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Wednesday, 26 April 1972
Page: 1353

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) - I like to speak well of everybody but some people make it very hard for me to do so, and the remarks of Senator Wheeldon make it almost impossible. We have had a typical clowning performance from the honourable senator. Early in his speech he indicated that he did not like the organisation called Peace for Freedom because most of his policies and the policies of his Party are directed towards peace, or rather the absence of struggle, against communist subversion or aggression.

The only mild allegation in the whole of this scurrilous little journal to which I propose to advert is the sheer nonsense of the suggestion that Mr Kevin Cairns, the Minister for Housing, would actively connive at reducing the Liberal vote. One has only to state the proposition to see how absurd it is. The Minister holds the seat of Lilley. Lilley is a swinging seat. He is elected only some days after the vote is held. The result is never known on the Saturday night of the election. Lilley is one of the most doubtful seats in the Com- monwealth yet this nonsensical rag puts up the proposition that this man deliberately connived at risking his own seat. It is a ridiculous exercise in political brinkmanship, if I can use a word so beloved of our friends on the left. I spent a long time with Senator Justin O'Byrne at the United Nations in New York, and I had hoped that my long association with him and the tutelage he received from me would have given him more sense. I am sorry that he has fallen for the childish scribblings of National U'. One of the odd things about this whole proposition is that honourable senators opposite fail to see communist subversion where it exists; they fail to Observe a civil disorder; they encourage and incite riots, industrial disputes and disturbances, and they are completely unaffected. Contrast that with what Shakespear said:

Then i, and you. and all of us fell down, Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.

But they do not even look up. That is the sort of absurd nonsense which has brought the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) to the table this evening. In a slightly hyperbolic sense that is what has happened here. I admire Senator Murphy's tender solicitude for democracy. It does him credit. He is normally a kindly man. I am sure he is good to his immediate family. He is courteous to government senators and to people generally, and a man full of the milk of human kindness. One realises from the half-hearted and dispirited way in which he put up this nonsense this evening that he was reading from a brief in which he did not believe. Perhaps his motives this evening may have been a little less than praiseworthy. I have had a quick look at this 'National U' nonsense. I would not hang a dog on everything that I have read in it. J notice that one portion of the article was written, I think, by a man called Zerman who was lapping around Mr Whitlam in King's Hall like a puppy a few days ago. Of course, anyone is accused of being in the right wing if he wears a collar and a tie, or if he fails to pull the forelock to left wing subversion. Professor McAuley is a prime target for this sort of rubbish. He is the man who went on record as saying - he proved his point on a programme of the Australian Broadcasting Commission - that it is much easier to manipulate students than the Waterside Workers Federation. Of course, this made him a prime target. 1 do not think it is necessary for me to trace the sort of policies subscribed to by the students who felt it their national duty to produce this nonsense on ABC national television tonight and in their newspaper. They are largely Labor Party policies - support of draft resisters; opposition to national service; conniving at the breaking of the law; the destruction, as far as possible, of Australia's defence arrangements, and actually collecting money and sending it to the enemy in Haiphong. They are the sort of people who have put this rag together. Notice the people whom the Leader of the Opposition and other honourable senators attack. One is Geoffrey Fairbairn. Of course, they would attack him. He has torn their policy on Vietnam to ribbons time and again. Owen Harries is another. Of course, they would attack Harries. He has torn their policy to ribbons so often that it cannot be debated. Then we move to the smear on Kevin Cairns. I think this is contemptible, especially on the evidence which has been adduced. Being of a kindly disposition I would not suggest that the Leader of the Opposition was motivated by any thought of the Shortland pre-selection. 1 feel that perhaps he might have enlightened us in regard to that matter off his own bat. That is one of the matters which a person may feel is worthy of discussion or thought in this debate.

I listened with great care as the Leader of the Opposition listed the policies of this group. I do not. know its members. I know some of the men in it personally and I am proud to know them but I do not know their organisation. I do not know what they do. The suggestion that it is a secret organisation working for the destruction of democracy is so absurd that I feel that the Leader of the Opposition must have been joking. Most of the matters mentioned in the newspaper refer to defence, foreign policy, the influence of communist subversion in Australia, the Vietnam war - all matters which are good solid points of Liberal Party policy. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with the suggestion that the group should work against an ALP victory? I think it is the bounden duty of every sane elector in this country to work in the same way, and 1 am sure that at the end of the year that is what they will do.

This worry sits very oddly, as I have said, on the shoulders of my friend, Senator Murphy. He is worried about the attack on democracy in Australia. His party is committed to electing a draft resister, a draft dodger, in the electorate of Hotham in Victoria. In another place his leader - I use the word in a whimsical sense - says that draft dodging is no crime. In my own State, George Crawford and Bill Hartley, just fresh from his unlawful occupation at the La Trobe University - are still powerful influential men in the Victorian State Council of the Australian Labor Party. Their lamentable and deplorable resolution supporting the North Vietnamese aggression against our own 150 instructors who are still in Vietnam, our American allies whose naval, air and sea forces are involved, and our South Vietnamese allies alongside whom so many of our own men fought and lied, is only echoing what was said by Dr J. F. Cairns in another place in a speech on which Mr Whitlam congratulated him. Of course, when Mr Whitlam saw the political disaster that faced this resolution he had to try in some vague way to disown it. but no amount of white washing and no amount of hindsight will get away from the fact that the Party to which the Leader of the Opposition belongs is not interested in the defence of this nation. Being a man of few words, I simply say to Senator Murphy: Physician, heal thyself.

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Drake-Brockman.

Senator Cavanagh - Mr President--

The PRESIDENT - I recognise Senator Drake-Brockman.

Senator Cavanagh - But I was on my feet prior to the Minister.

The PRESIDENT - I give Senator Drake-Brockman the call. I thought that he was up first. I did not see you, Senator Cavanagh.

Senator Cavanagh - He was not.

The PRESIDENT - I am sorry, you are too late. I will not reverse my decision.

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