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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr FOSTER (Sturt) - I was hopeful that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) would be in the chamber to hear me speak tonight in the adjournment debate, because I wish to deal with a question that has been raised tonight, in a rather fictitious fashion, by 2 Government supporters.

Mr McLeay - Why do you-

Mr FOSTER - I will deal with the honourable member for Boothby in a minute. I will deal with him first.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - I suggest that the House come to order, or the Chair will deal with somebody in a moment.

Mr FOSTER - The honourable member for Boothby-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honourable member for Sturt will control himself. I suggest that both sides of the chamber come to order.

Mr FOSTER - 1 inquired of the Minister for Labour and National Service whether the National Service Act contains any provision for exemption on compassionate grounds of members of the community called up for national service. He told me that there was no such provision. On my return to South Australia I sent the Minister a telegram in regard to this matter. He replied by telegram, which 1 now have much pleasure in reading. It states:

There is no provision whereby exemption from callup may be granted in the circumstances you have outlined.

I will now explain the circumstances 1 outlined. They relate to a widow with 8 children whose husband died suddenly about 12 months ago. Her 19-year-old lad was about to matriculate, but abandoned his education to serve as a counter jumper in a departmental store in Adelaide in order to supplement the family income. A second member of the family similarly cut short her education. Five children of the family are attending school and another child is due to commence in the coming school year. This Government has been so neglectful of the problems of the community that, it has made no provision whatsoever for a lad to be exempted on compassionate grounds.

I turn now to another case, lt concerns a woman with 3 sons, 2 of whom have already served a 2-year stint in Vietnam. A minister of religion and a doctor have said that if her third son has also to serve it will most certainly be extremely detrimental to her health and could mean the loss of her life. Once again there was no ground on which this lad could opt out of service. The Minister will say that this lad must go to the courts with an overbearing attitude. I will have more to say about this matter in the House unless the Minister, on behalf of the Government, is prepared to look squarely in the face some of these human problems which confront the electorate.

I invite any honourable member in this chamber tonight to put himself in the position I was in, in my 10 feet by 12 feet office with this widow who was asking me for advice on this matter. Was I to stand there, look out the window and say: 'Look, you will comply with what the Government says'. I suppose that I should have turned to the lad, from the point of view of this Government, and said: Look here, son; the penalties of the Crimes Act will be inflicted upon you unless you leave this office with the full knowledge that you will serve your time in Vietnam or anywhere else because a neglectful Government says this to you and this is what you must do'. That is as much as I will say on the matter at this time.

Let me deal now with the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) and the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles). An honourable member who is interjecting was sitting in the chamber a while ago eating a chocolate which was made by trade unionists, carted by trade unionists, sold by a trade unionist and apparently consumed by a renegade. 1 wish to say this to the honourable member for Angas: What does the Chamber of Manufactures do in South Australia if in fact a small manufacturer wishes to commence business there and he does not join that chamber? Supplies of raw materials such as steel and carpentry requirements are chopped ofl' completely from him. ls this not so? The profit of the chamber each year is $2m and for that they produce nothing and do nothing. They are a burden on the community. You support them. You whispered to your mate, the honourable member for Deakin, on this matter thi1 morning when you were sat down, and properly so, by Mr Speaker. Let me inform you that you have your values completely mixed up in regard to this question. You have the hide to stand here and try to-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! I call the honourable member for Stuart to order. I remind him that he must address the Chair and not direct remarks to a member of the House.

Mr FOSTER - 1 thank you for directing my attention to that fact, Mr Deputy Speaker. The fact is that they have their values hopelessly mixed up and muddled. Here we have 2 men who purport to be responsible people and whom I would describe by saying that truculence is a characteristic of small people. They stand in this chamber and say that a kid who is told by an employer that he must join a union or else, must be considered to have a conscientious belief. These honourable members opposite say that we on this side of the House ought to support that young person. They say that we have not SUP:ported him. They try to draw a comparison and to say that if we are fair dinkum we on this side of the House ought to be taking a different attitude from the one that we take concerning conscientious objection on the part of those whom this Government wishes to send to be slaughtered with resultant sorrow to widows and mothers. Our troops ought not to be in Vietnam. Nor in my belief was there ever any defence strategy with respect to Vietnam. Anyone on the Government side who still continues to believe that there i* a need for us to be in Vietnam is somewhat foolish. He is not looking at the realities and he is not reading the signs around him in this country today and in the Asiatic region generally. I also wish to talk about-

Mr Grassby - The honourable member for Boothby.

Mr FOSTER - Yes, the honourable member for Boothby. Where is he? He has left the chamber. Here is a man in business in South Australia whose firm has had no compunction in going to the waterfront and causing stevedoring operations to cease whilst it uses a ship, that ship's gear and its cargo, that does not belong to it and is not imported for it, for the purpose of making television advertisements. Yet the honourable member stands in this chamber and speaks against trade unions. He is always talking about Communists and labels the particular trade union that he used as a Communist dominated organisation. But when it suits his business purposes, the honourable member for Boothby permits the trade union to be used. That advertisement is still played on television in Adelaide under his firm's name. So much for their hypocrisy. It is sickening, is it not?

Mr Giles - Tell us about compulsory trade unionism.

Mr FOSTER - As far as compulsory trade unionism is concerned, there is Government legislation on the books in this House which in fact says that in some industries if a person is not a member of an appropriate trade union that person does not work. It followed the Hursey judgment. Do Government supporters remember, or have they short memories? There is Government legislation. The honourable member may ask his colleague, the Minister tor Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden), who is not in the House at the moment. If the Minister knows enough about his Department, I am sure that he will confirm what I have said.

General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd has a closed shop agreement. Myers in Melbourne, I believe, has a closed shop agreement. Many such firms have. Is there anything wrong with that? A closed shop agreement operates in the medical fraternity. The honourable member for Deakin, I understand, is in a professional organisation. If he was not in it, he probably could not practice his profession. He has no compunction about that. Let him get up and test the principles of conscientious objection with his own organisation and within the realms in which he may move from time to time. The Government talks about loyalties and the question of conscience. What did the Government do to a former member of this House who dared stand in this House and seek an inquiry on a matter in which he thought justice had to be done. On his own conscience, mark you, he demanded that the Government make another inquiry into the 'Voyager' incident. What did the Government do to Mr St John. Where were the Liberal Party's fine, upstanding principles on individual rights on that occasion? They floated completely out of their convenient minds or their minds of convenience - put it which way you like.

I inform members of the Liberal Party that it is no good their coming into this House after crawling around the corridors all day thinking how they can get these matters before the House on the motion for its adjournment, believing that their alley is good and that their halos above their heads are such that they have nothing to fear, when their own house is not in order. So far as the matter in South Australia is concerned, Mr Corcoran, the Deputy Premier of South Australia, who was mentioned by the honourable member for Deakin did not, I am quite certain, put the matter in the terms in which it was put in this place tonight. He did not do this at all. Nor did the Minister referred to by the honourable member for Deakin put the matter in the exact terms in which the honourable member for Angus put it in this Chamber tonight.

I draw the attention of the House to the fact that the people who sit on the Government side have done nothing but use subterfuges for about 20 years to hoodwink the electors. They do not hoodwink the Opposition. That is most certain. If they want to continue in this vein and if they want to accept a challenge in this respect, as far as I personally am concerned in this matter or any matter, I will be only too happy to accommodate them.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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