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Wednesday, 7 September 1960

Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES (Chisholm) . - I am delighted to know that remarks of mine, even though torn from their context, have caused perturbation on the part of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). Knowing his very leftist tendencies, I am delighted that he is disturbed because I have said something which might wake the public up to what is happening in this country.

During the course of that speech, I reminded the members of the Labour Party of what had taken place eighteen months or two years ago, when the World Federation of Trade Unions, representative of red trade unions - the Australian Council of Trade Unions is not affiliated with this body although it often walks arm in arm with it - had a meeting in Budapest, Prague or the capital of one of the satellite countries in Europe and decided to start infiltrating non-Communist unions. It was decided to discard altogether the general strike, which it said was out of date, and to go in for the rolling strike - for a disruption of services such as we have seen on the waterfront and in the shipping industry lately - and by this method to cause dislocation of the economies of the countries of the free world. We have only to compare what has happened over the last twelve months with what happened in, say, the previous two years to see the effect of putting this campaign into operation in Australia.

I know that some members on the Opposition side do not understand how the subtle poison of Communist direction and propaganda works. The Communists did not need a majority on the council. I did not say they had a majority. The honorable member for Yarra forgets that I was at one time Minister for Electrical Undertakings and Railways in the State of Victoria. To say that the Melbourne City Council's power-house has nothing whatever to do with Yallourn is just plain bunkum. It is nonsense. This dispute was not started at the Trades Hall. The men did not go to the Trades Hall. They just walked out for 24 hours in order to cause dislocation and disruption of industry, and they did cause it. The dispute may not have been directly caused or led by Communists, but it is strange that it occurred just after there had been a unity ticket at an election and the Communist on the unity ticket had been returned as a delegate to the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council.

That is the start of it. Then they get another and possibly still another, and then they start to use their influence in the Trades and Labour Council in order to go on with strikes or stoppages of this kind affecting power supplies. That European conference said that they were going to do it in the case of power, in transport and in the heavy industries. That is the way the three sections said they were going to start this campaign, not only in Australia but in other places also, in order to disrupt our economy.

It has been happening ever since. You see it in the Victorian railways and in the tactics of the Seamen's Union and the Waterside Workers Federation. I do not know whether 1 will ever claim my honorary membership of the Waterside Workers Federation, but I was the dear old sergeant with the Greasy Point push in Williamstown in the First World War. They gave me honorary membership but I do not think, if I claimed it now. they would say it was still in operation. But those things are happening now. It goes on, and nobody can convince me that it is not part of general world Communist strategy. If the honorable member for Yarra wants to try to cover up on behalf of the Communists, or claim that this has nothing to do with the matter, that is his business; but what I said was true - it is part of the general scheme. If this is merely a coincidence and has nothing to do with the matter, it is a very strange coincidence.

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