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Wednesday, 17 September 1958

Mr COPE (Watson) .- I am indeed most touched to see some of the supporters of the Government showing great solicitude from time to time about the workings of the Australian Labour party and what it stands for. Being by nature a. kind-hearted fellow and believing one good turn deserves another, I would like to reciprocate by informing the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) that a rebel committee was formed recently comprising New South Wales Liberal members of this House. I have been led to believe that it was formed by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate). The honorable member for Mackellar has rebelled so strongly against the top brass of the Liberal party that he is now known in some quarters as General Robert E. Lee Wentworth, commanderinchief of the New South Wales Liberal rebel forces. He is ably supported by Quantrell Bate, commander-in-chief of the guerrilla forces. I am led to believe that this committee was formed for the purpose of ousting the Leader of the House as deputy leader of the Liberal party.

Not so long ago, we had a position where the Prime Minister came from Victoria, and the Deputy Prime Minister came from Queensland. The deputy leader of the Liberal party and the Leader of the House came from New South Wales. But now, those three coveted positions are all occupied- by Victorians, and this is causing quite a good deal of dissatisfaction.

To aggravate matters, the composition of the inner Cabinet, better known as the first eleven, is also causing grave dissatisfaction. With regard to the first eleven, the opening batsmen come from Victoria. They are the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. First wicket down, the deputy leader of the Liberal party and the Leader of the House is a Victorian.

Second wicket down is the eagle shooter, also a Victorian. Of the two New South Wales members of the team, one is considered only a tail-ender and a useful man on a sticky wicket. The other one is considered to be the orange drink boy, sometimes known as " lemons ". This numerical superiority in favour of Victoria is causing great dissatisfaction among New South Wales Liberal members, and they intend to do something about it after the next election. They intend to run a candidate from New South Wales for the deputy leadership of the Liberal party. I am led to believe that they have selected the honorable member for Parramatta and are going to the ballot-box fortified by this slogan, "Barwick's the boy for me".

On various occasions, I have heard in this House smears about communism. It is remarkable to me that this Government grants a vise to any Communist who comes forward and applies for one, yet this Government professes to be anti-Communist. In this House from time to time, supporters of the Government protest against the "Tribune", which is the mouthpiece of the Communist party in Australia, on the ground that it is subversive and prints many articles which are actually detrimental to the well-being of Australia. If the Government wanted to do so, it could ban this newspaper to-morrow by withdrawing its registration for transmission through the post office, but it does not intend to do that. All this, with the election of Senator McCallum, the Kadar incident, the granting of vises and the fact that the Government allows the "Tribune" to continue publication, leads one to believe that there is a tie-up between the Liberal party and the Communist party to keep Labour out of office.

Mr. Speaker,we also are led to believe that great unity exists between the Australian Country party and the Liberal party. Let us hear what the leader of the Country party in Victoria has to say about the Liberal party Premier in that State. I shall read from the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 10th July, 1958, a report which appeared under the heading - "Victorian Premier accused of behaving like ' mongrel ' ". The report is as follows: -

Amid uproar in the Victorian Legislative Assembly today, the Leader of the Country party

Sir HerbertHyland accused the Premier, Mr. H. E. Bolte, of behaving like a "mongrel".

Those are very ungallant words coming from a knight. The report continues -

He called the Minister for Lands, Mr. K. H. Turnbull-

Who is a former member of the Country party - " a rat from the Country party ".

Sir Herbertsaid that the Government was " squealing like stuck pigs " because it had failed to secure a majority in the Legislative Council.

He said that Government members, particularly Mr. Bolte, had made unwarranted attacks on the Country party during the election campaign. " I was in hospital for 7 weeks during the campaign ", he said. " Four weeks ago it looked like curtains. "When I was there the Premier twisted in every possible way statements I had made in this House. " I had no hope of retaliating. "Every decent-thinking man knows that a person who could do this while a man is on his back is a mongrel."

Mr. Bolte,who had remained silent during the attack, then said: " I know that Sir Herbert is suffering from strain, but I would like a withdrawal ".

Sir Herbert:I resent the statement that I am under a strain.

That shows how great is the unity between the Government parties. I emphasize that I am very much obliged to any Government member who brings forward any matters that he thinks might improve the Australian Labour party. We will always accept them, but I hope members on the Government side do not mind if we reciprocate.

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