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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1884

Senator GEORGES (Queensland) - I must rise to the defence of honourable senators on this side who remind us of the Alexander Barton scandal which has been a running sore in the securities market for a number of years. It was responsible, honourable senators will recall, for the appointment of the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange. To me it seems to be highly relevant to bring forth and to determine here the accusation that the New South Wales

Government has been neglectful in carrying out its duties and in carrying out an investigation of this group of companies whose record was available. The knowledge of their misdemeanours was widespread and it was referred to in this Parliament and in this Senate on a number of occasions. I even at one stage referred to Alexander Barton as the greatest financial spiv that this country has ever seen. It was common knowledge that the companies floated by this person and his associates had taken people for a ride to the extent of $ 18m. It is not just recently that this knowledge was made available.

Senator McManus - It is worse than the turtles.

Senator GEORGES - It is considerably worse than the turtles but the underlying principle may be the same. It was known to the authorities in New South Wales that there was a widespread scandal here but nothing was done. Still nothing is done. Alexander Barton was allowed to escape from this country and he will not be brought to justice. Those many people who have been deprived of their savings by the misappropriation, falsification and the promotions of this gentleman will not receive justice. It is most necessary that honourable senators raise the matter in the manner in which they feel justified in raising it, and for that reason Senator Gietzelt ought to be supported here and ought not to be the subject of vilification of honourable senators opposite who belong to the same Party as that which is in office in New South Wales and which has done nothing to expose the rackets that have persisted and which have allowed the king of the rackets, Alexander Barton, to escape.

Senator Rae - Not the king, Senator.

Senator GEORGES - Senator Raemay share some knowledge that I have, but he is one of the kings of the rackets that have existed with respect to securities and exchange. It was unfortunate that the Securities and Exchange Committee, winding up its investigation, was unable to investigate Alexander Barton 's companies. It was unfortunate, because the evidence that this investigation was likely to reveal had already been revealed by investigations into other companies. The Committee would merely have been going over the same ground. But this does not remove from the New South Wales Government the responsibility of carrying out an investigation. It has delayed the investigaiton and the initiatives which should have been taken. Senator Gietzelt said that it did so for a particular reason. He has a right to say that and to ask for an inquiry. Honourable senators opposite have no right. (Quorum formed). It is as well that a quorum has been formed because, if it had not been formed and the Senate had been counted out, we would have found that quite a number of members of the Opposition were on aircraft heading for home while one of their colleagues called for a quorum. I have nothing more to say in support of Senator Gietzelt 's right to demand an inquiry, on the information which he has. His standing as a senator is sufficient to allow him to speak as he has spoken and to demand the investigation which he thinks is necessary.

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