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Tuesday, 16 September 1958
Page: 1237

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member has leave to make a personal explanation; I ask him to confine his remarks to his personal explanation and not to enter into a. debate.

Mr WARD - The misrepresentation of which I- complain is that the statement that has been attributed to me, and published in the daily press, is. opposed to. Labour policy. There is one thing that I am proud of-'in my association with the Labour-party, and that is that I stick' strictly to the official view of the Labour party and never depart from it. Naturally, I ' have to rely on my, memory for the questions that were asked of me and me .answers that I- gave on this programme. I do -not claim that- L anr able to recall word for word what was said, but I think I can convey to the House" [

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member is getting wide of the authority given to him by the. House. I must ask him to confine .himself to. a personal explanation in relation to the press. ,' Matters' of Labour policy are a little wide of the mark.

Mr WARD - An article- in the " Sydney Morning Herald " of 15th September, under, the heading, " Ward on Labour Policies ", said -

Mr. E.J. Ward, M.P., said yesterday- the Labour Party eventually would nationalize farms "with' the approval of the people"!

It would also nationalize industry and. banks, but not private possessions, such as 'cars and homes.

The "article goes on to say where the statemerit was made. If that is the construction that was placed on what I said in the television interview, it is. a- completely false, arid' erroneous construction. If honorable members 'will remain patient for a moment I shall indicate exactly, what my views are.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! .The honorable member cannot go that far.

Mr WARD - Not just merely what my personal views are, but the views that I expressed in this interview and which have been distorted by the press. In order to show that there has been distortion and ari attempt to mislead the public, I must give my recollection of what took place at the interview and of the replies that I gave to questions. An interesting point to note, although I do not propose to debate it, is that' if I had said or attempted to convey to the Australian public the impression which the anti-Labour press now says was the result of this interview, obviously every anti-Labour newspaper in this country would have seized upon it.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honorable member is again wide of the mark. I- must ask him to come- back to the personal' ex-i plana'tion-, or resume his seat-. ....

Df. Evatt;- I rise on a point' of order.' The misrepresentation of which the honor-able member complains is that what he said was not correctly reported. Therefore, he must be entitled to say what he said.

Mr SPEAKER -The honorable member must confine himself to what he said.

Dr Evatt - I submit he is doing so, but you are not allowing him to support it.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The right honorable gentleman will withdraw that challenge.

Dr Evatt - I said, Mr. Speaker, that you were not allowing him. At any rate, I withdraw that and say that in making such an explanation he must have the right to compare what he said with what was reported, which he says is a misrepresentation.

Mr SPEAKER -I have asked the honorable member to do that, but he has departed from it. If he departs again, I shall have to take action.

Mr WARD - Very well, Mr. Speaker. My recollection of the questions directed to me about the objectives of the Labour party is that I was asked by Mr. Baker, who was the interrogator, what Labour meant by democratic socialism. I replied that, as far as I knew, no definite or decisive declaration had been made by any member of the Labour party in a form that I would regard as satisfactory. I said that, in general terms, what the Labour party meant by democratic socialism was that a Labour government would not introduce any of its great socialist economic reforms in this country unless it had the prior approval of the Australian community. I was then asked by Mr. Baker what particular industries I had in mind that a Labour government might nationalize. I said that I was not prepared to enumerate them but that in general terms I would say that any industry which had fallen under monopolistic control, and the ownership and control of which should be transferred in the interests of the community, was the type of industry to which the Labour party would give some attention.

He then pressed me to say what particular type of property would be excluded. I said, "Well, contrary to what our opponents have frequently said, the Labour party is not opposed to what is known as personal property, so that people in the community who own a home or a car or have other personal belongings will know that they will not be in danger ". He said, " Would the heavy industries be included in this category? " I said, " Well, it could be that the heavy industries would be considered in that category". Then he said, " What about land? " He said it in such a way, grinning all over his face as any one who watched the session would know, that I naturally assumed it was the type of ridiculous question that he was throwing in. My recollection of what I said is that, if a similar condition developed - that is, monopolistic control - then the Labour party eventually, some time in the future, may have to pay some attention to it. However, I said that I could not see any such eventuality arising at least in the time that I would be serving in this Parliament. That is my recollection of it.

In actual fact, although honorable members on the Government side would not admit it, I never intended at any time to convey the idea that people who are now settled on the land would be affected in regard to the possession of their properties by any legislation that a Labour government would introduce. But I do visualize the possibility that some positive action may have to be taken by a future Labour government in respect of large estates and the tying up of land by monopolistic land companies to ensure an equitable distribution of the land among the land-hungry people of this country. However, as far as any interference with the rights of people to occupy and continue to occupy their own properties-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I think the honorable gentleman must come to an end. I ask him to resume his seat.

Mr WARD - Mr. Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable gentleman will resume his seat.

Mr WARD - I move-

That the honorable member for East Sydney be heard.

Mr SPEAKER - Resume your seat first.

Mr WARD - I have done so, Mr. Speaker, and I move -

That the honorable member for East Sydney be heard.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member is out of order. Are there any ministerial statements?

Mr Ward - Under what standing order am I out of order?

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is out of order. I ask him to resume his seat.

Mr Ward - Will you quote the standing order?

Mr SPEAKER -The honorable member will resume his seat.

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