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
Wednesday, 31 August 1960


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I believe that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has done a great service in attacking the Government for the way in which it has handled this matter. He was quite right, I think, when he said that the Government had made a shocking mess of the Professor Gluckman case. The honorable member certainly told the truth when he warned that if the Government continued to handle cases of this kind in such a manner it would still further discredit the Australian Security Intelligence Organization in the eyes of the general public. This conduct is responsible for the fact that the security service in Australia to-day is generally regarded by thinking people as a hopelessly inefficient, discredited organization.

I believe that if this kind of thing goes on for much longer, and if the security service is permitted to smear innocent people, or, if, though it is not: smearing innocent people, the Government refuses to give the facts so that that impression will not be created, the public of Australia will rise up in rebellion against this political pimping and lying that goes on under the name of security. Why, it is this very kind of thing that makes us all hate the Soviet system! It is this kind of thing that made us turn against the Nazi system, with its Gestapo. It is this kind of thing that our men thought they were fighting in World War II. It is this kind of thing that we believe the war was fought to end for all time. Yet we are aping the Russians and the Gestapo as faithfully as the Russians themselves can ape their own secret police. We have in this Government all the elements of the form of dictatorship that exists in countries whose systems we so heartily deplore.

The " Sydney Morning Herald ", a newspaper that cannot be accused of radical views, published the following statement in to-day's sub-leader: -

What possible reasons can our security officials have for supposing that a short visit to New Guinea by any person, whatever his views or aims, could do harm? There are no defence secrets in New Guinea; and there are adequate legal provisions to deport any person who tries overtly to make trouble with the natives. To ban even persons who are undesirable, let alone those whom somebody suspects of being undesirable, by secret and unchallengeable processes based on secret information, offends basic ideals of justice and good government and will suggest to our critics overseas that we have indeed something to hide in the Territory.

What is the reason for the ban? Is it correct that the " Sydney Morning Herald " has hit the nail on the head? Is it true that we are keeping Gluckman and people like him out of the Territory of New Guinea because we are trying to hide something from the Afro-Asian bloc which now controls the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations and which could take control of the Territory at any time that it cared to put the matter to a vote?

Is it true that the Government does not want Gluckman and others to go back to the Trusteeship Council and talk about the racial discrimination that operates in a territory where a dark man gets 6s. 3d. a week and rations for work which no white man would do for less than the basic wage? A native carpenter, qualified to do a job equal to that done by any white man, is paid no more than £4 15s. a week and rations, whereas a white man would have to be paid £18 or £19 for the same work? Is it because a maximum rate of £100 is being fixed as compensation for a native who is killed or injured during the course of his work, whereas the minimum rate for a white man who is killed is of the order of £2,000? Are these the reasons that the Government does not want people like Gluckman to go to the Territory?

Is it because the Government does not want the Trusteeship Council to know that it will not allow a black man to go into a picture theatre which shows pictures that have not been specially screened against the native people? Is it because the Government does not want people like the United Nations Trusteeship Council to know that at Moresby it is possible to stand and watch natives being served at a porthole in the side of a butcher's shop because the white people are the only ones allowed to enter by the front door? Is it because natives are the only people not allowed to drink in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, although natives are asking for the right to drink and the right to be penalized if they abuse the right they are given? Is it because the Government does not want people to find out that at Madang three weeks ago a twelve-year old boy was given a month's jail for committing a petty theft, and that a white man was fined £150 after he had been convicted of manslaughter, having killed a coloured man out of Lae about eighteen months ago? Is it because the Government does not want people to find out that a native at Lae was committed to eighteen months' gaol for stealing a bit of bacon out of a refrigerator, when his employer had not been properly feeding him?


Mr Mackinnon - That is not true.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is true. In addition to stealing bacon, he stole a bit of fritz and some buns. It is true that he got eighteen months' gaol for the theft of those scraps of food from the refrigerator. It is also true that while we were in New Guinea a native was committed to prison for five years on a house-breaking charge.

While these penalties are imposed on natives for petty offences, a white man who kills a native and is found guilty of manslaughter is fined only £150. There is no gaol term at all for him. Does the Government want to keep Gluckman out because it does not want him to see large areas of land that the Government is appropriating and re-letting to the Bulolo Gold-Dredging Company and others for 6d. per acre per year, on a 50-year lease basis, as has been admitted by the Minister himself? Nearly 19,000 acres of beautiful grazing land in the Markham Valley was given to the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company four weeks ago, while there are pockets of native population which are bursting at the scams because they have not enough land to live on. The Government is giving - and " giving " is the right word - land to the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company and others. It is no wonder that the AfroAsian bloc on the United Nations Trusteeship Council is showing some concern about the way we are administering New Guinea.

We are not going to help ourselves by keeping people like Gluckman out of the place. We are only going to make the suspicion deeper than ever. I believe that this is a situation that has caused great discontent. I. should like to know why it is that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will not give us the reasons for this gentleman being kept out of the Territory of New Guinea. The Prime Minister has said that the reason he cannot give the reasons is that to do so may do some harm to the man concerned. Good heavens! No more harm could be done to this man than has already done him? I say to the Governas an undesirable person, as a person not fit to go into the Territory. What more harm could you do the man than you have already done him? 1 say to the Government: For goodness sake tell us the worst. It could not be any worse than the position as it stands. There is something else that we might inquire into. When did the Prime Minister first learn about the matter? Did he learn about it after the decision was irrevocably taken by the Administrator, or before that? If he learned about it before, it is reasonable to assume that he wholeheartedly supported the decision.

It is not forgotten that the Malayan Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, recently told the Australian Prime Minister that if those in New Guinea did not get out quickly and give self-government to the Territory they would be thrown out. Is that the reason that the Prime Minister came back and said it would be better to give the people of New Guinea self-government too early than too late? In saying that, of course, he was absolutely correct. It is treatment of the native peoples such as I have mentioned, and attempts such as this to keep out of New Guinea those who understand anthropology, that will do more than anything else to make the Afro-Asian bloc that now has a majority vote on the Trusteeship Council, decide to walk in and take the Territory from us.







Suggest corrections