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Thursday, 2 June 1960

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- Mr. Deputy Speaker,I sincerely regret that there is such a sparse attendance of Government members when very many important subjects are being raised by members of the Opposition. I have no doubt at all of the futility of raising these matters, knowing the general attitude of the Government and the contempt of Ministers for the Parliament and the people, but I think there are one or two things that it is wise to put on record.

One of the matters that I want to bring to the notice of Ministers, if they are interested at all, is the continued statement by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) that telephone tapping commenced in this country during the regime of the Chifley Government. I remember that, in his second-reading speech, the Attorney-General said that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization was established in March of 1949 and that phone tapping commenced three months later, which would be about June, 1949. Every remaining member of this Parliament who was a Minister in the Chifley Government has denied any knowledge of any such happening. Knowing Mr. Chifley as we did, we are therefore entitled to say to anybody who makes a statement which, in my opinion, could be a smear on his reputation, that evidence should be produced in support of the charge, and laid on the table of the House. Is there any evidence? If you examine what the little fuehrer said, you will recollect that-

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