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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1887

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I have listened to the debate with a great deal of interest. To say the least, whatever be the facts, Senator Gietzelt has the right- indeed, the responsibility- to raise matters in this Parliament if he believes that they are of an investigatory nature. For Senator Wright to rise in this chamber tonight and talk about distortion of facts and abuse of privilege after I have sat here for 1 1 years and listened to him while he was in government, and those who sat alongside him, abuse their privilege, distort the facts and call decent, honest, working-class citizens communists and traitors, was the most amazing thing that I have ever heard. We know that Mr Barton at least has skipped this country, whatever be the facts concerning him and all these other people.

But what will Senator Wright say about an ordinary, decent trade union official who was going about his business of protecting members of his union in a club on a Sunday night and was belted and bashed and put into hospital? That man's spleen was removed. No action was taken against those who carried out that deed. That is the sort of thing that is going on in New South Wales. If Senator Wright can sit there, coming from Tasmania as he does -

Senator Rae - The building workers did not -

Senator DOUGLASMcCLELLANDSenator Rae talks about the building workers union. It was not the building workers union which was involved in this case. It was Actors Equity, and this case concerns the operations of an illegal club. An official of a registered industrial union was going into the premises to protect the working conditions and wages of members of his union. He was thrown down the stairs. His ribs were fractured and, in the course of surgery, his spleen was removed. Members of the Liberal Party in this place are not raising an objection to that sort of thing going on in a State in which they say there is no corruption.

I would have thought that the police force and those responsible for the administration of justice would be leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that people who do that to an official of a registered union are apprehended and dealt with. According to this man, who is lying in St Vincent's Hospital in a very serious physical condition, when the police came along he was told to merely get a taxi and go home. If that is what is going on in the State I represent, I believe that there has to be a change of government. It is the responsibility- indeed, the duty- of my colleague Senator Gietzelt to raise the facts concerning these matters if he genuinely believes, as I am sure he does, that there is a case for others to answer.

The PRESIDENT -Is the election campaign over now?

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