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Wednesday, 24 September 1958

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bowden (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - Order! I advise the honorable gentleman that he cannot canvass proceedings in the Senate.

Mr CALWELL - I do not propose to do so. I propose to reply to statements that were made and I propose to use " Hansard " only for the purpose of refreshing my memory on what was said. I do not intend to quote from the " Hansard " report; I can quote from newspaper reports, if necessary.

On this occasion, Senator McManus attacked the Australian Labour party, which he called the Evatt party, on the sources of its revenue. He averred during the course of his remarks that his party was not in any way associated with big business, that it did not take donations from any big business organization and that it conducted its campaigns, both Federal and State, on donations from eight trade unions affiliated with this party, or what is really a rump of a party, in the State of Victoria. Victoria is the only State in which unions are affiliated with what is now known as the Democratic Labour party. In other States where this organization exists, there are no unions affiliated with it. Formerly, the Democratic Labour party was the AntiCommunist Labour party. The eight trade unions concerned are nearly all broke, like most trade unions to-day, and this particular party, this splinter group, would not be able to obtain very much money from those trade unions.

It was stated by Senator McManus in his attack upon the Labour party that we had deserted the things we used to stand for, that we are associated in some way with the Communist party, that we are taking support from it, that we are associated with it in unity tickets, and similar statements all of them false. The Australian Labour party, which is the only Labour party in this country, is referred to as the Evatt party, and the term " Evatt party " is used as a slur and a smear. An attempt is made by members and supporters of the Democratic Labour party, and by sections of the daily press, to prove that the Australian Labour party, under its present leadership, is different from the Australian Labour party under the leadership of the late Mr. Chifley, and, before him, the late Mr. Curtin. But all that is false.

On 14th September, in a radio broadcast, I challenged a Mr. Santamaria to contest the Melbourne electorate against me as the candidate of the D.L.P., because, as I said, I believe that he is the real leader of the D.L.P., although he leads it from behind. I made that challenge, as I said, on 14th September. On 3rd September, in Mr. Santamaria's paper he is the man who founded it, and he still directs its policy, and controls a very powerful organization generally he stated that the D.L.P. would not fall for any preference appeal. On 16th September, in the Senate, Senator McManus said that, in regard to preferences no definite decision had been arrived at by the Victorian branch of his party. There are two voices, and I believe that what Mr. Santamaria says is true. On Sunday last, in another broadcast, I again challenged Mr. Santamaria to stand against me for the Melbourne seat. I told him that he could come down from his ivory tower or emerge from his hide-out, wherever it was, and submit himself to the electors so that they could decide whether or not his views should be supported. On the first occasion, he declined. I was then attacked by a Mr. Denis Jackson, on the " Catholic Hour " programme, for attacking Mr. Santamaria. I was accused of raising the sectarian issue, by some strange piece of alchemy, because I had challenged this gentleman to oppose me.

It has been said by Mr. Santamaria and the supporters of the D.L.P. that the Australian Labour party is somehow associated with communism on the one hand and with big business on the other. I said that 1 could prove that the D.L.P. was financed by wealthy interests, and I want to take a few minutes "to-night to prove the case that I made. The story is this: In December, 1953, a firm known as Commercial Consultants of Australia, public relations consultants, was registered in the name of Francis Charles Smedley, at 522 Punt-road, South Yarra. Smedley was an employee of J. Walter Thompson Australia Proprietary Limited. He was sent to Melbourne to form this organization by the managing director of the firm, Mr. Lloyd Ring Coleman. This group was established with the aid of money from the oil companies and it attempted to coerce the Labour governments of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland into abandoning price control in respect of petrol. This firm was concerned not only with State politics - and I do not want to go into them very much except to say that this organization played a very big part in causing the Labour split in Queensland. The firm interfered, too, in Western Australia. I am not sure at this moment whether the government of the time in Western Australia, which insisted on maintaining price control, was a Liberal government or a Labour government.

This body that I have mentioned was very active, and it was a fairly powerful body. Its primary object was to conduct certain public relations activities on behalf of the oil industry, particularly in relation to the removal of price control, as I have said, and the obtaining of higher prices for petrol. The work was to be carried out principally in conjunction with the Oil Industry Joint Prices Committee - a body representing all the major oil companies, and headed by Mr. Hamilton Sleigh, managing director of H. C. Sleigh Limited. In addition, Commercial Consultants of Australia was to carry out public relations and advertising activities on behalf of two companies - the Shell Company of Australia Limited, of which Mr. W. H. Anderson, who was also federal president of the Liberal party of Australia, is a director, and H. C. Sleigh Limited, of which Mr. Hamilton Sleigh, as I have said, is managing director.

This organization went to work, and it ultimately began to interfere in federal politics. This is the answer to those people in the D.L.P. who say that they have no association with big business. They do not like my charge that they have sold themselves out to the Liberal party. They do not like my statement that the Liberal party has bought the D.L.P., lock, stock and barrel, and that the D.L.P. is merely the Liberal party's junior chamber of commerce, as it were, and is prepared to sell its principles, its votes and anything else that the Liberal party likes to pay for. [Extension of time granted.] I thank the House for its forbearance, Mr. Speaker. The activities of Commercial Consultants of Australia in the federal political sphere consisted, among other things, of providing a link in 1955 between the Liberal party and the AntiCommunist Labour party. There was no Democratic Labour party in existence at that time, and nobody outside the State of Victoria associated with the AntiCommunist Labour party.

The most important part played in the association between the Liberal party and the Anti-Communist Labour party was played by Mr. John Mullens, the former Labour member for Gellibrand, who opposed me in the Melbourne electorate at the 1955 election and was defeated. On a number of occasions after the middle of 1955, Mr. Mullens was often seen in conference with Mr. Smedley, whom I have named, and a man called Hervey-Tennyson, at 522 Punt-road, South Yarra. On at least one occasion, shortly before the federal election of 1955, Mr. W. H. Anderson and Mr. Mullens were in conference together at the Punt Road office. I know these things because there was a bust-up later, and sixteen people were sacked. Some took their grievances away with them, and they have told a few stories.

The exact details of the agreement reached between Anderson, representing the Liberal party, and Mullens, representing the A.C.L. party, are not known. However, it is known that a sum of £22,000 was made available to Mullens, presumably for distribution between the various A.C.L. candidates. At least, it is certain that Mullens received financial support throughout his campaign and afterwards. During the campaign, Commercial Consultants of Australia paid Duplications Limited, of Carlton, for the printing of propaganda, and a number of the staff of Commercial Consultants of Australia was employed in addressing envelopes to post this material to the electors of Melbourne for the purpose of ensuring my defeat

Earlier in 1955, this man HerveyTennyson claimed that Commercial Consultants of Australia had stage-managed Mullens's challenge to debate communism with the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) at the Hobart conference of the A.L.P. In February, 1956, £1,000 was made available to Mullens to finance a visit by himself and eight other A.C.L. speakers to address the Labour party conference in Sydney. After Mullens's defeat in the federal election, he was placed on the payroll of Commercial Consultants of Australia and received £20 a week. The cheques for this were made payable to a Mrs. Hall, who was said to be a relative of Mullens. On many occasions last year Mullens presented himself at the office of Commercial Consultants of Australia demanding payment of money allegedly due to him. It is reported that he demanded payment of a lump sum of £2,500 to finance an overseas trip - and he had the overseas trip, whoever paid for it. He did not have the money to pay for it. He asked also for the equivalent of his former parliamentary salary for one year, in accordance with promises said to have been made to him by Mr. Smedley and Mr. Anderson.

Shortly before Easter, 1956, there was trouble, because information had leaked out from the National Bank about the payment of £22,000 to the Anti-Communist Labour party. After that things happened. There was the disappearance of £33,000 for which Mullens and Anderson were not responsible. Because of all that was happening in Commercial Consultants, the organization was wound up by some decent people in the Liberal party and the commercial life of Australia.

I recite those matters because I believe them to be facts. They are the answers to the D.L.P., which is continually smearing the Australian Labour party. The D.L.P. claims that it -obtains its finance from the people. I say again that the D.L.P. is being financed by the oil companies principally. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), who was attacked by Senator McManus for stating that £30,000 was made available by the oil cartel, was -very near -the mark. The sum .was about £22,000. Those facts envelopes to post this material to the electors of Melbourne for the purpose of ensuring my defeat.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!The honorable member's extended time has expired.

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