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Tuesday, 5 July 1949

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration) . - The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has treated the committee to some police court histrionics and cheap legal melodrama. He has asked, in effect, " Will you attempt to deport a sick person? Are you going into the bedroom to grab the unfortunate individual and put him on board a boat? If the clause under consideration contains that power, I shall oppose it. Indeed, I shall certainly do so because the Minister said earlier that the whole lot of them would be out of the country before the end of August ". I did say that the whole lot of them would be out of the country before the end of August; but obviously, if a person is very sick or happens to be an inmate of a mental institution or some other institution, he would not be regarded in the general category of persons to bc removed. What I meant, and what every body would interpret my words to mean, was that every healthy person who was deliberately attempting to frustrate the operation of the law would be required to leave. The honorable member for Warringah has spoken of my so-called blundering administration. It is honest and frank administration, and is in complete accord with precedent. The honorable member and certain of his friends, backed by the press, have used the words " blundering " and " crass stupidity " as a part of their smear campaign. Outside the Parliament, they make all sorts of violent speeches-

Mr Spender - The Minister is a fine one to talk about a smear campaign. He is the greatest smear expert that I have ever met.

Mr CALWELL - I am only a tyro compared with the honorable member for Warringah.

Mr Spender - The Minister said a contemptible thing before the dinner adjournment.

Mr CALWELL - The honorable member is one of those who ascribe to other people sins of which they themselves are guilty.

Mr Spender - The Minister is a pathological case.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN'. - Order 1 There are too many interjections.

Mr CALWELL - The honorable member for Warringah and the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) are the two people who have gone on record aa saying that they would break down this policy by admitting spouses whether they were black, brown or brindle.

Mr Spender - That is false.

Mr CALWELL - However, those two honorable members say that other people are not in favour of maintaining the White Australia policy. They are only humbugs and hypocrites, and they stand exposed as such. They were not prepared to speak in the second-reading debate on this bill. The honorable member for Warringah comes here in his unctuous Uriah Heep style, once a week at the outside, and talks of my blundering administration. I have much more justification for talking about his craven attitude on this matter. Let him divide the committee on this issue if he will. I doubt even now whether he can muster sufficient courage to do so. But outside the Parliament he will continue his smear campaign. Even in the courts, he will smear, and be paid for it. The description of a " larrikin lawyer " is not confined to one person.

I have said that the war-time refugees generally will be required to go. They have got to go. If there are any sick persons among them, humanity will be shown to them, as it always has been shown. I have got into trouble over these people because I have shown them humanity for four years. If I had administered the law vigorously and pushed those persons off on all sorts of cattle boats or under all sorts of troopship conditions at the end of the war, there would not have been any trouble at all. There would not have been a word of criticism had this matter not been played up by the press and by the honorable member for Warringah, who always plays to the gallery. He posed to-night as a paragon of all the political virtues and as a defender of liberty.

Mr Menzies - To which clause is the Minister referring?

Mr CALWELL - Clause 5. I realize that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) is trying to protect his brood like an old hen which fears that one of her chicks may fall into the water and be drowned. He does not want any more discussion on this clause. The speech by the honorable member for Warringah tonight was as intellectually stimulating and just about as convincing as was his explanation for retaining his membership of the Advisory War Council some years ago. He is following his own line as he always does. If he wants a division on this clause let him call for it. If he does not let him keep quiet.

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