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Thursday, 2 June 1960

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - That remark will have to be withdrawn.

Mr WARD - Very well. I withdraw it. I say that this gentleman who has fuehrerlike characteristics-

Mr Crean - Who was that - the AfiDrney-General?

Mr WARD - Yes - the gentleman who introduced phone tapping on an official basis in this country. What does the Attorney-General say in respect of this matter? The Attorney-General has said to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), " I will put you in touch with living persons who can verify my statement ". Who are the living persons? Are they people who can be depended upon to speak the truth? Is there no official record in this country that can be shown to the Leader of the Opposition to support the Attorney-General's statement or is it merely based on hearsay? Is it possible only to produce some person who, in order to support the Attorney-General's statement, is prepared to say that he was art horized to tap telephones? Does anybody in this Parliament who knew the late Mr.bChifley believe that he did business in such a slipshod manner? r:.

If there were any authorization here would be documents to prove it. Hvhere are the documents? They cannot be produced because the Attorney-General has not said that there is any documentary evidence in existence. All that he has undertaken to do is to put the Leader of the Opposition in touch with living persons who are able to support this allegation. This is not evidence that any reasonable member of this Parliament could accept. I say, quite frankly, that I do not believe the Attorney-General. Why does he not make the same offer to any other member of the Parliament? Other members of this Parliament were Ministers in the Chifley Government. Why does the AttorneyGeneral not offer to put us in touch with the living persons whom he says can substantiate his allegation?

There is no- doubt in the world that anybody who cares to examine the records will discover that, time and time again, the Prime Minister of this country, jn answering questions by myself and some of my colleagues, said repeatedly that there had been no phone tapping. If the AttorneyGeneral has the information that he claims to possess, surely it would also be in the possession of the Prime Minister, who is allegedly in charge of the security service. If the Prime Minister had that knowledge when he was answering our questions, what a very effective reply he could have given if he could have said that the Labour Government that preceded him had been engaged in telephone tapping! But he did not say that. He led this House to believe that there was no telephone tapping. He allowed the brand of untruthfulness to be placed on honorable members of this chamber. Then he skedaddled out of the country overseas because he did not want to be here when we were dealing with legislation to legalize telephone tapping. He did not want to be questioned on the lying replies that he had given to question after question in this Parliament.

I repeat, and I shall continue to repeat, that it is despicable, now, for the AttorneyGeneral 3 go after a dead man to substantiate his claim that the Chifley Government ha tapped telephones. If Mr. Chifley were alive and able to defend himself, the statement would never have been made. I say > s a damnable reflection on the reputation f an estimable Australian citizen to suggest that during his term of office - a period of peace - he had authorized the tapping of telephones.

I feel that I am not the only one who holds this viewpoint and who does not believe what the Attorney-General has said. I believe that the Attorney-General has deliberately misled this House because he wanted to create the impression in the Australian community that phone tapping was a practice of which all political parties approved. He recognized that the introduction of telephone tapping might have very drastic political repercussions, so he wanted to tie every political party to it. He has not produced any evidence to substantiate his claim, but has depended on using the name of a dead man who was the Prime Minister of this country at the time, alleging that he authorized phone tapping. The people of this country will be fully informed that there was no evidence to support the statement made by the AttorneyGeneral in this Parliament.

Let me turn to another subject-matter: I do not disagree with the replies that were given at question time this morning concerning assistance to those who suffered in the Chilean earthquake disaster. I do not argue that the Government should not do more for these people. But in considering the misery and distress that we all regret has occurred in that country, we must not lose sight of the fact that many unfortunate people in this country are now called upon to face mid-winter conditions without any material assistance being given to them by this Government.

If any honorable members doubt my word in this subject I invite them to accompany me to any of the underground railway stations in Sydney where they will see unfortunate women and men who have not anywhere to go. They have no shelter and they await their opportunity to get a railway seat. It is only because of the consideration and co-operation of railway employees that they are able to use the facilities of the railways in order to get a wash to freshen them on the following morning. In a recent television programme, an officer of the Sydney City Mission declared that every night the mission caters for approximately 120 homeless men and that it has to turn from 30 to 50 away because it has not beds available for them. The officer who appeared on this session declared that at least one person died every night because of malnutrition and exposure to the elements.

I want the Government, instead of telling us how much money it has spent on pensions, to look at this subject from the viewpoint of the unfortunate person who probably has to pay £2 or £3 a week in rent for a room and then has insufficient left to provide himself with food and clothing. That is the situation in which many people find themselves to-day. This Parliament is going into recess and we are doing nothing about it. The Government has given an undertaking that it has the Chilean situation constantly under review and that when it knows the magnitude of the disaster it will consider giving further aid. The Opposition invites and encourages the Government to do that. We do not want to take aid away from those unfortunate people, but we want the Government to provide aid for these unfortunate Australian citizens who find themselves in such great need. Let me turn briefly to one other matter.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

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