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Thursday, 23 March 1972
Page: 847


Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the AttorneyGeneral seen reports of the meeting of the Australian Labor Party Federal Executive held in Adeliade last week stating that discussion on the endorsement of Mr Barry Johnston, an ALP Federal candidate, was deferred to avoid rocking the boat? Is the Attorney-General able to say whether he has received any information from any member of the ALP which would assist the police in locating Mr Johnston? If not, does he propose to initiate any action to see whether such assistance can be obtained?


Senator GREENWOOD - May I ask-


The PRESIDENT - Order! Before I call on the Attorney-General to answer the question addressed to him by Senator Young, I point out that question time is not to be an occasion when a questioner may be interrupted or a Minister attempting to reply may be interrupted. I say this in the interests of the people who wish to listen to the rebroadcast of question time. I call Senator Greenwood.


Senator GREENWOOD - May I ask for the question to be repeated? I did not hear the whole of the question.


Senator Cant - On a point of order, Mr President: I direct the attention of the Attorney-General in answering this question to standing order 100.


The PRESIDENT - I will look at standing order 100 to refresh my mind. Having considered standing order 100, I will hear Senator Greenwood and see whether he offends against it.


Senator GREENWOOD - The noise was such that I was unable to hear the question.


The PRESIDENT - I did not hear the original statement made by the AttorneyGeneral either. Did you ask that the question be repeated?


Senator GREENWOOD - Yes, because I did not hear it adequately.


The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Young.


Senator YOUNG - Has the AttorneyGeneral seen reports of the meeting of the Australian Labor Party Federal Executive held in Adelaide last week stating that discussion on the endorsement of Mr Barry Johnston, an ALP Federal candidate, was deferred to avoid rocking the boat? Is the Attorney-General able to say whether he has received any information from any member of the ALP which would assist the police in locating Mr Johnston? If not, does he propose to initiate any action to see whether such assistance can be obtained?


The PRESIDENT - I call the AttorneyGeneral. I hope that he will bear in mind Senator Cant's keen interest in standing order 100.


Senator GREENWOOD - I have seen the reports of the Federal Executive meeting of the Australian Labor Party. What I have noticed also is that no statement was made by any of the spokesmen at that conference - the Secretary, the President or the Federal Leader - which would indicate what the attitude of the Executive was with respect to the endorsement by the Victorian Branch of Mr Johnston. I did note however - this was referred to earlier this week in the Senate - that a member of the Executive, a Mr Hartley, wrote to the newspapers challenging the account which had been given in the Press that no decision was taken because of the fear of rocking the boat.


Senator Cant - Do you know that Mr Harley wrote that letter?


Senator GREENWOOD - I can only say that Mr Hartley's letter appeared above the signature of Mr Hartley.


Senator Cant - That does not mean he wrote it.


Senator GREENWOOD - I have not seen any statement from Mr Hartley that he denies writing it. The tenor of the letter would be consistent with Mr Hartley's views otherwise expressed. Mr Hartley's letter indicated that the Federal Executive without resolution had generally endorsed the attitude that all support should be given and by each branch of the Party in its own way to Mr Johnston and another man, Mr Dal ton, who were resisting the National Service Act. As to whether I can take any action in this regard, I am unable to say, because after all it is within the province of the Australian Labor Partyas to whether it will assist the police or whether it will not assist the police. Judging from what has been occurring in the past, there does not appear to be any indication that when the Labor Party is supporting Mr Johnston and Mr Dalton-


Senator Poyser - Hear, hear!


Senator GREENWOOD - . . . and I notice Senator Poyser's interjection confirms that I am right - there is not likely to be any assistance from members of the Labor Party in this area.







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