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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr GILES (Angas) (12:52 PM) - In the brief time at my disposal 1 wish, first of all, for about 2 minutes, to try to answer the contentions - I think that is as high as I can put them - of the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby). The best way I can do this is lo say, firstly, that I was not invited to the rally - I presume, possibly, because he organised it; secondly, that if he did organise it he is not a very good organiser; and, thirdly, that I spoke to Mr Hudson, who is the norminal organiser, the night before. Of course, he lives a long way out and quite plainly he was relying on people who live closer in to do a lot of the organising. The point I want to make is that the large South Australian delegation of 3 - not 2, as is commonly supposed - came over the night before. I read their remarks from the Adelaide Advertiser. They said that they came to Canberra the night before to 'sniff the political breeze'. The honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) is interjecting. I do not think they sniffed him, so he should not get excited. They continued:

We came here with an open mind, but after careful consideration we came to the conclusion at 9 o'clock this morning that the rally was not for us.

That was a Press statement. It was put in moderate language.

Mr Grassby - It was put in your language.

Mr GILES - It was put in moderate language. I know very well the language that they use when talking to me. Perhaps it would not have done the Adelaide 'Advertiser' much credit if it had publicised that. This is what happened to a rally that was organised as a political stunt. It is of no use for the honourable member for Riverina to stand up and say, with his hand over his heart: 'I went out and stood with these sincere farmers'. They probably are sincere. But if the honourable member for Riverina had anything to do with the organisation of the rally, one can depend on its having had a certain amount of hokey-pokey about it. That was the attitude of the South Australian members.

Mr Foster - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. Why does not the honourable member for Angas resume his seat? My point of order is that this man, when on his feet in a debate this afternoon, referred to me as a scab on my mates.

Mr Giles - It was not a debate.

Mr Foster - It does not matter. You made the statement in this House.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.

Mr Foster - When can I take a point of order?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. The honourable member for Angas also will resume his seat. The reference by the honourable member for Sturt to a matter in an earlier debate in this House has no relevance at the present stage. So there is no substance in the point of order.

Mr Foster - Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise another point of order. Would you be good enough to inform me of what rights I have to raise the matter of the scurrilous attack that was made on me this afternoon or this evening in this House? Surely I have some rights here as a member.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. If he has been misrepresented there is a time and place in the proceedings of the House for him to raise the matter. The honourable member for Sturt has no right at this moment to interrupt another honourable member who is speaking and to refer to something that happened earlier this evening.

Mr Foster - The point of order I raise -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.

Mr Foster - This is the matter on which you have just spoken. 1 respect your ruling, but why did it not apply to the honourable member for Angas earlier this evening?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order!. The honourable member for Sturt cannot refer to what happened earlier this evening.

Mr GILES - I hope that the Opposition will not get too fearful and continue to take points of order because if it does I will take the view that it is frightened of hearing what I am about to say. The point I got up to make tonight arises from a question that was disallowed, with respect, by the Chair at question time. The question was aimed at dealing with the complete inconsistency on the part of the Labor Party which, on the ohe hand, takes a great interest in the matter of conscientious objection in relation to national service and, on the other hand, in one State anyway, shows a complete disregard for the private liberties of an individual. May I just prove the point?

Today in the South Australian Parliament a censure motion was moved against the Minister of Roads and Transport for taking action to force compulsory unionism in South Australia. An amendment was moved by, I think, the Premier, or by someone in the Government, saying that ;n the opinion of the House support should be given to the Government's policy of employment preference to unionists. We have had preference to unionists in South Australia and everywhere else for a long time, and I for one am open minded enough on this question to say that T think there is some merit in that stand. But this is not what has occurred in the last week in South Australia. The Minister of Roads and Transport. Mr G. T. Virgo, has given 2 directions which are today public knowledge. It is no use people saying that they are incorrect. They are in public view in South Australia at this point of time for people to look at.

The first was a letter to his own Department, the Highways Department, saying that in order to avoid the difficulties of employing non-unionists and in order to avoid the difficulty of direct contact in each instance with people who may or may not be unionists, he would like to arrange to appoint a liaison officer - and I notice that the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia referred to this officer as a political commissar, with some merit, 1 thought - whom unionists can contact should difficulties arise. He was dealing in this letter with workers on the job and also with those applying for a job. However, that is not so important as the next sentence. The next sentence is literally, I think, correct, lt is: lt is my intention that such an officer would contact the employee concerned and offer him' the necessary motivation lo join the union by way of ultimatum.

Taking into account that it is ungrammatical - and there is the double use of a word with the second one slightly more onerous in its emphasis than the first - this is a matter to which one can justly object. The letter is signed by 'GTV, Minister of Roads and Transport'.

I will not worry the House tonight with the second letter, which is also public property. But this was the key to the problem involved. The principle of obligatory unionism contrasts strongly with the principle enunciated by the Federal Opposition Leader (Mr Whitlam) when recently he counselled national servicemen to refuse to serve in Vietnam. He said that a young man should obey the Jaw only as far and as long as his conscience allowed. The analogy between compulsory unionism and compulsory military service is close. The principle involved is the same in each. In the unions membership is not only to be mandatory, but once a man is enrolled he is to be tied to union decisions. He will not be able to elect not to join a strike to which he objects. He will not be be able to opt out of a strike, for instance, as a national serviceman may opt out of service in Vietnam. It is a sheer lack of consistency, lt is the hypocrisy of members ot a part}' who have their policy dictated to them by people not elected by the Australian people that makes a farce of this situation. It is farcical for honourable members opposite to act as minions obeying the dictates of people who are not elected. They are slaves to their own system. They have no sincerity and no possibility of saying in this House the things they really believe. What happens to individual liberties under a system like that, which has no provision at all for individual liberties?

Mr Hurford - Where do you stand?

Mr GILES - I stand for individual liberties in one degree or another.

Mr Hurford - What about Charles Martin?

Mr GILES - The honourable member can say what he likes. I believe that national interests have to be taken into account. The sheer inconsistency of the policy of honourable members opposite should be made plain to the people of Australia. In the name of morality they do not have the right to go around Australia saying that they are the upholders of the rights of individuals in this country. Their own actions prove that to be incorrect and insincere.

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