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Wednesday, 14 September 1949


Mr Fadden n asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

1.   What account or accounts, fund or funds, special or otherwise, have been established or have existed since the 7th October, 1941, to date in: (i) the Security Branch; (ii) the Crown Solicitor's Branch; (iii) the Commonwealth Investigation Branch; and (iv) any other branch of his department from which (a) the Auditor-General has not been allowed to audit the disbursements in detail and/or to which there is no Auditor-General's certificate in detail, and/or (b) receipts for money disbursed are not either (i) kept, and/or (ii) demanded from recipients of moneys therefrom, and/or (c) the disbursements were audited by a special auditor and not in the ordinary way by the AuditorGeneral?

2.   What amounts of public money have been (a) paid into, and (b) disbursed from each of the above accounts or funds, seriatim, which have been kept secret from the AuditorGeneral or his officers in the manner mentioned in paragraph (1) (a), paragraph (1) (6) and paragraph (1) (c) respectively?

3.   What are the names, if any, of all accounts mentioned in (1)(a), (1) (b) and (1) (c) respectively?

4.   Have moneys from any of the abovementioned accounts and/or funds been used either directly or through any Commonwealth instrumentality or otherwise to control, police and/or investigate communism or communistic activities, and/or any persons, matters or things associated in any way whatsoever with the Communist party of Australia?


Dr Evatt - The answers to the right honorable gentleman's questions are as follows : - 1 to 4. The questions now asked by the right honorable member are in identical terms with questions previously asked by him, and answered in the House by the then Acting Attorney-General on the 7th August, 194.6. The answers given in 1946 were as follow: -

Three funds of the category referred to by the right honorable member have been in existence during the whole or portion of the period since the 7th October, 1941, namely -

(i)   Security Service Special Fund, established in March,1942, and closed on the 31st December, 1945;

(ii)   Australian Democratic Front Fund, established in 1940 by the then Attorney-General (the right honorable member for North Sydney) and closed in 1942 after its operations had been the subject of a royal commission ; (iii)Investigation Branch Special Fund, established over 30 years ago and still in existence.

As to (i), during its existence, £8,662 11s. 4d. was paid out of the Security Service Special Fund. These moneys were expended in securing information in all States on matters affecting the security of the Commonwealth, including subversive activities.

As to (ii), during its existence, £4,963 6s.1d. was paid out of the Australian Democratic Front Fund which was ordered to be closed by the present AttorneyGeneral as soon as he knew of the purposes for which the moneys were being used.

As to (iii), when the present Government took office, £646 was standing to the credit of the Fund and £9,000 has since been paid into the Fund and £9,185 has been expended. Since the Government took office payments out of this Fund have been made as follow: -

 

Portion of these moneys has been used in investigating subversive activities in all States.

This Government takes no responsibility for the manner in which the moneys made available through the Australian Democratic Fund were expended but the disbursements from the Security Service Special Fund were, and the disbursements from the Investigation Branch Special Fund are, at all times subject to audit by the Chief Audit Inspector.

Since 1-948, the only change in the funds referred to .has arisen from the establishment in 1949 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization with Mr. Justice Reed as Director-General. Having regard to the wide discretion of the .Director-General, who does not act under Ministerial direction, the manner in which the funds provided by Parliament for the purposes of security are disbursed by the Director-General ensures satisfactory accounting and auditing. Broadly Breaking the system is modelled upon the practice in the United Kingdom, and has the express approval of the Auditor-General of {he Commonwealth.


Dr EVATT T.-- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. As stated in my reply to a question without notice asked on 7th September, 1949, by the honorable member for Fawkner, the investigation of Marx House, Sydney, was made for the specific purpose of obtaining evidence of suspected offences under the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act 1D49. The other matters referred to by the honorable member fall within the responsibility of the

Director-General of Security, -who acta in his own discretion and not on ministerial direction. It is not in the interest of security to give information as to the knowledge opinion or actions of the Director-General.

COMMUNISM


Mr Francis asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   What information has the Government of Communist party propaganda activities in Australian Army camps T

2.   Has Army Intelligence furnished the Government with reports on the interrogation by two officers of Communist agents who, dressed in khaki uniforms, had distributed Communist pamphlets in camps in the Ingleburn district?

3.   What action has the Government taken to .prevent Communists from (a) gaining access to military camps and establishments, and (6) indoctrinating or otherwise influencingservice personnel by the distribution of subversive propaganda!


Mr CHAMBERS (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for the Army) S.- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The Government has received no information regarding Communist : party propaganda activities in Australian Army camps.

2.   No, but exhaustive inquiries have failed to establish that this alleged incident has any basis of truth.

3.   Security precautions have been taken, and no unauthorized person is allowed access to military camps and establishments.


Mr Francis asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon- notice -

1.   What information has the Government of moves by the Queensland branch of the Communist party to hide party flies and documents in case of a raid in Brisbane similar to the raid made on Communist party head-quarters in Sydney? 2, As the Queensland move will, ultimately, facilitate Communist preparations to organize the movement on an underground and illegal basis, why did the Government not order a simultaneous investigation of major Communist party' offices in all capital cities when the raid on Marx House, Sydney, was first planned?


Mr HARRISON N asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

Will he furnish a reply to the question asked without notice on the 10th June, by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition concerning the organization of Communist " strong-arm " or " commando " units to protect Communist leaders in Australia?


Dr Evatt - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

Under the charter issued to the DirectorGenera] of Security, the matters referred to by the honorable member arc within the responsibility of the Director-General, and jit. is not in the interest of security to disclose the information available to him or his opinions and actions. The honorable member may rest assured that the internal security of Australia is being fully and amply provided for.







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