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Wednesday, 13 March 1968


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker, after that character assassination I believe it to be my duty and my right to put the record straight once and for all. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) in his latest character assassination has accused me of misinforming the Australian public regarding my service overseas with Shell Tanker London. I would like to inform the honourable member - had he read my book he would have realised - that the last six months of the service I spent with the same international overseas tank ship company was with the Royal Navy Far East Fleet on a supply tanker for Royal Navy ships east of Singapore. Not at any stage have I ever said that I served with the Royal Navy or the Royal Australian Navy. Consequently the only thing that the honourable member has said tonight that happens to be true is the statement that the Royal Navy authorities in London could not find a record of my service - simply because there was no record of my service with the Royal Navy.

I think it important that we make a couple of points fairly clear and I do not want to get quite as emotional as the honourable member.; Indeed, 1 am flattered that a frontbench member of the Australian Labor Party should take it upon himself to criticise a backbench member of the Liberal Party of 15 months standing. I am only sorry that the Labor Party showing on television in South Australia is not quite as good as it could be. He accused me of being a common informer but I venture to suggest, with due deference to decorum and to the state of the House, that he should look to his own record in the Parliament and to his own history in the State of South Australia before he casts aspersions against another member of Parliament. The honourable member for Hindmarsh is well known in my State, as the next election will certainly reveal. In the time that I have available I would like to make some points that I consider pertinent, which concern the affairs of Private Kerry Seebohm, the national serviceman whom I reported on 2nd March during the South Australian elections.


Mr Devine - You are a top-off, are you?


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - If the honourable member likes to listen he will find that the facts are simply as follows: At 25 minutes to 11 on that Saturday morning some representatives of the Returned Services League in South Australia rang me to find out why the Army was handing out how to vote cards for the Australian Labor Party. Because this complaint was registered by two members of the Labor Party and others who rang I then, as a member of Parliament, sworn to uphold the law and order of this country, took it upon myself to investigate this complaint.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I would suggest that the House come to order. There are far too many interjections from both sides of the House for the dignity and decorum of this chamber. The honourable member who is endeavouring to answer some charges that have been made against him should, in Australian parlance, be given a fair go.


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I cast an arrow. It fell I know not where, but I know it stunned those that it hit. At 5 minutes to 111 arrived at the polling booth, saw that the complaint was justified, and then spoke with the soldier, Private Kerry Seebohm, and asked him whether he was aware that it was against military regulations to hand out how-to- vote cards and solicit support for a political party while dressed in military uniform. He said - and I have two witnesses who are prepared to come forward to testify to this - that he was aware that he was breaking military regulations and that he was doing it as a protest against the Australian Government's support for the Vietnam war. He made his case plain. I understood. I did not begrudge him his right to hand out how-to-vote cards. Nor did I deny him his right to hand out howtovote cards, but I did object to his wearing the Queen's uniform in so doing and in attempting to solicit votes on behalf of one party. I then did not order him but advised him to take off his uniform. I gave him 30 minutes to do so.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Hunter will restrain himself and the House will come to order.


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I heard the honourable member for Hindmarsh who is now interjecting. If he wants to hear the truth he should hear me because I was there and he was not. I gave the soldier 30 minutes to take off his uniform and cautioned him that I would report him to the authorities if he did not. lt seems to me that if a man is prepared to risk wearing an Army uniform in these circumstances he should take the responsibility for it. He broke Regulation 210a. He was not away from the polling booth within half an hour. He lived just around the corner and could have changed his clothes. I gave him ample warning and I then did what I considered to be my duty. I did it after giving him fair warning and I stand by it to this day because I know that what I did, whether it were pleasant, palatable or otherwise, at least was right.


Mr Hayden - The honourable member is a pimp.


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The reputation of the honourable member for Oxley is pretty well known in Queensland, too. I gave this soldier a fair warning. He knew that he was breaking Army regulations. What could I do? Mr Cameron charged me with being a pimp and informer but he was forced to retract this. I take it he does not have the courage to back up his remarks either inside this House or outside. I would like to ask Mr Cameron the following question. I will finish on this note. If Mr Cameron-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will refer to the honourable member for Hindmarsh in the correct fashion.


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Very well, sir. If the honourable member for Hindmarsh chooses to use innuendo and aspersions to belittle., berate, humiliate and condemn the character of a South Australian colleague, if he in fact chooses to stoop so low as to use the tactics that he did use when he had the floor of the House, that is his prerogative, but as one who has sworn to uphold the law and order of this country-


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What about the traffic offences?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will cease interjecting. He has already spoken.


Mr Andrew Jones (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - As one who is supposed to make the law of this country in all honesty, as an Australian, I ask this man how in fact can he condone the breaking of regulations? His honourable friend Senator Cavanagh appeared on television with me the other night but Senator Cavanagh did not do too well. I am sure that the honourable member for Hindmarsh will agree that this stings even more because he knows jolly well that what I did was right. I gave him fair warning. I had no alternative. Therefore, to hide behind the shield of innuendo, to cast an aspersion, as he has done, on my character, and to defame my name because he knows he will get support from the Press gallery, is most unfair. I wonder what the honourable member for Hindmarsh would have done had it been a Liberal handing out how-to-vote cards. Would the honourable member have given him half an hour's warning? No. His reputation and his history certainly do not suggest that he would have done so.

I did what I considered on the day to be my duty. I stand by it. I consider that I acted not only as a citizen of Australia but also as a member of the Parliament. What is more, the law has upheld me. The soldier was found guilty. I regret the incident. I am sorry it happened, but my conscience is clear. I can sleep at night because I know that whether the outcome was good, bad, happy or unhappy, what I did was right.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker,I have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Adelaide.


Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member wish to make a personal explanation?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I do. The honourable member claimed that I had told an untruth when I said that he had made the statement that he had served for three years in the Navy. Sir, I tipped that this would happen.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member is making a personal explanation. He cannot go on to debate the matter.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am not going to do that. 1 guessed that this might happen so I came along prepared. I wish now to present a statutory declaration signed by Mollie Veronica Byrne, member of Parliament, of 1123 Main North-East Road, Ridgehaven, in the State of South Australia, which I will table, lt states:

I do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I must direct the honourable member that he cannot table the document.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Then I will read it. I will need to read it to clear the name-


Mr SPEAKER - This is getting beyond the bounds of a personal explanation.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No, Sir. This man has accused me of telling an untruth and surely-


Mr SPEAKER - Order!- The honourable member will withdraw the remark that the honourable gentleman is telling untruths in relation to this matter.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I did not say that, Sir. I said that he had accused me of telling an untruth.


Mr SPEAKER - I am sorry; I misunderstood you.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Surely I must have an opportunity to clear my name.


Mr SPEAKER -If the honourable member proposes to make a personal explanation he cannot use up his time by continuing to debate the matter.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am not going to do so.


Mr SPEAKER -I ask the honourable member either to make a personal explanation or to resume his seat.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - This statutory declaration, which is signed by Mrs M. V. Byrne, M.P., states-


Mr Barnes - This is not a personal explanation.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -It is. She declares that she heard Andrew T. Jones say in front of Parliament House:

I was in the Navy for three years.

This is a statutory declaration that I will produce to the Press.







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