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Issue #1929      August 24, 2020

Govt, plan to widen attack on democracy: White Paper “threat to all critics”

This article originally appeared in Tribune August, 1965.

The Federal Liberal Party’s call for a “White Paper on Communism” last week was strongly condemned by public figures in Sydney as a threat to all who actively oppose the government’s policies in south-east Asia and on national economic questions.

“Nearer, clearer, deadlier ...”, The Bulletin, 7 June, 1950.

The Communist Party of Australia in a special statement this week called for wide and rapid protests against this plan for a “major attack on the public right to criticise government policies.”

The hypocrisy of the move – reported to be a prelude to government action – was stressed by the Federal Labor Party Leader, A Calwell, who said: “It is a hypocritical stunt. The only interest the Liberal Party has ever shown in Communism has been when elections were in the offing.”

Challenge ducked

(This week the NSW Liberal Party declined a challenge to debate publicly on the Vietnam war, issued by the Communist Party of Australia in Sydney.)

K Buckley who is secretary of the Council for Civil Liberties (Sydney) and a university economic history lecturer said:

“It is an unnecessary and political inspired move which would appear to be connected to the opposition of many academics, churchmen and others, to the government’s policy on Vietnam.

“the term ‘front organisation’ has an obvious meaning to those who remember the McCarthyite period in America.”

The Rev. A D Brand, a prominent official of the Association for International Cooperation and Disarmament, and of the NSW Methodist Church organisation, said:

“Its purpose is not only aimed at the Communist Party, a legal political party, but also at churchmen, intellectuals and other groups opposed to the government’s policy on the Vietnam war.”

T Wright, member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said:

“The call of the Liberals backed by the DLP, for a ‘White Paper on Communist activity,’ is closely linked with the Government’s participation in a war of aggression in Vietnam, and the wages struggles of the trade union movement.”

Crimes Act

“In the trade union field, the struggle against the wage freezing policy of the Arbitration Courts and for over-award payments, is growing stronger despite the harsh penal clauses of the Arbitration Acts.

But such anti-Communist white papers, as a form of McCarthyism, cannot halt the growing movement of progressive forces in the Australian Community.”

N Docker, Industrial Officer Waterside Workers’ Federation, said:

“Calls by the RSL top leadership, the National Civic Council, and the Liberal Party for a government white paper on Communism form a blatant move to begin a propaganda campaign against all progressive and democratic forces in Australia.

“They and the Menzies government are anxious to start an offensive against the labour movement and particularly its more active and progressive sections, campaigning for higher wages and other improved conditions of work which, in the case of waterside workers, were extravagantly branded as ‘sabotage’ of Australian trade.

“The Australian people have a proud tradition of fighting to preserve and extend our democratic rights. It appears that a new offensive against those rights must now be fought and defeated.”

Footnote:

FRANK CHAMBERLAIN, 2GB Canberra commentator, said: This could mean a political witch-hunt. Because I oppose it I’ll be called a communist. There ought to be a White Paper on profiteering and high prices. (August 20).

THE AUSTRALIAN”: The Liberal Party call for a federal government White Paper on Communism in Australia is fraught with dangers.”

Next article – Statement by Communist Party of Australia – New threat to democracy

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