Mr JAMES - If it is offensive to the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) I will withdraw it. Barton floated a huge number of public companies which he manipulated for his own gain. One company would absorb or buy out another without reference to the shareholders and there were all kinds of involved share swapping deals. In all, starting from early 1970, Alexander Barton raised $25. 6m and by 1972 had failed to account for $2'2.6m of his shareholders' money. The Commissioner of Corporate Affairs, Mr Ryan, instituted an inquiry into Barton's affairs and submitted an interim report to the AttorneyGeneral, Mr McCaw, in the New South Wales Government. Instead of tabling that report in the New South Wales Parliament so that those shareholders could see what had happened to their money, Mr McCaw had the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs delegate 2 of his senior inspectors to make an investigation of 36 companies said to be involved, although there were many others that should have been included. Barton, learning just what was in the wind, packed up and escaped overseas. He was tipped off. I ask Parliament to use its common sense as to who tipped off Alexander Barton and caused his quick exit from Australia.

Barton came to Australia as a refugee from Hungary in 1950 - I suppose as a freedom fighter - under the name of Sandor Buchalter. He obtained work as a plumber and changed his name to Alexander Barton.

Hisfirst venture into the world of free enterprise, so proudly espoused by the LiberalCountry Party coalition sitting in Opposition here - was to move into the Landmark Corporation. With an eye to the main chance he formed an association with a man named John Bovill, of 36 Drumalbyn Road, Bellevue Hill, a leader of the society set and a man who lived close to and I understand was a neighbour of a former Prime Minister whose name has been mentioned earlier. Barton was soon boasting that he had powerful friends in political circles. His rise to riches occurred entirely under the Askin Government. While the chairman of directors of Landmark, A. E. Armstrong, was abroad, Barton moved for his ousting and the appointment of himself in his stead. Mr Armstrong was a New South Wales Liberal Member of the Legislative Council.

Barton's first entry into big time on his own came in 1969 when he formed Associated Gem Corporation. This company obtained possession of what was claimed to be the largest opal ever found in the world which was named the 'Desert Flame of Andamooka'. It was claimed to weigh 220 ounces. Barton then decided that the time was ripe to go really big time so he floated a company, Palgrave Corporation Ltd, with an authorised capital of $2,500,000 and the opal from Andamooka as its principal asset. The company had an issued capital of $550,000. The prospectus was a lavish presentation with a photograph of the 'Desert Flame of Andamooka' on the cover. By this time Associated Gem Corporation was a wholly owned subsidiary of Brins Securities Ltd, another Barton enterprise, and the prospectus disclosed that Brins had been sold to Palgrave in return for 200,000 fully paid up 50c Palgrave shares. The prospectus also disclosed that the Palgraves had bought the '.Desert Flame' for $168,000. It was also claimed that an independent valuation had put the valuation of the stone as being excess of $lm. Later it was claimed to be worth $1.5m.

Barton was a great believer in keeping in with the establishment - the Liberal establishment of Sydney or New South Wales. His bank was the Bank of New South Wales, the bank which channels foreign money into the Liberal Party funds. His solicitors were McCaw, Johnson & Co. The auditors were another solid establishment firm, Hungerford, Sponer and Kirkhope - the very heart and soul of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. The whole thing was a fraud. It was a fraud from beginning to end. It was a fraud underwritten by leading Liberals. Barton's next venture was Brins Australia Ltd, a firm of merchant bankers and investment counsellors. The directors were Alexander Barton, Thomas Barton and J. O. Bovill. The solicitors, again, Mr Deputy Speaker, were none other than McCaw, Johnson and Co.

Now for Bounty Oil. One of Barton's most ambitious projects was Bounty Oil, incorporated in April 1969 with a paid up capital of $5m, with 50 million shares at 10c each and options for an additional 50 million shares. The directors were J. O. Bovill, Alexander Barton, C. W. Marshall, R. A. Rydge, and J. Stewart. These parties, I understand, were well known to a former Prime Minister of this Parliament. The solicitors again were none other than McCaw, Johnson and Co. - Sir Robert Askin's mates.

Next was Harbourside Oil. Harbourside Oil was floated with a nominal capital of $30m and paid up capital of $2m. Each subscriber to the 20 million shares originally offered was given an option to take up an additional share. The directors were none other than J. O. Bovill, chairman, Alexander Barton, C. W. Marshall, R. A. Rydge, and J. Stewart. The solicitors, Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, were none other than McCaw, Johnson and Co. Next was Westmoreland Minerals. This was floated in April 1969. The purpose of the company was to engage in mineral exploration in the Northern Territory and Queensland. The directors were J. O. Bovill, Chairman, Alexander Barton, C. W. Marshall, R. A. Rydge and J. Stewart. The bankers were the Bank of New South Wales and the solicitors were - wait for it - none other than McCaw Johnson and Co.

Then there was Jetair Australia Ltd. We in this Parliament have heard something about the Jetair racket before. This crook formed an air charter company which he wanted to become the third airline in Australia's domestic airline set-up-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Berinson)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.

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