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Thursday, 2 June 1960


Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- I want to put one or two things straight before Parliament goes into recess. First of all, if members of the Opposition think that the whole of the Australian population are up in arms about the Telephonic Communications (Interception) Bill they are very wide of the- mark. I understand that the leading members of the Opposition wanted to adopt a certain course with regard to that measure, but that certain backbench members, and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), were not agreeable, as they thought it would stir up strife throughout Australia. Since the bill passed this House I have travelled fairly extensively throughout the country and have made it my business to engage in conversation with various people to ascertain their opinion on the " phonetapping" provisions. Everywhere I went I found that it was a dead letter. The people were not apprehensive about it. Those to whom I spoke said, " Yes, if the authorities think that something is going to be said that is prejudicial to the welfare of the Commonwealth, then every means should be used to bring those people to account according to the law ", That is the story.

A few moments ago the honorable member for East Sydney referred to a statement made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) concerning the late Mr. Chifley. The honorable member knows quite well that if the information is on record that Mr. Chifley did permit phone tapping, it cannot be tabled because it is an aspect of the security service. Of course, nothing would please the honorable member better than to have the Attorney-General bring forward this information. He would then immediately ask, "What is the good of the security service? " Obviously, the AttorneyGeneral is following the right course in not producing this information. It is very clear that that is all the honorable member for East Sydney wants, and every honorable member of this Parliament should know it; but that is also the very reason why the Attorney-General will not make the details available.

The honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) referred to the plight of pensioners and others during the approaching winter. Every honorable member is sympathetic with people in their condition. The honorable member suggested that the Government should make more money available to help these people. I do not doubt that in respect to many cases he is right. However, about three weeks ago I listened to a broadcast from Melbourne entitled, " Victoria's Labour Hour ", in which the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), who has also spoken here within the last hour, was the speaker. He stated that the Labour Party had put forward a proposition at each election to spend large sums of money on social services, pensions, child endowment and all manner of things. I regret that the honorable member is at present not in the chamber because I wish to quote his exact words, which I wrote down, and I should like him to be here while I do so. Members of the Opposition frequently remark on the fact that members on the Government side are absent at times from the chamber, but possibly the honorable member has been called to the phone as is often the case. When speaking in this broadcast he said, speaking of the social service benefits promised by the Labour Party-

We have never been willing to say how they can be paid for.

Any one who cares to obtain a copy of the script of that broadcast will find that I have quoted the exact words the honorable member used. He said that the Labour Party had never been willing to say how these election baits in the form of social services would be paid for. Of course, members of the Opposition know that that is very true. It is very easy for Labour supporters, at election time, when they have no responsibility, to talk in astronomical figures about all the benefits they will provide, but at the same time, make no reference as to how they will be paid for. Because of that very fact Labour has suffered the same fate time after time during the last ten years. But worse things than that are happening. I listen to this broadcast regularly because I get information and find out what Labour men and women are saying. As a result of hearing one of these broadcasts, I asked in a question to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) whether he would confer with the Leader of the Opposition in an endeavour to eliminate the foreign language broadcasts in this session seeing that we want migrants in this country to speak the English language. I am happy to say that, as far as I know, there have not been any foreign language broadcasts on that session since, ?nd I have listened fairly regularly. At least my question had some effect.

I want to refer to one other matter connected with this broadcast session. It is obvious that those responsible for it in some instances do not worry about the truth at all. Recently a lady spoke in the session. Perhaps I should express sympathy for her, but I will not mention her name now. Obviously she was reading a script which had been prepared for her. Among other things she said that the Australian Labour Party has a written platform and policy which is available to any one. I should like to have a copy. But then she went on to add that the Labour Party is the only political party in Australia that has a written platform and policy. I do not want to use words that are too harsh, but if any honorable member can tell me of any statement that is more inaccurate than that I should like to hear it. The Liberal Party has a written platform and policy and so has the Australian Country Party. Every member of the Labour Party knows that, even if this lady did not and was speaking in error. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the honorable members for Batman (Mr. Bird), Darebin, (Mr. Courtnay) and Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), all of whom have spoken on this session, know that both Government parties have written policies. Why do they not put this lady right?


Mr Peters - I did not know you had a policy.


Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member is the only member of the Labour Party who does not know. These prominent members of the Labour Party whom I have mentioned all know that the Country Party and the Liberal Party have a written policy. I have heard them quote from them in this House. Still, they are prepared to allow this lady to read a script of this sort which is completely untrue. Why should these things be allowed to happen? Is this what honorable members opposite call clever political propaganda? If it is, I should say that it is not appreciated by people who know what is happening. But that is the sort of thing that is going on all the time during this " Victoria's Labour Hour " broadcast.

The Leader of the Opposition, in one of the broadcasts, said that the only salvation for eastern countries is a democratic socialist government. Eastern countries have had enough of democratic socialist governments. Some people say that socialism is the stepping-stone to communism. Let us make no mistake about it - it is the springboard. Members of the Opposition are careful what they say in this House and they would not dare allege here that the Goverment parties have not a written platform and policy, because we would produce copies. But whenever they broadcast on " Victoria's Labour Hour " they are much bolder. I shall continue to listen to that broadcast, and I will also continue to expose in this House inaccurate statements that are made during the session.







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