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Wednesday, 24 September 1958

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) said he was so overwhelmed with indignation that he had to speak to-night. We are getting used to the sort of speech that the honorable member made. His speech tonight reminds me of the night that he came into this chamber with a shirt which he said had been made by the Japanese. He exhibited it here in the chamber and said, " We will fight against the Japanese Trade Agreement as long as the Labour party has breath in its body ", or words to that effect. But for the last seven weeks of this Budget session the Japanese Trade Agreement has not been mentioned by the Labour Opposition. There is a reason for that.

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that during the last sessional period I made reference, during a speech, to the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), who was interjecting at the time. I said - and at the time I said it I thought that the statement I was making was a fact - that the honorable member for Lalor had spoken against the Japanese Trade Agreement. The honorable member immediately rose and denied that he had done so. He said1, " I have never opposed the Japanese Trade Agreement", and he was so sincere about his denial that I felt I had to do something about it. Honorable members will either recall, or can see in the " Hansard " record, that I rose afterwards and made a personal explanation in which I said that I had erred in making the statement that I had made. I said that I had thought that the honorable member for Lalor, with other members of the Labour party, was against the Japanese Trade Agreement, but that I had found out that, as he had said, he had not opposed it and, in fact, had been out of the country when the agreement was being debated. When I included him in my speech among those not in favour of the agreement he left no doubt about where he stood in relation to that matter.

What happened in the meantime, when the House was not sitting? The honorable member for Lalor is recognized as the only man in the Labour party who knows much about primary production. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has some knowledge of it, so, in fairness to him, let me put it this way: The honorable member for Lalor is the spokesman of the Labour party on legislation referring to or encompassing primary production. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who is interjecting now, is a man of the footpaths. He would be lost in the great outback. Anyway, the honorable member for Lalor is the spokesman of the Labour party as far as primary production is concerned. Being the spokesman for the Labour party on primary production, the honorable member for Lalor has no doubt said to his colleagues, " There is an election coming along. We are hoping to get the votes of some of the primary producers. This Japanese Trade Agreement is a godsend to them ". Japan is one of our best buyers of wool. The Japanese buy a tremendous amount of our wool and keep the market prices up. They are buyers of our wheat. They are in the dried fruits market and the sugar market. In fact, their buying of primary products encompasses very many of the primary goods we produce. Therefore, the Labour party, as no doubt everybody can see, was told, " You want to soft-pedal on this agreement because we are coming before the people shortly The Labour Opposition is not going to tell me that it is a coincidence that just at the drop of a hat, as it were, every one of them has decided to steer clear altogether of any mention of the Japanese Trade Agreement. That would be something stranger than fiction. So we have the honorable member for Scullin changing his tactics - altogether a change of act, a change of scenery. In fact, the Labour party is able to turn on a change of act and a change of scenery in record time as circumstances demand. Its members are also able to be silent on socialization the moment an election is close at hand. A few members like the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) come out now and again and make a statement on socialization, as also does the honorable member for East Sydney. But, generally speaking, when we get near election time there is not a word from the Labour party about socialization.

I am going to say to this House and to anybody who cares to listen that even the most careful listener to all the Labour propaganda during the coming election campaign will not hear anything about socialization. So I ask the people of this country, through you, Mr. Speaker, to listen carefully on 15th October to the opening speech of the Labour party's general election campaign, which will be delivered by its leader, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who will then be seeking election for the division of Hunter. Listen to his speech carefully, and if he refers in a favorable way to Labour's main objective - the socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange - I am prepared to apologize when I come back to this House after the election.

Do you recall, Mr. Speaker, some recent words of the Leader of the Opposition? He said, " Labour will submit an alternative Budget, and the acceptance of it by the people will be the first move in Labour's implementing its objectives". That is what he said. What objectives? The objectives of socialization! There is not the slightest doubt about that. So the people of this country should be warned that Labour, just after a general election, is quite a different party in its utterances from what it is immediately prior to an election.

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