Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 19 February 1959

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - First, I should like to join with other honorable members in congratulating the Speaker upon his re-election. He has proved to be a very good Speaker, and I believe that is the reason why such strenuous efforts were made on the Government side to have him removed from that office. Supporters of the Government would have preferred a Speaker who would be simply a party hack to throw out of the House any person on the Opposition side who di gressed ever so slightly and allow to remain on the Government side those rude individuals who are noted for talking loudly and interjecting ad lib while others are speaking. That would have branded such a chairman as an excellent Speaker in the eyes of Government supporters. In that respect some honorable members opposite had supported the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske), who has just resumed his seat. He was to fill the role that I have just described.

I hope that those honorable members were wrong in their assumption that the honorable member for Balaclava would become a party hack, because I have no doubt that before this Parliament is ended, the honorable gentleman will become the first Commonwealth judge in divorce. The person who is to fill such an important role as that ought not to be a party hack. I hope that their judgment of the honorable member will be proved completely wrong when he takes up his high and exalted position in the proposed Commonwealth divorce court. In all seriousness, I say it is a tribute to the honorable member for Balaclava that the Government has seen fit to introduce uniform divorce laws. There is not a shadow of doubt that but for the efforts of the honorable gentleman, Australia would not have seen a uniform law of divorce for many years to come; perhaps for generations or over a century. When the history of Australia is written, particularly its legal history, the name of Percy Joske will be given a very honoured place. I say that in full appreciation of all that he has done in that connexion.

I do hope, however, that when the legislation is introduced it will not be as stodgy as was the bill which was introduced by the honorable gentleman himself. I hope that the new bill will follow more closely the recommendations of the Law Society. That organization had agreed upon a draft bill which it understood the honorable gentleman would introduce, but for reasons which I understand - and I do not condemn him - he felt that he would have to tighten up on them. There were three departures from the Law Society's recommendations to which I should like to refer briefly. One was the recommendation of the Law Society that the South Australian law concerning cruelty should be retained in the Commonwealth law. The honorable member for Balaclava, in his bill which, in this respect, I hope will never see the light of day again, made the amazing provision that a person could sue the other party to the marriage for divorce if it could be shown that the person concerned was cruelly beaten regularly for twelve months. It was argued that this applied to the husband as well as the wife, so that if a wife cruelly beat her husband regularly for twelve months he would have as much right as she would to sue for divorce. I think that the deletion from the legislation of the provision for judicial separation was a bad decision, and I hope the Government will include it after consideration. Despite these slight criticisms, if we are honest and prepared to give credit where it is due, we must admit that this move forward in the Parliament of the Commonwealth towards a uniform divorce law is the work almost entirely of the honorable member for Balaclava. I for one would not begrudge him the honour of being the first Commonwealth judge in divorce.

I want to say something now about a question which was asked by the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Cash) regarding unmarked ballot-papers. There is no doubt that, for years and years, certain people have made it a practice of going to various polling booths and picking up unused ballotpapers. They have then used them to vote for a particular party. It is a remarkable thing that in certain polling booths the number of informal votes is very low, whilst in others it is very high. I suggest that the number of informal votes is so much higher at some polling booths than at others because, at the former, presiding officers have been honest enough to put in unmarked ballot-papers as informal votes and have taken care to prevent persons from picking up unused ballot-papers and recording a vote on them. Something has to be done along the lines suggested by the honorable member for Stirling so that a ballot-paper that is left in a booth unused can be stamped " unused " and then be put into the ballotbox so that it can be included as an informal or unused ballot-paper.

Mr Buchanan - What would happen if it were picked up before it was stamped?

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is the trouble; one cannot eliminate the practice entirely. The only way to do that would be to employ a person to do nothing else but move constantly up and down the booths to see that any ballot-paper which was left unmarked was picked up immediately. Many persons do not understand that when they go in to vote, they have to vote on two separate ballot-papers. They believe that if they vote on one paper, they have done all that is required of them. If they vote on the pink paper, the Senate paper will be left unmarked, and vice versa.

I turn now to postal voting. I believe that this can be one of the most corrupt methods of recording votes that has ever been introduced. A person who is not able to go to the booth on election day should be defranchised rather than allow the practice that is now developing, especially in Liberal party strongholds. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) is knitting his brows because he knows what I am driving at. It is quite clear that he knows what is in my mind when I refer to corrupt practices in postal voting. Have a look at the returns for Sturt in South Australia. I invite honorable members to look at the number of postal votes recorded in the district of Sturt and compare it with the numbers of those recorded in the districts of Hindmarsh and Port Adelaide. You will find that, for some strange and illogical reason, in the district of Sturt there are about three times the number of people eligible for a postal vote as there are in the districts of Port Adelaide and Hindmarsh. The Liberal party has developed all over Australia a technique of-

Mr Curtin - Corruption.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is a corrupt technique of the Liberal party. Throughout Australia corrupt methods are being used to build up a large postal vote from people who are not eligible for a postal vote, because the Liberal party organization, through its women's clubs and the like, know that by organizing this form of voting they can control the results. This should be eliminated.

I should like to say something about Liberal party funds, and, for that matter, Labour party funds too, because we have nothing to hide. I should like to see the Electoral Act altered to provide that every political party be made to declare publicly the source of all revenue coming into its campaign funds. There are cries of " Hear, hear " from the Government side. I am glad honorable members opposite agree. I hope that when we propose an amendment of the Electoral Act they will vote with this side of the House, not with the side on which they are now sitting. I also hope that the amendment of the Electoral Act will go further and provide that candidates for Parliament shall publicly declare the source of all the money donated to them, and that the penalty for a false declaration or for failing to declare the full amounts received shall be forfeiture of the seat of the member concerned, and forfeiture of the seats of all the members of the party concerned in the particular State, if they are found to be guilty. I know that if a law such as that were implemented and every political party had to come out into the open and state clearly where its money was coming from, so that we knew which were the companies financing the parties concerned, we should have a government different from that which we have to-day, and that that government would not be introducing the legislation that this Government is introducing.

We should not have the Liberal party supporting a monopoly for Ansett Airlines if it were not for the fact that AnsettA.N.A. had put large sums of money into the Liberal party campaign funds. We should not have these banking bills being introduced if it were not for the fact that the private banks of Australia have put large sums of money into the Liberal party campaign funds. We should not have the specially favoured treatment that is being given to shipping companies in Australia if it were not for the large sums of money put into the Liberal campaign funds by the shipping cartel. We should not have the special treatment meted out to the oil companies - great subsidies given for oil drilling operations in Australia, subsidies being paid to wealthy American companies that have more money than the Government itself - if it were not for the large amounts of money paid into the D.L.P. and Liberal party campaign funds by these organizations. These are things that have to be looked into. We have reached the stage of politics in Australia during the last ten years where we are rapidly drifting into the situation that operates in the corrupt Middle

East States. No longer is democracy respected by the people there, because democracy represents corruption of the worst kind.

I want to turn, in the time at my disposal, to the remarks of some of the previous speakers. I start off with the easiest of them, namely, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), who, unfortunately, at the moment is not in the chamber. He stated that the Labour party was responsible for the fact that there is not now a development bank in operation and that, because there is no development bank in operation, many farmers are finding it difficult to obtain finance. Let me remind the honorable gentleman that the Labour party made it quite clear in another place that it would be prepared to pass the bill dealing with the establishment of a development bank, provided the Government did not insist upon the complete destruction of the Commonwealth Bank, as was proposed in the other thirteen bills. Moreover, we also pointed out that it was not necessary to pass special legislation to establish a development bank, because the Commonwealth Bank already had the power to set up such an establishment and to finance it, and all that the Government was required to do was to bring in simple legislation to give the new bank the funds with which to carry out its job.

The honorable member for Hume also made the statement that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) had criticized the entry into Australia of foreign capital and had spoken as though that was a terrible crime. The honorable member for Hume said that that indicated the unAustralian attitude of the honorable member concerned. Let me read what the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said. Then I shall invite honorable members opposite to join in that criticism, if they choose to do so, or to be courageous enough to stand up and defend the honorable member for Melbourne Ports if they have the ability to understand the case that he presented. This is what he said -

Why should Australia want to get money from the United States, London or anywhere else for the construction of a departmental store in Bourkestreet or a luxury hotel at the top of Collins-street? What we want is bricks, cement, steel and building labour, and we have these things in abundance in this country.

Mr Wheeler -Irise to a point of order. Is the honorable gentleman reading from the " Hansard " of a current debate?

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!I think the honorable member is in order. I ask him to continue and to pursue his reading carefully.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Thank you. Sir. Incidentally, I think I congratulated you upon your election. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports continued -

What overseas investors are looking for is the kind of investment that gives the quickest and greatest return. American money to-day talks in terms of a return of from 20 per cent. to 25 per cent. on the capital invested. American investors plough back money extracted from the hides of the buyers in Australia and expect to earn 20 per cent. or 25 per cent., not on the original capital, but on what they call the equity of the shareholders. This country in future years will have to pay a very large invisible item in dollars and sterling for dividends and other earnings, not on the initial capital, but on the capital which has been accumulated from the prices taken from the purchasers of the goods in the Australian community.

In years gone by, the conquering Romans used to force their victims to pay them tribute each year. However, Australia to-day is being conquered just as effectively by foreign capital, and many future generations of Australians will be committed to the payment of tribute to foreign companies.

Now I leave the honorable member for Hume, because that is about all he said, and I turn to the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Opperman). The honorable gentleman quoted with pride, he said, from the Governor-General's Speech. He referred to the part that dealt with courtcontrolled ballots and the Government's decision to pay the cost of conducting courtcontrolled ballots. He went on to explain that this was necessary because recently the trade union movement had been captured by the Communist party. I am glad to hear honorable members opposite say " Hear, hear". They do not know how quickly they are walking into the trap that has been prepared for them. The honorable member for Corio said that because of the Australian Labour party's decision to join in unity tickets with Communists, the trade unions are now firmly in the grip of the Communist party. I should like to know whether he really believes that, or whether he believes the second part of his statement.

He went on to say he was proud to quote what the Governor-General had said. I will read word for word what the GovernorGeneral did say. This is what the Prime Minister wrote for him -

The remarkable record of freedom from industrial disturbance in 1957 was surpassed by the record in 1958; not for twenty years has there been a period of two successive years in which the record has been equalled.

We have the honorable member saying first that the trade union movement is now firmly in the grip of the Communist party as a consequence of our unity tickets, or alleged unity tickets, but in the very next breath he says that during last year and the year before we have had a record period of freedom from strikes. We can only assume from that reasoning that the Communist party union officials are the ones we have to look to in order to have freedom from strikes and industrial strife and that if we want union co-operation with the employers we shall have to have more Communists appointed as trade union officials. '

Mr Opperman - I rise to order. I have been misrepresented. I said that because of the unity tickets the reds were again infiltrating the unions. I did not say that they had taken complete control.

Suggest corrections