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Tuesday, 14 October 1975
Page: 2086

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) -On 4 October the Sydney Bulletin published an article from which I propose to read an extract. It stated that the honourable member for Lalor Dr Jim Cairns, was hobnobbing with the pro-Ustasha Croatian Liberation Movement. The article states:

Dr Jimand his wife were surprise and unexpected guests at a dinner dance on September 6 in St. Augustine's Hall, Yarraville, Melbourne.

The revellers were astonished, to say the least. There was the portrait of the Ustasha leader, Ante Pavelic, on the walland the Ustasha version of the Croatian flag.

The secretary, Joseph Cuk- who was once named by Lionel Murphy as one of the alleged leaders of the Croatian organisation plotting against Australian Labor leadersgreeted Dr and Mrs Cairns, and arranged for their entertainment.

The writer of this article, Mr David McNicoll, states:

I rang Jim Cairns to check the accuracy of the information about his appearance at the party. He confirmed it, and added: 'I told them that in my opinion, the Croatian community in Victoria had great human content, and that I wanted to help it in every decent way, particularly by Access Radio. 'I told them I wanted them to have every opportunity of genuine expression. I regarded them as warm, real people who wanted and deserved recognition. '

When I read this- I had been told of it previously- I was unable to believe it because although the opinions which the honourable member for Lalor has expressed were those which I think should be shared by me and other honourable members, they were not the opinions which the honourable member had expressed in this House and elsewhere. In order to check this matter I rang the secretary, Mr Cuk, in Melbourne. I checked from his own lips the fact that this had occurred. The dance was held. Dr Cairns, the honourable member for Lalor, and his wife appeared unexpectedly at it. There was some confusion but it was decided that they should be given every courtesy. They were greeted. The honourable member for Lalor (Dr Cairns), explained that he believed that the Croatian community had been traduced, that there had been a misunderstanding but that all would be sweetness and light between him and the Croatians.

This is almost incredible because it was Dr Cairns who led the pack of Australian Labor Party hounds which denounced the Croatian community. I have heard him and other members of the Australian Labor Party in this House denounce, for example, the former honourable member for Corio- your seat, Mr Speakerbecause it was said that he had appeared at a meeting where the Croatian flag and the portrait of a Croatian leader were displayed. This was said by the ALP group to be an appalling thing. The hounds led by the honourable member for Lalor, who had ex-Senator Murphy in the pack with him, savaged the Croatian people, accused them of every crime and really traduced them in every way. This was done for a political purpose, as is now shown, by somebody who did not believe what he was saying at the time. The important thing is that the honourable member for Lalor, Dr Cairns, has now shown that the whole of the Government's campaign against the Croatians in those days, led by him and Senator Murphy, was based on a he. They knew that what they were saying was untrue. They got up this scare against the Croatians. They traduced them in every possible way for the meanest and lousiest of political purposes. This is the measure of this Government. Those gentlemen were prepared to falsify facts. They were prepared to use what they described as intelligence reports- I do not believe they were intelligence reports at all - for the purpose of a campaign against the Croatian people.

They did not care that in the course of the campaign they were making life miserable for many people in Melbourne, Sydney and other places. They named people under the protection of the privileges of this House. I am sure that they knew that what they said was false because now the honourable member for Lalor, Dr Cairns, the leader of the pack, says that it was false, that the Croatian people have been maligned. Here we have the chief of the maligners now pretending penitence, crawling for votes and saying that all his previous protestations were false. He even greeted in a friendly way Mr Cuk who had been named by the Labor Party as one of the traitors and ringleaders in this so-called Croatian plot.

Mr Hurford - But the honourable member consorts with communists.

Mr WENTWORTH - It may be unimportant about the honourable member for Lalor. He is now a person of no importance. But it is important to realise that the Labor Party's campaigns are unscrupulous and based on lies. The Labor Party does not hesitate to attack people for a political purpose, and to ruin their personal lives if they can, knowing that what is said is false. I heard somebody on the other side of the chamber a moment ago use the word 'communists'. Of course, this is part of the situation. Everybody knows that while this was going on the communist Tribune was hurrah-ing for the Government. It was supporting the persecution of the Croatians. It was saying that these were abominable people. There was a complete parallel between the communist propaganda and what was said in those days by the honourable member for Lalor, Senator Murphy and other people on the Labor benches.

We now find that it is all phoney. We now know that from the first these people knew that it was phoney. Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps some of them did not know that it was phoney. Perhaps they were the victims of their leaders who co-operated with the communists in getting up this phoney scare against the Croatians. It was run by the Australian Labor Party and the Communist Party working in tandem. This is something that the House and the country will remember. I hope that every person of overseas origin who is now a voter and who finds a Labor Party member crawling to them for votes, as the honourable member for Lalor crawled on 6 September, will know that the Labor Party is phoney through and through on this issue.

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