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Wednesday, 28 April 1971

Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - I must congratulate Senator James McClelland, who has just delivered his maiden speech, on the ability and eloquence with which he made his first appearance as a speaker in this chamber. Naturally, I do not agree, with his attitude to this Bill; but I must say that I last heard him speak nearly 20 years ago when, with ability and eloquence, he was defending individuals against interference with their rights by the Communist Party, and I am glad to see that he still has the ability and eloquence that he showed on that occasion.

This Bill is described as a public order Bill and a Bill for the protection of persons and property. Generally, people in both Houses are speaking of it as a law and order Bill. I believe that is a good name for it. However, I am somewhat surprised at the attitude towards the words Jaw and order which has been demonstrated in both Houses by speakers from the Australian Labor Party. One might almost come to the conclusion that they regard 'law and order' as dirty words. If that is so, I disagree with them. I think members of the community regard them as very important words.

Senator Wheeldonsuggested that we could take the result of a State election for Georges River in New South Wales as an indication of the people's attitude to this kind of measure. That election was won narrowly by the Australian Labor Parry, but it has been pointed out to me that in that same election the Democratic Labor Party very strongly fought the issue on the question of law and order and, although its vote was not large, it was double what it had been previously. I want to point out that in the Senate election which was held last year the Democratic Labor Party put law and order in the forefront of its policies and received the highest vote that it had ever received in its history. My Party is never afraid to fight an election upon the question of law and order and I challenge the Australian Labor Party to defend in an election the kind of action by demonstrators that has resulted in this kind of legislation being introduced.

Senator O'Byrne - Put in those arrows from China. That will fix them.

Senator McMANUS - That is a typical remark from the mountebank of the Senate. In his policy speech Senator Gair put the issues strongly. He said the big issues were those of responsibility in Government, responsibility in Opposition and responsibility in society. He said no-one could escape his parliamentary duty, no institution could avoid its obligation and that those entrusted with public duty must not allow rightful and legitimate authority to be destroyed - otherwise our society will collapse in anarchy. The Democratic Labor Party has put its case on this . question in these words:

We . . . affirm the right of Australian citizens to demonstrate, provided they obey the law.

We affirm the right of Australian citizens and organisations to protection of their persons, their property and their civil rights from interference by alleged demonstrators.

I should like to hear more on that issue from the Opposition. The Democratic Labor Party's case continues:

We affirm the obligation of Australian governments and other authorities, including universities, to fearlessly deal with unauthorised or illegal demonstrations or actions on the basis that all citizens are equally subject to the law.

I stress the words 'all citizens'. My Party will support the Bill, but we propose to deal with it from 2 points of view. I have been asked by my Party to demonstrate the need for this legislation. Senator Byrne will deal with the specific legal provisions and will examine whether those provisions are adequate or necessary in order to ensure that the law will be observed. On the first question whether it is necessary to have legislation such as this, there has been great play on the need for the right of assembly. Everybody concedes that, but what is needed today is protection of the rights of those in the community who are not demonstrating against those who are demonstrating.

Let us consider one case that has been mentioned, the attempt to move into the offices of the Department of Labour and National Service, to lie on the floor and to demonstrate inside those public offices. Citizens have the right to go to government offices on normal business and no demonstrator has the right to interfere with entry to those offices or the use' of those offices by the administrators of the Commonwealth or by people who desire to seek their services. I propose to refer to 2 particular instances in which I was concerned to show what is happening today. Some time ago the Young Labor Organisation in Victoria sought to hold a gathering at the Commonwealth Parliament Offices in Flinders Street. Melbourne, and it was acceded that right. On the night in question persons who were present in order to demonstrate their disapproval of the Democratic Labor Party tore the plaques with the names of myself and Senator Little from the doors of our offices and took them away from the building.

Senator Mulvihill - Souvenirs.

Senator McMANUS - Apparently some young people there had a better attitude than Senator Mulvihill has towards what was done. A couple of days later a representative of the Young Labor Organisation came to my office and expressed his deep regret. He' said that the action was unpardonable, that he regretted it and that his organisation was seeing that the signs involved were restored.

Senator Wheeldon - Fair enough.

Senator McMANUS - Yes, fair enough, but some people here would be prepared to defend those who took away the plaques. When the apology was tendered I told the young man that in the circumstances I would make no official complaint. However, a couple of weeks later leaders of the demonstrator organisation at the Melbourne University, determined to blood, if that is the term, or to try out the new crop of students who had come from the high schools where they had been trained by the Students for a Democratic Society went to the city and put on a demonstration. In the usual manner they held a meeting with the adult organisers associated with this kind of thing and prepared their plan of operations. The Press received full details so that the television cameras would be set up and the pressmen would be there. This was no sporadic demonstration.

On that day, having prepared everything, they came to the Commonwealth Parliament Offices. They burst into the offices and the young woman who has the duty of speaking to people who come to visit members there was in a sadly shocked state after the whole event. These people, apparently having a plan of what they were to do, went straight in and straight up the stairs to the first floor, along the passage to my office and burst into my office. I was not present. About 30 of them burst into my office and told my secretary that if she got in the corner and kept out of the way she would not be hurt.

Senator Wheeldon - Is this not covered by the existing law?

Senator McMANUS - I shall deal with that. Having ensconced themselves in my office they proceeded to examine my private papers. They used my telephone and they milled up and down. Senator Wheeldon thinks that this is funny because he knows that this will never happen to him as he is on their side. Having stayed there for some time they locked the door against the police and attendants who had come forward and eventually they made their way out of my office by climbing some scaffolding outside. The police were waiting for them and they were arrested. They claimed that they had legal advice that they had done nothing wrong.

Senator Mulvihill - What was the outcome of the court case?

Senator McMANUS - They were then charged at the City Court on 3 counts, the first of which was for coming into my office illegally.

Senator Keeffe - And using the telephone.

Senator McMANUS - We have just heard from the second mountebank of the Senate, the man who went to Townsville to save the north of Queensland for the

Labor Party and it has net won a seat in the area since he went there. The 3 charges laid were for wrongly entering my office; assaulting the police; and resisting arrest. Although these men had come into my office without permission, threatened my secretary, examined my private papers and taken possession of my office they were discharged.

Senator Wheeldon - That is covered by the law.

Senator McMANUS - If it is covered by the law, why were they found not guilty? My own opinion is - 1 think everybody knows it- that these people have been instructed by well known members of the legal fraternity and university lecturers who are skilled in the law on the actions that can be taken so that they do hot infringe the taw. lt is because these people have had skilled advice that they come to the courts time after time, and what happens? They are almost apologised to for having been brought there. On the occasion I have described the people charged were discharged on the count of coming to my office; they were discharged on the count of assaulting the police; and they were found guilty on the charge of resisting arrest. The penalty was such that if they would be good boys for 6 months nothing would ever happen to them.

Senator Mulvihill - Were they put on a bond?

Senator McMANUS - Yes. They were put on a bond to be of good behaviour for 6 months, which means that at the end of 6 months they can take over my office, kick the police in the shins as they did then and they can resist arrest. Yet there are people here who say that that is all right. I say to any young people listening to my speech - 20 or 30 of them - that if they are opposed to the ALP views on Vietnam, according to what happened in my office and according to the defence being made out by the ALP, they are entitled to enter the office of an ALP member, order his secretary to one side and read his private papers. It seems that they are entitled to do all of those things because, the Opposition members who are now interjecting say that it is all right and nothing should be done legally to stop it from happening.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! I ask that the senator be heard in silence.

Senator McMANUS - It is amazing to me that people will defend demonstrators. When attempts are made to control them, such people will say: 'Look, this is a police state'. Hitler ran a police state. Mao Tsetung is running a police state. Can honourable senators imagine what would happen if a number of students in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany or Red China entered the office of an administrator or a leader in the Government and performed as these people did? Is anyone here prepared to tell me that they would be discharged on 2 counts, found guilty oh 1 count and let off on a bond to be good boys for 6 months? Honourable senators know, what would happen. They would end up in a concentration camp and they would be there for years. That is a police state. People who talk about a police state in Australia demonstrate to the community their complete lack of responsibility. Any government has to stop such actions.

I demand that the Government protect the offices of members of Parliament. I demand that the Government take action to see that such acts are not permitted. I have a few words to say to people who tell us: 'We cannot do this. We have to protect the right of assembly.' Senator Little and 1 can remember the halycon days of the Victorian Trades Hall in 1945 when demonstrators, pleading the same right to demonstrate, burst into the Trades Hall carrying bludgeons, hammers and staves. They threatened to deal with delegates. They burst into the union offices. Did the Trades Hall authorities say on that occasion: Well, boys will be boys and we must protect their right of assembly. That is O.K.'? T will tell honourable senators what they did. For 6 years on Trades Hall Council meeting nights they closed the balcony of the Trades Hall and stationed uniformed policy on duty because they said it was the duty of the trade union movement to stop demonstrations from getting out of hand. What is the difference between that action and what the Government proposes to do?

Nowadays Mr Whitlam seems to be so often out of touch with other members of his Party, but I was pleased to read his defence of the right of diplomats in Australia to be protected from molestation. I thought it was a good thing and 1 agree with him that irrespective of whether a diplomat comes from Russia or Yugoslavia he ought to be protected.

Senator Mulvihill - Hear, hear.

Senator McMANUS - But we differ in that I think a diplomat who comes from South Africa ought to be protected but you do not.

Senator Wheeldon - What has happened to a diplomat from South Africa?

Senator McMANUS - I read with interest in the Press of a call by an ALP member of the other House on his colleagues to join with him "in a cavalcade of cars to the South' African Embassy where they were to sound their horns and create a public nuisance. That concerns diplomats from South Africa. 1 have also read about people waiting in cars outside the South African Embassy. When a diplomat from South Africa leaves the Embassy they follow him in a cavalcade of cars. We station policemen at considerable personal inconvenience night after night to protect the Soviet Embassy. I would like to hear members of the Australian Labor Party equally eloquent in saying that irrespective of whether they agree with the political views of a government, its representatives are entitled to courtesy and in Australia they will get it.

Senator Mulvihill - That is an endorsement of Whitlam's policy.

Senator McMANUS - If you disagree with the Whitlam policy that is your privilege. I would only comment that in your Party if you disagree with his policy you will have plenty of mates. I want now to refer to the case of an ambassador in Brisbane. Apparently at the request of some students he went along to address them. He was not only molested but also ill treated. I think it is time for the community to take a stand on this kind of action. In this connection I was interested to read that the well known cartoonist A1 Capp was invited to Princeton University, where demonstrations are favoured, to take part in a seminar for an honorarium of $800. He wrote back and said that his fee was $3,500, plus an extra $1,000 as combat pay to attend that kind of a university. Capp said that Princeton is dedicated to training sub humans. He went on:

When I believe schools get rid of presidents who do not know how to tame the animals they breed and when they are replaced as they must be by retired brigadier generals, when beasts no longer roam the university campuses but are locked in cages, then and not till then will any sane man accept an invitation from that type of university..

Senator Wheeldon - I rise to a point of order. I submit that under the terms of the Crimes Act Senator McManus is reflecting on an allied power; namely,' the United States of America. He is committing an offence under the Crimes Act and should be dealt with by the Chair.

Senator McMANUS - I was possibly misled by the lengthy and eloquent remarks of Senator Wheeldon when he attacked Vice-President Agnew of the United States of America.

Senator Hannan -I ask the honourable senator to read the remarks again. We missed some of them.

Senator McMANUS -I shall simply say again that he said: .

When I believe schools get rid of presidents who do not know how to tame the animals they breed and when they are replacedas they must be by retired brigadier generals, when beasts no longer roam the university campuses but are locked in cages, then and not till then will any sane man accept an invitation fromthat type of university.

Senator Hendrickson - Could the honourable senator read it again so that we will understand it?

Senator McMANUS - I have read the article twice. If it has not permeated, that is the honourable senator's fault. This is (he kind of Bill which ought to be examined from the point of view of the big public issues involved. I am surprised at the attitude of some people who launch into a tirade to the effect that Australia is a police state, that we are going to take away the right of assembly and all that kind of nonsense.

Senator Cavanagh - You have taken it away.

Senator McMANUS - I hope we will take away the right Of people to assemble in places where they have no authority to be, such as the honourable senator's office and my office. Senator lames McClelland made a good point when he said that, in some degree, this is a reaction, lt is a reaction to wrongful action and in any community when people act wrongfully the community will protect itself. The old Latin maxim salus populi est suprema lex' still holds good. Therefore I support this Bill. It is a Bill which would never have been introduced if it had not been for the activities of people who claim to have special privileges and the right to defy the law. I would like to hear whether the Australian Labor Party defends the right of people who have no authority to invade the rooms of honourable senators, take possession of them, use the facilities and read private papers. If it defends that kind of action then obviously this law is more necessary than ever,

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