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Wednesday, 21 October 1970

Mr FOSTER (Sturt) - I was hoping that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) would not leave the chamber because I was going to raise a matter which concerns him. I also want to say that I am delighted to see so many Ministers in the chamber during the adjournment debate tonight. I hoped that the Prime Minister would be in attendance last night when at least part of the estimates were being discussed because he has been conspicuous by his absence during most of the discussions. I raised a matter concerning his

Department and seeing he is in the chamber tonight, rather than dropping him a little note and waiting some weeks or months for a reply, I thought he might be good enough to stay and hear what I had to say. This matter refers to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation - the Commonwealth secret service - which is administered by his Department.

J said last night that officers of that organisation had called upon aged pensioners in South Australia and by their very presence had intimidated aged people, in particular the wife of a pensioner who was absent from his home at the time. They waited for some considerable time for the husband to return and finally left after warning his wife that she had best advise her husband to be careful what he had to say in future and not to write so many letters. Upon his return, the husband found his wife considerably upset. Having committed no great crime in his life, he could only deduce that the - I almost said wallopers', but perhaps I should not use that term - police had been there because on occasion he had found it necessary to direct letters to parliamentarians which, in the main, remained unanswered. From time to time he bad directed correspondence to Ministers andletters to editors which bad appeared in the columns of various newspapers from time to time. I would appreciate it if the Prime Minister would investigate these allegations.

On a previous occasion { related a similar event concerning yet another pensioner. That was some considerable time back, I understand. I feel that the situation is an untenable one - a word which the Prime Minister used a while ago when replying to what the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) had said in an earlier debate. The Prime Minister should investigate this type of activity by people who hide behind a cloak of secrecy. If the Commonwealth requires them for security reasons, they most certainly are being misplaced when they knock on the doors of aged pensioners who are not offending in any shape or form.

I shall take further advantage of the Prime Minister's presence in the House tonight. A matter was brought to his notice by way of a question. He replied to that question. It deals with twins being called up for national service. I have written lo the Minister for Labor and National Service (Mr Snedden) requesting exemption on compassionate grounds for the son of a widow who has 8 children, 5 of whom are attending school and the sixth is due to commence school next year. The young man who has been called up cut short his education on the sudden death of his father. He is working in a department store in Adelaide. The Minister replied that there is no provision for exemption on compassionate grounds, other than for the lad to appear before the court. 1 think this is yet another case of the stupidity and the non-thinking of the Government. 1 have yet another case to mention. It is of a deserted wife who has 3 sons, 2 of whom have served already in Vietnam. The third son is about to be called up. Once again the Minister for Labour and National Service said that there was no provision for exemption and that the young man could go to court. Surely this state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. I would appreciate it if the Prime Minister - as he assured a member in the House the day before yesterday, I think it was - would investigate this matter also.

I want to raise a matter concerning the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay). I notice that he is not present. In the chamber this afternoon, during the debate on the social services legislation, he mentioned certain matters about South Australia. He insisted that certain Labor members of the State House, because of the late shopping referendum held recently, ought to vote in the House of Assembly in South Australia in accordance with the manner in which the vote was cast in their electorate, which returned a 'yes' vote. 1 point out to the honourable member, who now strides somewhat slowly into the chamber, that if he thinks that ought to apply so far as the Labor-held areas are concerned he should tell Liberal members such as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr Millhouse, from Mitcham, Dr Tonkin who holds Bragg and Mrs Steele who holds Davenport to vote as their electorates voted on the day of the referendum. If he does he will find he is not on very good ground. I will mention another Liberal member - the man who won the seat of Hanson, Mr Becker. That is what the honourable member should do, instead of coming into this chamber and making the statements that he makes.

Mr Gorton - Is it all right if I go now?

Mr FOSTER - The Prime Minister has not been in the chamber very long while the Estimates have been debated, so he might as well go. But before he goes, I have another matter to raise. During the course of his reply to the honourable member for Newcastle, the Prime Minister stated that there was a certain ban on radio and television programmes prior to an election being held in the Commonwealth or in one of the States. But it should not have applied on this occasion. It applied on one occasion to my good friend and colleague, the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), when he was completely banned from the 'Big Country' show because an election was being held in Victoria. I am sure that the honourable member for Riverina on that occasion did not intend to campaign in the State elections in Victoria.

Mr Charles Jones - He would not have been political.

Mr FOSTER - That is right, he would not have been political. Let me come back to the honourable member for Boothby.

Mr Grassby - He is in the House now.

Mr FOSTER - I know he is. I implore him to pay attention to those people in his electorate who, I understand, have visited his office from time to time, have written letters to him from time to time and are disgusted because he will not pay attention to their needs as far as social welfare is concerned. Of course, I am copping the work from his electorate. I cannot knock them back. Having come up through the university of hardship, they have problems and they ought to be listened to by somebody. If the honourable member wants to repent to the electorate and wants the file from my office concerning people from his electorate-

Mr Hurford - And mine.

Mr FOSTER -. . . and from the electorate of Adelaide, he can most certainly have it, provided he gives me a personal assurance that he will do all he possibly can on their behalf. I tell the honourable member that he would have to get on his knees to do it because he is certainly passing them over at the moment. I end on this note: If the honourable member, along with the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) who should never have left the South Australian Legislative Council - I believe that he often thinks he is still therecontinues to blab about State matters and closed shop agreements, he should look at some of the closed shop agreements in the shipping service.

Mr Charles Jones - What about the closed shop in the Adelaide Club?

Mr FOSTER - He had a carpet put down and took unfair advantage of his position when he was in the Unley City Council. He talked about local government during the social services debate this afternoon. He had a carpet put down. The carpet supplier was well paid for it. He took unfair advantage of his position whilst he was on the Unley City Council. I suppose he does not like to hear that sort of thing, but it is a fact. The honourable member criticises so often and so frequently the trade union movement - he may not have got the message a couple of weeks ago - but it is about time he withdrew the television advertisement on behalf of his firm in Adelaide. He used the trade union movement to make that film at the cost of the poor old ship owners, not that I hold any brief for them.

I conclude by saying that if the honourable member for Boothby wants that file from my office - it is getting a bit hefty - he can come and get it if he gives me an assurance that he will work on behalf of his electors instead of dragging stupid flags into this place and making an idiot of himself. I do not want to send him a telegram to come and get it.

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