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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- First, I want to thank the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt) for giving me the opportunity of clarifying something that I said in my earlier remarks relating to this part of the bill. I want to assure the committee that when I was criticizing certain members of the legal profession, I did not intend that criticism to apply to everybody practising in that profession. I have some very good friends who are very able members of the legal profession. But the honorable member for Wide Bay reduced the matter to a personal basis, so, with your permission, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I should like to refer briefly to that matter again.

The honorable member for Wide Bay said he wanted to ask the honorable member for East Sydney whether he had ever had occasion to engage a lawyer and whether that lawyer had been successful in keeping him out of gaol. Let me put the honorable member for Wide Bay right immediately. I did have occasion to seek the aid of a lawyer, and I obtained the services of a gentleman who I believe is pre-eminent in his profession in this country. Of course, he had a very easy task, because it is not a very difficult matter to defend successfully a person who is completely innocent. If the honorable member for Wide Bay would obtain from the Clerk of Papers a copy of the report submitted by the royal commission which inquired into certain matters relating to the timber industry in New Guinea, he would see that Sir George Ligertwood, a judge who was appointed by an anti-Labour government to the Supreme Court of South Australia, said in his findings' something of which I am very proud. He said that he had no reason to doubt any word of the evidence given by the honorable member for East Sydney. I suggest that if the honorable member for Wide Bay is ever placed in circumstances under which his life has to be examined, as mine was for a number of weeks, he will not come out of it quite as successfully as I did.

When I spoke of the gaols being full as a result of the efforts of some lawyers, I had in mind the experience I had gained over many years in this Parliament of people who were unsuccessful in their profession and who then decided to enter politics. Let me say finally that, although I was completely innocent with respect to the matters that were suggested against me on the occasion to which I have referred, I am quite certain that if I had retained the services of the honorable member for Wide Bay, then, as innocent as I was, it is probable that I would have finished up in gaol.

I come now to clause 13, which seeks to amend section 26 of the principal act. I move -

After paragraph (a) insert the following paragraph: - " (aa) by omitting from sub-section (1.) the words, ' and may open and maintain with any other prescribed bank,'; and ".

If those words are deleted, it will mean that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board will Be obliged to do all its banking with the Commonwealth Bank. In my opinion, this proposal will test whether, honorable members on the Government side really favour this great national institution.

I do not propose to take long in debating this point, because I think it should be apparent to every member of the Parliament that this great organization should be supported. I emphasize that the Commonwealth Bank has made good profits ever since its establishment. Of course, the Labour Government which established the Commonwealth Bank was not worried about it making losses. The aim was to give the people a bank that would give them real service. It was not our purpose that the Commonwealth Bank should make enormous profits; our purpose was to cut down interest rates and to give good, efficient general banking services to the community.

If, as a result of sabotage, this bank makes losses, those losses will have to be made good by the taxpayers of Australia. In my opinion, it is a part of the duties of the members of this Commonwealth Parliament to protect the taxpayers and to protect the people's institution. I submit, therefore, that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board should do all its business with the Government banking organization. The same thing applies with respect to other Government instrumentalities. For instance, the Government should be giving all of its airways business to Trans-Australia Airlines. My amendment seeks to provide that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board shall transact all its banking business with the Commonwealth Bank. The PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) may argue that all of the board's business is being done with the Commonwealth Bank now, but that is not the point.

Mr Davidson - I agree that it is not the point.

Mr WARD - While we are dealing with this measure, we should make certain that all the banking business of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is done through the national organization, the Commonwealth Bank. I hope that, in addition to the members of the Labour Party, all other honorable members who believe in this great organization will, by their support, indicate that they agree with the amendment which- 1 have: now proposed.

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