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Thursday, 8 September 1960

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) . - The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is ageing fast. He stays on the same old bandwagon but no one pays any heed to his ranting about the security service. The security service is an honorable service led by a gentleman of great honour and integrity. It is doing noble work in this country - quietly. It does not tell the honorable member for East Sydney its secrets, because he keeps none. He blurts whatever he knows everywhere, and he does not mind whom he hurts.

Let us look at this matter. Whom is he trying to help when he stands up in this chamber and broadcasts throughout the whole of Australia information about this unfortunate fellow - and he is unfortunate - who cast his lot with the Communist Party and says now that he was expelled. The proposition is that I, as AttorneyGeneral, and my officers should accept this fellow's word, and the word of his fellow Communists, and let him loose amongst the secrets of this country. But the honorable gentleman blasts this fellow's chances of making good elsewhere. We discharged him, and we are not in the least ashamed of the fact that the Commonwealth did not allow a man who had long been a Communist, and who was said to have been thrown out, to continue with us. Being expelled is a fancy way that these gentlemen have of dissociating themselves, for the time being, from the party so that they may do more valuable work under cover. That is a known technique.

I would not have said this about this chap, because I would not have brought up his name or his record, because he is a human being. If in the course of time he can make good, let him, and good luck to him. But he is not going to be loose amongst the secrets of this country.

Mr Ward - But he was for ten weeks.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - That is a most amusing remark. Because a fellow eludes you for ten weeks, you ought not to fire him! It is too silly! The honorable gentleman is getting old and childish, and for any one to accept this sort of claptrap

Mr Erwin - He is getting old; he was always childish.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - He is getting old and no one pays any attention to him. He will be out of politics long before I am.

Mr Ward - I think you have aged ten years since you have been here.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - Yes; I have learnt a few things, may be, but then I am able to learn. Judging from what I have heard from my contemporaries, you never have. You go on in the old donkey cart business.

Let me say this about this gentleman: The gaff has been blown by his so-called friend. It is shameful. What is more, he was so worthy of trust that he gave the honorable member for East Sydney information about what he was doing in my department. That is the sort of thing he did.

Mr Ward - He could not get justice. You would not see him.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - I would not see him? I sent him to the place where he should have gone - to the head of his department.

Mr Ward - You are a little dictator!

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for East Sydney will remain quiet.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - He does not worry me, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I have been used to noise for a long time. I have a message from Mr. Ewens, who denies that the honorable member's account of the interview with Staples is correct.

Mr Ward - Well, what took place?


Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - There is a funny notion that when the honorable member for East Sydney gets up in this chamber, we should believe what he says.

Mr Wentworth - Oh, nonsense!

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - Yes, I agree with you.

Mr Ward - You smeared a dead Prime Minister with a lie!

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! The Minister will resume his seat. I warn the honorable member for East Sydney. He made his speech, and he was not interrupted. I advise him not to interrupt the Attorney-General when he is replying. I ask the Attorney-General to continue.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - I was referring to this amusing assertion that anything the honorable member for East Sydney cares to say should be accepted until some one denies it; that it is wrong not to accept what he says.

Let me return to what is at the heart of what the honorable member has said. The security service no doubt found this man out. He did not tell anybody that he had been until recently a party member; the information had to be ascertained. Surely he did not imagine for one moment when he applied for a confidential job in the Attorney-General's Department that the fact that he had been a member of a Communist Party until a very short time before was immaterial; but he made no disclosure. What sort of a lightly built man is he who thinks he can apply for a confidential job and not tell his employer what his antecedents are? I suppose those of us who are not too cynical would be quite prepared to think that it was not accidental that some one who had been a member of the Communist Party and who was said to have been recently expelled, should turn up in my department in a confidential position. What criticism can there toe of the AttorneyGeneral's Department for the fact that he was fired out of hand? What would this country have said of me if I had left him to rifle the records of the Attorney-General's Department? The honorable gentleman for East Sydney ought to remember what happened when he left a certain gentleman close to his records. He would have been a wiser man to have got rid of him, as I did this chap Staples.

Motion (by Mr. Davidson) agreed to -

That progress be reported.

Mr Ward - Do not tell me, Mr. Attorney-General, that that is the best you can do. I would hate to have you defending me. No wonder the gaols are full.


Mr. Haylen.- Members on the other side are interjecting. Why do you not take action against them?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! I remind the honorable member for East Sydney that I am still in a position to take action if he abuses the privileges of this House.

Mr Haylen - What about that mob of hyenas on the other side?

The TEMPORARY C H AIRMAN . - Order! Such remarks from the honorable member for Parkes will be considered disorderly. Order! The honorable member for East Sydney continues to be disorderly. Under Standing Order No. 303 I suspend him. I will report to Mr. Speaker that I have suspended the honorable member.

Mr Ward - Some one says, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that you have to wait until Mr. Speaker returns to the chamber.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.No. The honorable member will leave the precincts of the House. (The honorable member for East Sydney thereupon withdrew from the chamber)-

Mr Haylen - When can we make a protest against this ruling? Will you quote your authority?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I am acting under the authority vested in the Chair.

Mr Haylen - Will you give members of the Opposition, for their information, your definition of Standing Order No. 303, and explain how you acted under that standing order and what the offence is, because we want to take action?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! You are out of order in disputing my ruling and I ask you to resume your seat.

Mr Haylen - I am not disputing your ruling.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! You will resume your seat.

Mr Haylen - I merely want to ask for an explanation. This is not a Hitler state. I want an explanation.


Order! Resume your seat.

Mr Haylen - I will wait until Mr. Speaker comes in. (Mr. Speaker having taken the chair) -


Mr. Speaker,I desire to report that the committee has made progress and asks for leave to sit again.

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