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Thursday, 8 March 1973
Page: 416

Mr WENTWORTH - Mr Whitlam.It continued:

I have already given an unreserved apology in writing to the Executive for the personal reference I made.

I am glad a Special Federal Conference has been called. I now undertake to work within the framework of the party and to accept the decisions of its properly constituted authorities.

This letter represents my attitude,

The Prime Minister confirmed on 28th February, only a few days ago, in this House that his attitude was still the same. The following motion was moved at the Conference:

That the letter be received, and, in view of the undertaking given by Mr Whitlam- in the letter dated 26th March that he will now work within the framework of the Party and accept the decisions of its properly constituted authorities, the Conference reprimanded Mr Whitlam for his admitted breach of the rules as contained in the findings of the Federal Executive at its meeting held on 2nd March 1966 and following days.

The report continues:

W.   Brown asked Mr Whitlam:

Does your letter to (his Conference amount to a full and unreserved acceptance of the authority and decisions of the Federal Conference and the Federal Executive, and do you admit that you were completely in error in bringing into question, in a manner not provided for in the rules, the decisions of these Federal authorities?

Mr Whitlamreplied: 'I have nothing to add.'

This is confirmation of the attitude which has been adopted throughout by the Prime Minister. He accepts unreservedly the authority of the other bodies and he will carry out, he says, their instructions. They are the government of Australia, not this Parliament and not the Cabinet. While they can find supporters on the other side of this chamber in sufficient numbers they do what they want. They command. They issue the orders and the policy for Australia, the veering to the Left, is what they command. I think it is clear that the Prime Minister will not stand up under pressure. He has a reputation for not standing up under pressure from the Left. Does he think of Mr Harradine, his friend, and how he abandoned and betrayed him? Does he perhaps have the grace to blush a little when he considers this matter? Perhaps he will brazen it out. And what about the Victorian affair when his leadership was under challenge and he tried to get the moderates and the Right wing to support him and then abandoned and betrayed them. It is a dangerous thing to be a friend of the Prime Minister. I would like to read a newspaper report of something which Mr Courtnay, the late honourable member for Darebin, who lost his pre-selection, had to say. The article stated:

Mr FrankCourtnay, the retiring MHR, today produced letters to support his attack on unionists and Labor Party members.

Mr Courtnayclaims he lost preselection because he refused to stab Mr Gough Whitlam in the back.

Mr Courtnayclaims he was directed by the Darebin campaign council committee to vote for Dr Jim Cairns against Mr Whitlam when the Labor leadership was at stake in April last year.

He said the resolution came from a meeting that was illegal under Party rules.

He alleges, and J think there is some substance in his allegation, that he lost his preselection because he supported the present Prime Minister against the present Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns). It is a dangerous thing to be the friend of the Prime Minister, because when the pressure comes on from the Left hie gives way to the Left.

Looking at the pledges he gave to the metal unions on only 2nd June last - given to Communists and to left wingers - I see them being translated into legislation or foreshadowed in the Governor-General's Speech. The Conference of the Party - this almighty government of Australia - will assemble, I believe, in Surfers Paradise in July or August of this year. It was thought that the moderates - the right wing - might have the balance of that Conference. But perhaps the House has not paid sufficient regard to what happened in Tasmania 2 or 3 days ago when the socialist Left exerted its power and the Tasmanian delegates to that Conference are now split 3 - 3, right and left. Because of this it is likely that the Tasmanian delegation will be either neutralised or will throw its lot in with the Left, and this may be sufficient to give to the left wing control of that Conference and control therefore of the Prime Minister and control of the Government of this country.

What I am saying sounds almost incredible. Yet, these things are true. These are facts; they are indisputable. They arc here in the text if only people would read them, if only people would understand what they did on 2nd December and realise whom they put into power. People thought they were voting perhaps for the members that they were electing. But actually they were voting to give power to a Labor Conference and to a Labor Executive. Again I say that what has been happening recently in Tasmania may well throw the balance of power in that Conference on the side of the Left.

The House knows well enough that in Victoria the so-called purge of the Left in the Australian Labor Party machine was a pure sham. Hartley is back; Crawford is there; and the Left is still in control- the corrupt Left which controls the Australian Labor Party machine in Victoria. This has happened, yet people will not look at the signs, and they will not see behind this the reason why, slowly, Australia is being taken to the left and our foreign policy is taking us into the communist orbit to the personal peril of all Australians. You cannot rely on a communist friend; why, his friends cannot even rely on the Prime Minister.

As I have said, there are 2 people concerned. I have already mentioned the Prime Minister. The other person, of course, is the Deputy Prime Minister. I think I should mention that in 1967 the Deputy Prime Minister went to South East Asia and came back with the true story, which was printed in a paper under his own name, that North Vietnam was responsible for massive aggression against South Vietnam. What he said has been published in his name. But once the pressure came on - and, of course, one does not expect a great deal of strength of character from the Deputy Prime Minister - he retreated. There is nobody more vehement now in denouncing those whom he knows are due for support.

What will happen next? We cannot tell. The Prime Minister has forecast that the Labor Conference will not put any great demands on him or call for any great changes. He may well be right, because even though the Left may be in control it may not think it expedient at this time to exert that control. It is very useful to the Left to have a weak front man, because the Australian people would never vote for the extreme Left. They voted for a weak front man, not realising what they were doing. Because of this it may well be that the Left will not at present exert its full strength. Maybe it will be content with the continuation of the present program, the present slow drift to the left, the present slow but quite significant involvement of Australia in the communist orbit. We are abandoning our friends; we are insulting our friends. The new friends we think we may get cannot be trusted. The safety and the survival of Australia can be prejudiced. Mr Prime Minister, I say that you have no mandate for what you and your Government are doing.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!Before calling the honourable member for Cook I remind the House that this is the honourable member's maiden speech and I expect the usual courtesies to be extended to him.

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