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Wednesday, 21 September 1949

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration) . - The incident to which the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) has referred and about which he has talked so long, but on which he has thrown no light at all, concerns a man named Dobson, who came to see me about the time of the coal strike representing himself to be the assistant organizer of the industrial group of the Clerks Union in the. fight against communism. He was at that time what he purported' to be. He came with another man who was also a member of the same organization. They said that they had come from the head-quarters of the Australian Labour party in Sydney, and Dobson said that he wanted a telephone installed in his room in order to help him in his activities.

Mr Falstein - The Clerks Union is Communist-controlled.

Mr CALWELL - As the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) has remarked, the Clerks Union is under Communist control. Dobson said that he had' been expelled from the Clerks Union during the previous week after what he described as a " Moscow " trial. He said that it was extraordinary that the evidence that had been given against him contained a lot of material which was a verbatim account of telephone conversations which he had had with leading members of the Australian Labour party. That seemed to be a very serious matter, and I immediately reported the facts to the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) and to the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, Mr. Chippindall. The inference was that some person in the Postal Department had been listening to telephone conversations he had had and had given the information to members of the Communist party. It was on that point that Dobson fooled me. I am now convinced that Dobson himself supplied the material which the Communist executive used against him, and that he did so to enable it to be used against him. There is an old Arab proverb which says, " Who fools me once, shame on him ; who fools me twice, shame on me ". Dobson has not since fooled' me. The honorable member for Parramatta cannot fool me. He may succeed in fooling members of his own party. Indeed that would not be difficult. However, I made the representations that I had promised to make to the Postmaster-General. In reply, my colleague wrote me a letter which I sent, together with a complimentary slip, to Mr. Dobson. My letter and the complimentary slip were reproduced in the Communist paper, the Tribune, and it was from that newspaper that the elector from the electorate of the honorable member for Parramatta got his information. It is on the publication in the Tribune of those documents that the honorable member for Parramatta based his case to-night. The Communist party-Liberal party tie up perfectly !

Mr Beale - The Minister admits that it was true.

Mr CALWELL - I said this afternoon that it was true. Unlike' the honorable member for Parramatta, I always tell the truth.

Mr Beale - Tell us about Mr. Wentworth.

Mr CALWELL - I am coming to Mr. Wentworth, and I shall tell the story about him in the same way as the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway), who represents the Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) in this chamber, told the story of the drugs which a chemist in the electorate of the honorable member for Parramatta wanted, the cases of which the honorable member himself misrepresented in the House.

Mr Beale - That is not true.

Mr CALWELL - The honorable member was made to look very foolish on that occasion. He did not have the gumption to admit that the chemist had fooled him, as Dobson fooled me. Concerning the use of Mr. Wentworth's name, I said that Dobson dived into the harbour immediately after he left the residence of Mr. Wentworth, who is the selected Liberal party candidate for a New South Wales seat in this Parliament. My authority for making that statement was that a leading Minister of the New South Wales Government told me that fact in the presence of the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan).

Opposition members interjecting,

Mr CALWELL - The honorable member for Griffith will verify what I say. I ask the honorable member for Parramatta and the totally irresponsible honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) to hold their patience a little longer. I am assured by the New South Wales Minister to whom I have referred that these facts will come out in the course of the case against Dobson which will be heard later. I should like to tell the honorable member for Parramatta more. Since I was fooled by this brilliant young Mr. Dobson, whose brilliance has been perverted, I have ascertained from my officers that he is the same person who was in trouble in China and other places. When he was in gaol in China he threatened the then Australian ConsulGeneral, Mr. C. W. Fuhrman, and the Australian Vice-Consul, Mrs. K. Jones, that unless they did certain things for him he would come back to Australia and denounce them and the Government to the Liberal party. That is in the documents.

Mr Lang - I rise to order. Is the case of Mr. Dobsonsub judice ? If so, is the Minister entitled to proceed with his castigation of Mr. Dobson?

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