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Monday, 12 November 1973
Page: 3131


Mr WENTWORTH - I think it will be interesting for the readers of Hansard to know just how far the Minister has gone in his sympathies with the building workers, and in expressing those sympathies in a television interview. It is interesting also to note that the Minister said in the interview, and he said in the House a moment ago, that he was concerned only with getting government projects going. That is strange, is it not? When government projects were held up - for example the Mail Exchange at South Sydney - by building union extremists, the Minister did nothing. Indeed, if I may quote from the transcript of the interview on This Day Tonight' with Mr Richard Carlton the Minister said: 'It is only the lockouts which are disrupting the Government building program in Sydney'. The Minister knows perfectly well that that is not true. He knows how the building workers walked off the South Sydney project while the cement was still wet and half poured. Of course the Minister knows it, and he did nothing about it. This double standard, to which the interviewer on "This Day Tonight' drew attention, is evident in the actions of the Minister and in the actions of the Government on the industrial front.

Not only the Minister for Housing is involved. I think, Mr Deputy Chairman, you would properly call me to order if I mentioned what other Ministers were doing on this same plan. I make passing reference to the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) and to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) who have been cooperating in this plan to incite the strikers to defy authority. I am not trying to condemn the building labourers and workers themselves. 1 am talking of their leaders who are misleading them and who are not really endeavouring to obtain good conditions for them.

What their leaders are doing is trying to bring about what they call a revolutionary situation. We have already had a minor revolutionary situation. They succeeded in doing this. This is a rehearsal for revolution. They think that perhaps it will take them 6 years, 7 years or 8 years to foment these incidents so that each one leads to something more significant and more important. But all the time they can only go ahead because they have the sympathy of Ministers here in Canberra.

The Minister for Housing, who is at the table, should know very well what the Communists are up to. Before he was elected to this chamber he was a paid official of a communist union which was run by Jackie Hughes. I do not know how close to Jackie Hughes he was. Perhaps he will tell us. But because of his association with activities in those days he must be perfectly well aware of what the Communists are up to. That being so, why does he co-operate with them now? People who are duped in this manner can be excused. They do not know what the left wing is up to. There are plenty of people of good intention who co-operate without knowing what it is all about. But one cannot expect a Minister of the Crown to be as innocent as that. One certainly cannot expect a person who, in his past, has been associated with this kind of organisation and disruption to be as innocent as that. I am not trying to denigrate the Minister' e past. I am simply saying that, because he has had that kind of past, he must know what is being done now with respect to these so-called green bans.

There is nothing so treacherous as a badintentioned person with a good cause. Some of these causes were initially good. But they were not adopted by the Communists for any good purpose. They were adopted in order to suck in innocent people. For example, I know plenty of socialites in Sydney who have been sucked in. They have not realised what they were being used for. But surely that kind of excuse cannot be applied in respect of Ministers in Canberra. They must know what it is all about. When they make statements such as the Press statement which was issued by the Minister for Housing on 7 November, or even the passage that I have quoted from Hansard or, equally, the interview on 'This Day Tonight', surely they know what it is all about. The same kind of excuse cannot be given for these Ministers as one would afford other people who have not had experience in this type of game. I do not wish to overstress this matter.


Mr Bryant - No, do not do that.


Mr WENTWORTH - I do not wish to overstress it. I do not wish to make out that the plans for revolution have gone any further than in point of fact they have. I think that the common sense of the Australian people will assert itself and that even the workers in the building industry will see that the union leaders have been misleading them and organising them to operate against their own real interests.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Drury) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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