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Wednesday, 28 February 1973
Page: 97

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Chair is not aware of who went to Garden Island; it is a matter for the person involved to make a personal explanation when the Minister has concluded his speech.

Mr HAYDEN - It is unfortunate that the honourable member for Mackellar sees everything through a distorting prism which throws his whole perspective out of balance on any subject that he handles, be it in relation to the freedoms in this society, the Labor Party, trade unions and, frankly, in relation to any organisation or body of people or individual who might happen to think independently. It is strange tonight to find the honourable member for Mackellar referring to newspapers as though he was using an authoritative source. If it is fair enough for the honourable member for Mackellar to refer to newspaper articles, I am sure he will not mind me referring to today's 'Daily Telegraph' as being equally as authoritative in this instance. Given the way in which he quoted newspaper statements a few minutes ago, I dare say he will be prepared to endorse these statements. This article is headed: *Lies Defeated the Liberals'. It reads:

The former Liberal Party Government had been relegated to the scrap heap because it had lied to the people and Parliament, a former Federal Liberal MP said yesterday. "They refused to come clean or, in plain language, tell the truth', the former MP, Mr Edward St John, said.

They lied and lied and lied', he said.

We have no doubt that there is a great deal of truth in that statement after what has happened tonight. The article continued:

Ministers were among the worst offenders.'

That reinforces what I just said. It states further:

They thought they were impregnable - a government by divine right.'

A monolith that could not be toppled. "They degraded and treated with utter contempt the Parliament of which they were the elected custodians.'

And so the article goes on. If the honourable member for Mackellar feels that the statements that he quoted from newspaper articles a few minutes ago are authoritative in relation to those matters, he must confess that the statements in this article are equally authoritative. It is unfortunate that the honourable member for Mackellar has this distorting aspect to his vision of matters in this area. But he is reflecting in an extreme state the sorts of attitudes which dominate the behaviour of previous governments for the past 23 years. This is a sort of neurotic, obsessive and paranoidal predisposition to some type of concept of security which led them to brand everything as requiring top security. The statement made tonight by the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) completely exposed how insupportable this approach had been for many years in the past. He detailed how bases in the central part of Australia could not justify the extreme status to which they had been elevated in security classification to the point where it seems - one clearly interprets this from the statement of the Minister for Defence - that the current Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) had not been aware of the basis on which these bases operated and had to wait until this Government was appointed before he could receive his first briefing on their purposes.

The only thing I say in conclusion, is that there is no card-carrying member of the Communist Party on this side of the House, on the staff of any Minister or any member on this side of the House. But there has been some strong evidence documented in various articles, and never satisfactorily rebutted in this place in the course of the last Parliament, that some members in the new Opposition who were members of the then Government, and who even were Ministers, who if not card-carrying members of that extreme right wing organisation, the Australian League of Rights, certainly gave succour and support to that organisation and made no apologies about it.

Mr WENTWORTH(Mackellar)- Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WENTWORTH - Yes. The Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden) said certain things about myself and Garden Island. They were utterly and completely without foundation - utterly untrue - and I am entitled to an apology from him. There was no set incident which occurred in regard to me although I believe that some such incident did occur in regard to the former member for Macarthur. But I had no part in it at all. I knew nothing about it. It is an utter and complete fabrication and I ask for an unreserved apology. I think I am entitled to it.

Secondly, I did not say in my speech that all members of a Minister's staff had access to confidential documents. I said that some members must have access to them and that a Minister did not always with his own hand put confidential documents into the safe. At no time did I say that all members of a Minister's staff had access to confidential documents, I think I am entitled to an apology and I think, Mr Speaker, that you should ask for an apology and a withdrawal. I think I am entitled to it.

Mr Uren - I rise to order.

Mr WENTWORTH - if that is your idea of justice-

Mr Uren - This is a personal explanation, not a speech? If the honourable member makes a personal explanation-

Mr SPEAKER -I am quite prepared to listen to the honourable member for Mackellar because he said it was a personal explanation and mentioned 2 distinct points. I call the. honourable member for Mackellar.

Mr WENTWORTH - I want an apology.

Mr Hayden - Unfortunately I have known the honourable member for Mackellar for such a long time that I prefer to check the statements before I am prepared to apologise.

Mr WENTWORTH - That was an offensive statement. The man is not only purveying untruths, he is also apparently unrepentent

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