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Thursday, 23 March 1972
Page: 900

Senator WILLESEE (Western Australia) - I will take the lead from Senator Young and be brief, too. Recently, particularly this week, many questions have been asked and many innuendoes have been made about the meeting of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party that was held in Adelaide last week.

Senator Rae - Tell us what happened.

Senator WILLESEE - I have no intention of telling the honourable senator what happens within the confines of the Labor Party, just as he will not tell me what has happened in Tasmania and the South Australian Government senators will not tell me what has happened and what is happening in that State. I respect their views in that regard. I wish to say one or two things to help my young colleague. Let me say in passing that I regret very much that our young friend from South Australia, Senator Jessop, has come into this place and chosen to speak at the level at which he does. I like to see young members come here. I like to see them apply themselves to what is a grand opportunity to do something for Australia. But, when this young man gets into his muck-raking, I genuinely say to him that I feel very sorry and I make an appeal to him to lift himself out of that.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are you talking about Senator Greenwood?

Senator WILLESEE - I have appealed to Senator Greenwood. From time to time he listens to me, and from time to time, I am afraid, he does not. The Federal Executive meeting has been described as being an unusually quiet one. I do not know how honourable senators opposite know about it. I am one of the 2 members of this chamber who are members of the Federal Executive and I assure honourable senators opposite that it was not unusually quiet. It was par for the course and, for a Federal Executive meeting, that is not unusually quiet. The other thing honourable senators opposite keep saying is that we dodged this issue or that issue. Let me explain to them that the Federal Executive is not the policy making body of the Australian Labor Party.

Senator Webster - Who is?

Senator WILLESEE - The Federal Conference. I thought that even Senator Webster would know that. Let me make one correction: There are 4 members of this chamber who are members of the Federal Executive. I am sure that the other 3 will bear me out when I say that the meeting was not unusually quiet; it was par for the course - and those 2 statements are not incompatible with each other. The next point is that the agenda for our Federal

Executive meetings come from the constituent bodies of the Australian Labor Party. Senator Greenwood was counselling us to deal with things that he would put forward; but however important they might seem I must assure him, as well as Senators Young and Jessop and other people, that within the Australian Labor Party we do not deal with matters from outside the Party. If those honourable senators would like to join the Australian Labor Party and have matters put on the agenda we will deal with those matters.

Senator Rae - Tell us about Tasmania.

Senator WILLESEE - Be a little reasonable about this. The Liberal Party has problems in Tasmania and problems in South Australia and, brother, it has problems in Canberra. The Liberal Party will not have on its agendas matters coming from the Australian Labor Party or matters coming from outside the constituent bodies of the Party. When the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party meets about 4 times a year it deals with matters from constituent bodies of the Party. Whatever good advice we might receive or whatever matters others might like us to deal with, we will deal only with those things that come from the constituent bodies of our Party. If political parties want to go outside this method then God help party politics in Australia. Not one of our political parties - the Liberal Party, the

Labor Party or any other party - will allow itself to be run by propaganda, even on the eve of an election. The matters that we dealt with were things coming from our constituent bodies. It was not an unusually quiet meeting. In spite of my friend Senator Rae saying 'tell us what happened', I am not going to tell him what happened - it is not of his business. In the same way, it is none of my business what happens within the Liberal Party in Tasmania and none of by business what happens in the Liberal-Country League in South Australia. But it is my business when it comes to what is happening in the Liberal Party and Country Party in Canberra. I am looking forward to the verdict.

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