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Wednesday, 10 September 1958


The CHAIRMAN - The Stevedoring Industry Act is administered by a department which is in the group of departments the votes for which we are now considering. So on that subject I must rule that the honorable member is in order in discussing the matter.


Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - May I speak to the point of order? I have listened to the honorable gentleman. He introduced his remarks by referring to a booklet.


The CHAIRMAN - I have ruled that he is in order.


Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - You ruled on a particular aspect of his remarks. The point I was going to make is that I understood that the honorable gentleman, having cited a publication issued by the department, was referring to the incidence indicated therein of strike action in the stevedoring industry, and was trying to point to cases which call for attention by the department.


The CHAIRMAN - I have ruled that the honorable member for Mitchell is in order.


Mr WHEELER - I was referring to the expulsion of the two members and to the fact that a third was declared to be an illegal member of the party. No doubt this fact will be used by the Labour party as evidence of a get-tough policy with members of the Labour party who may stand with Communists on how-to-vote tickets in union elections. But the people are well aware that if a general election were not impending, no action to expel those members would have been taken. If my statement is contested, then I ask- (Honorable members interjecting) -


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The committee will come to order.


Mr WHEELER - If my statement-


Mr Bryant - Under which section of the Estimates is the honorable member raising this matter?


The CHAIRMAN - Is the honorable member raising a point of order? If honorable members will maintain order I might be able to hear what is going on.


Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - You would not take any notice if you did hear it.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for Eden-Monaro will apologize to the Chair for that remark.


Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I apologize, Sir, for my remark.


Mr Bryant - I should like to know under which section of this group the Labour party is being discussed by the honorable member.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for Mitchell is in order.


Mr WHEELER - If my statement is contested by honorable members opposite, the immediate question that I raise is: Why was this so-called expulsion not carried out before?


Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I rise to order. The honorable member has now stated the question he wishes to ask, and that is why the Labour party did not earlier take action to expel certain members. I should like to know whether that inquiry has any bearing on the matter before the committee.


The CHAIRMAN - Surely the activities of the Minister, as applied to his department and in relation to industrial disputes, come within the scope of this discussion. The honorable member for Mitchell is in order.


Mr WHEELER - The executive of the Labour party has known for months that waterside workers who were members of the Labour party stood on the same ticket as Communists, but the executive did nothing about it until last week. This is in marked contrast with the action taken against a Mr. O'Toole, a member of the Labour party who stood on the same ticket as members of the Democratic Labour party. Mr. O'Toole was expelled in a matter of a few days - in fact, before the ballot took place.


Mr Bryant - I rise to order.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! Is the honorable member raising a fresh point of order?


Mr Bryant - Yes. The honorable member for Mitchell is reading his speech, and, as I understand1 the position, that is contrary to Standing Orders.


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member for Mitchell is in order.


Mr WHEELER - I know that my remarks hurt honorable gentlemen opposite, and it pains me that I should have to ventilate this matter here. The Waterside Workers Federation elections are a perfect illustration of the fact that the Labour party and the Communist party have indulged in a marriage of convenience without any undue twinge of political conscience. The two men expelled were Mi. Neville Isaksen and Mr. E. Ross.


Mr Duthie - Mr. Adermann-


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for Wilmot must not interrupt unless he wishes to raise a point of order.


Mr Duthie - I wish to raise a point of order. I take strong exception to remarks made by the honorable member for Mitchell, and I ask that he be ordered to withdraw them, because they are offensive to me.


Mr WHEELER - I made a statement of fact, and I do not see any reason to withdraw it.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! To what remarks does the honorable member for Wilmot take exception?


Mr Duthie - I take exception to the remark that the Labour party entered into a marriage of convenience with the Communists.


The CHAIRMAN - That remark was not applicable to any particular honorable member. The honorable member for Mitchell is in order.


Mr WHEELER - Let me make myself perfectly clear- (Honorable members interjecting) -


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The committee will come to order. Otherwise I shall have to take action against some honorable members.


Mr Whitlam - It is about time, on your form this afternoon.


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member for Werriwa will apologise to the Chair for that remark.


Mr Whitlam - I apologise.


Mr WHEELER - If the Opposition does not want me to make this speech now, I shall make it on the motion for the adjournment. It will be made either now or later. The two men expelled were Mr. Neville Isaksen and1 Mr. E. Ross, because their names appeared on unity tickets with those of Communist candidates. If this was a reason for earning the displeasure of the State executive of the Labour party, those members should have been expelled long ago, because members of the Labour party and Communists have stood together on unity tickets since 1954. I have with me the unity ticket for the 1956 elections, and on it are photographs of Labour party and Communist candidates nestling alongside each other in happy accord. Mr. Isaksen is given pride of place on page 2 of the manifesto, and included in his recommendation is the qualification that he is " an active member of the A.L.P. ". Mr. Ross carried1 the Labour party banner for the position of vice-president, and he is pictured on the unity ticket side by side with wellknown members of the Communist party.

I also have here the unity ticket for the elections held in July, 1958, on which Mr. Isaksen's photograph appears. This leads me to inquire again whether Mr. Isaksen and Mr. Ross have been expelled for their misdemeanours in 1958, and why they were not expelled for the same reasons in 1956. Obviously, there was no need to expel them in 1956 because no general election was impending. It is also obvious that the present expulsion is not genuine and is just a phony, face-saving operation staged to deceive the electors. There can be no doubt that there has been an alliance between the Labour party and the Communist party in the Waterside Workers Federation on the question of unity tickets and that this practice, up till now, has been condoned, if not encouraged, by the Labour party.

I sympathize with the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) in his present dilemma, because he seems to have been caught up in the machinations of the faction in his party machine. But try as he may, he will have no chance of convincing the general public that the Labour party has not collaborated with the Communist party. All this belated action of expulsion from the Labour party will convince nobody that the Labour party has not been tainted by its associations with the Communist party. Both manifestoes to which I have referred contain on their back page how-to-vote directions, and it is rather significant that their policy is stated as having one aim - to defeat the Menzies Government. Elsewhere throughout the manifestoes appear condemnatory comments concerning the Menzies Government, and it is those references that have prompted me to speak on this occasion.

In this connexion I direct the attention of honorable members to one Senator Ormonde, who has just come to Canberra, and who apparently is in haste to set the Molonglo on fire. Senator Ormonde appears to have had an armchair ride to Canberra, and has been fortunate enough to have found a cosy seat in another place, which has caused a great deal of heartburning amongst other contenders for the position. Senator Ormonde is typical of the new crusader who comes to Canberra and believes that he can save democracy in six easy lessons. As such he is traditionally impetuous, and prone to dive into troubled waters heedless of the dangers. If that were not enough, he has set himself up as an authority on many matters. Honorable members will have noticed that he is a prolific writer of letters to newspapers, and that he is a spokesman for his party. Accordingly, any statement made by Senator Ormonde must have some party significance and recognition. One such statement, which must bestir all liberals in Australia, was his recent remark that the Communist party prefers a non-Labour government in power. Such an assertion is absolute nonsense, and Senator Ormonde surely cannot be brash enough to believe that we never see these manifestoes or read the proLabour content of the Communist newspapers. I want to make it quite clear that

I am not one who imagines he sees Communists hidden under every bush by day and under the bed at night, but I do happen to be one of the honorable members on this side who has been opposed by Communist candidates at general elections, and therefore know something of the Communist aims, techniques and methods. I say categorically now, as I have said in the past, in my electorate, that we will have no truck with the Communists.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.







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