Post War Reconstruction, Socialism, and Labor Unity

Sixty-seven years ago today, Fred Paterson rose to his feet to make a speech in the Queensland House of Representatives.

The Labor Government was in power.

Joh Bjelke-Peterson, then a backbencher, famously said after hearing Fred’s speech (below):—

“I am the only person less likely than Fred Paterson to become Premier of Queensland!”

At the 1944 state election, Communist member Fred Paterson won the seat of Bowen. He therefore became the only member of the party ever to win elected office at state or federal level in Australia, and served two full terms until a redistribution abolished the seat in 1950.

It was the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold war.

Global wars have ensued long after Fred died.

He was battoned by a policeman in a march by striking railway workers in 1948.

Paterson spoke below the high tide level to avoid arrest for speaking in public.

He defended the Communist Party in the High Court when Menzies wanted it banned. He was a believer.

He defended free speech in the domain by exposing police lies in the famous ‘Siamese Twins of the Qld Police Force’ Case in the 1929.

Fred understood money and the cause of capitalist crises.

Here is that speech he gave 67 years ago today.

Speech of October 11, 1944 by Fred Paterson MLA

The Treasurer has presented to this Parliament a Financial Statement of the public accounts of this State.

In addition, the Treasurer has placed before Parliament a detailed plan of post-war reconstruction involving the expenditure of some £50,000,000. It is that part of the Treasurer’s speech I propose to discuss.

The proposed plan of post-war reconstruction as set out in the Treasurer’s speech includes the following works:-Public buildings, housing, roads, streets, bridges and drainage, harbours, port and river works, forestry development, irrigation, water conservation, water supply and sewerage works, railway works, electrification works, rural assistance and development, mine development, and maintenance of roads, railways and other public assets. I do not intend to criticise the plan, so far as it goes, in the Treasurer’s speech. But that does not mean we should be satisfied with the Financial Statement My main criticism of the speech is that is does not go far enough; it is far too orthodox; it fails to take into account the new situation and the new problems that confront us; it omits the most important problems of all -it fails to enumerate fully the steps we must take to develop in an orderly manner the material resources of this State without which, let me say quite clearly, no Government can guarantee its people a steady increase in their material and cultural conditions.

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Photos by Graham Garner to be found in Fryer Library – Duhig Building, UQ

Production and distribution, as far as the post-war reconstruction plan goes, are still to go left at the mercy of the banks and the big monopolists, whose aim is to make profit. Surely every genuine representative of the Labour movement will agree that the continuation of capitalist class control will necessarily mean a return to the old order of things. We do not need to have a very good memory to be able to recall what this means. We all have experienced in our own lifetime at least two great crises and depressions. We know exactly what this means to the vast majority of our people. We know what it means to the workers in unemployment, in money prices to the farmers, and in the misery and wretchedness it entails for the vast mass of the working people.

We have experienced also the fact that when production and distribution lie at the mercy of bankers and big monopolists, we get centralized production and the congregation of the population in the big cities. It is no good talking about the need for decentralization and building up rural industry unless we are willing to get at the very root of the evil. We have only to take our own experience in this State. I happen to be the representative of the Bowen electorate, and I happen to be a native-born boy of Gladstone, so I am connected by birth and membership of this Assembly with two of the finest ports in the Commonwealth. I think every unbiased person must agree that neither of those two towns has ever received justice. The reason why they have not received justice is that vested interests have played far too important a part in the economic life of this country. The reason Bowen and Gladstone were not developed was that vested interests derived too great a profit from the concentration of industry in the big capital cities.


Why have we not developed the iron and steel industry? In 1917 the Labour Government did one of the finest things in their early history. After taking the reins of office they set up a Royal Commission to go into the question of establishing an iron and steel industry in this State. That report still exists, and is available to any hon. member who is desirous of taking the trouble to read it That report set out that the time was ripe in 1917 -27 years ago -for establishing a State Iron and Steel Industry.

So satisfied were the then Government with the report that they actually introduced legislation for establishing this industry which passed through this House, which at that time was the Lower House. The Legislative Council existed at that time and the then government passed legislation through the Lower House for the purpose of establishing a State iron and steel industry, The move was defeated in 1917 by a reactionary Legislative Council, but that Council is not in existence now, and that is over 20 years ago.

Why have the necessary steps not been taken? I suggest in all sincerity that the reason is that vested interests have been too powerful up to the present the great iron and steel monopolists represented by the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited have determined that their profit should not be interfered with.

Not only have we no iron and steel industry, but we have no copper refining of copper -smelting industry in Queensland. There are splendid fields of copper in the Northwest Again this is because of the enormous economic and political power of the great millionaires of the Mount Lyell copper refining and smelting company in Tasmania.

And so I could go on. Why, for instance, have we not developed secondary textile industries in this State to any large extent? A few weeks ago I read a reponse issued by the chairman of the Cotton Board, in which he showed clearly the enormous opportunities in this State, and for that matter in other States for the development of secondary textile industries. There is an enormous internal market waiting to be satisfied.

But if we are to deal with that matter we must be prepared to take our courage into our own hands and establish our own State industries, because private enterprise will not do it for us unless -judging by the thesis of the hon. member for Windsor, who by the way, is a splendid representative for the class he represents -the Government give it all the help it requires to enable it to establish those industries. It must always be understood, however, that private enterprise is to reap the profit, but the Government is expected to carry the baby the moment there is a crisis or a depression. That is not my conception of how this State or any country should be run.


It is on this basis that I voice my criticism of the Financial Statement My criticism is not directed against the Treasurer personally because we know that when a Treasurer delivers a financial statement he merely does so on behalf of his Government. So that when I criticise this aspect of the Financial Statement, my criticism is directed against the policy of the government who allow this state of affairs to exist

Matter all, I think every genuine representative of the Labour movement will agree with me when I say that the greatest ideal of the Labour movement is socialisation. Last night I picked up in my home the 1936 platform of the Australian Labour Party, which had been passed at a convention in Adelaide. At its very head it sets out the Labour objective of socialisation of industry, distribution and exchange. So that when I speak as I do today there is no reason why I should feel that the genuine representatives of the Labour movement will be opposed to what I say.

I believe from the very bottom of my heart that all who genuinely believe in socialisation -and nobody should be a member of the Australian Labour Party unless he does should agree with me whole-heartedly when I suggest that the Financial Statement has failed, or is weak. In that it does not deal with the great problem that confronts us today, the organisation of our industry, our distribution and exchange in an orderly way in the direction of socialisation.

The Communist Party contends that the Government must be prepared to exercise most vigorous and far-reaching control, because it will be fatal to allow the old system of capitalism to operate for any needless time after the end of this war. In this way, and in this way alone, can the Government lay the very foundation for a happy and prosperous people. In a word, we must be prepared to go boldly forward along the path to socialisation, which is the objective not only of the Communist Party but of the Australian Labour Party.

As the first step, we must be prepared to nationalise the banks, monopolies and big industrial and commercial companies.

I am satisfied that there are a number of men in this Committee who are genuinely anxious to abolish hunger and want I am satisfied that there are a number of men in this Committee who are honestly striving to destroy conditions of poverty and economic security, but -and I say this with all sincerity -it needs more than simply being sincere in our desire to achieve these noble ends. We must have a clear understanding of the causes of poverty, want and economic insecurity. We must have a clear understanding of the Causes of the mal-distribution of industry and the lack of industrial development in rural areas. Above all, we must have a clear understanding of the measures to be taken to rectify the position.

We can no longer content ourselves with attempting to solve political problems in what I might call the old political superstitious manner. When I use the word “superstitious” I use it in its literal sense, without any connection at all with religion. We must face up to these problems in a scientific manner and deal with them scientifically.


What then, I ask, is the Cause of poverty and economic insecurity? Why do we have boom periods when there is plenty of employment, high wages and contentment, followed by crises and depression? Can any sensible person in this country suggest for one moment that in the great crises that took control of this continent of ours in 1929 our people went without milk because many of our cows ceased to produce milk? Can anyone suggest that they went without fruit because our fruit trees ceased to bear fruit? And can anyone suggest that we went without manufactured goods because our machinery ceased to turn and our artisans had lost their skill? Not on your life.

That crisis was the inevitable result of what we know as the capitalist system.

The Communist Party boldly asserts that the basic cause of the social and economic problems are to be found in our present system of society that we call capitalism, that is, a system in which the financial institutions and most of the means of production are in the hands of a relatively small number of people, a system in which production is carried on primarily for profit and in which when profit ceases production ceases, whether or not the people require what is being produced. It is a system under which production is carried on at the will of individual capitalist groups and not in accordance with a national plan based on the resources of the country and the needs of its people.

For example, some years ago I made a personal examination of list of directorates of the main companies of this country and I discovered that, of 62 odd banks’ directors, there were 41 men, and that those 41 men could be traced on the board of directors of all the other main companies in this country. If you examine the list of directors of the insurance companies the shipping companies mining companies rubber companies textile companies breweries-it does not matter what you examine in the way of big companies -there you will find one or more in fact many of the names of these 41 bank directors.


The Communist Party has pointed out for some time that the system of capitalism as we know it to-day has changed into what is now properly called finance capital -that is, a system in which the banks are closely interwoven with big industries. The Communist Party, therefore, contends that if the great social and economic problems that have caused so much hardship and suffering in years gone by are to be solved, they must be solved by a change in the social system. We believe that this great problem can never be solved so long as capitalism endures.

We realise that reforms and improvements can be won from time to time within the present system through organised political and industrial action of the people, but we contend that no final solution can be won unless we change from the private capitalist system of profit to the social co-operative system of production for use; in other words, production and distribution must not be left dependent on the blind forces of capitalism.

To bring this great change in the economic structure of society, that is, to achieve this great economic revolution, the Communist Party suggests that there must be in power a Government which in deed and not just in words represents the vast majority other people. The useful people in this country, the working class, the working fanner and the members of the middle class.


One of the first tasks of this Government will be to bring under their control the banks and other financial institutions, the land, big factories, mines, transport system and trade with other countries. The only Government that can do this task will be a Government which arises from the Labour Movement and was closely in contact with the organised workers and the organizations of the working people. The Labour movement consists of the trade unions, the A.L.P. and the Australian Communist Party.

This Government, based on the trade unions, the organized workers, the working farmers and the working people, that is, a Government arising from the Labour movement itself would have as one of their first tasks the taking over of the banks, monopolies and other big industrial in order that production and the distribution of goods might be carried out with efficiency and the interests the people. In other words, production and distribution would be developed in an orderly manner, so that our people could enjoy steadily rising standards of material and cultural conditions. Primary and secondary industries would be assisted and developed and this development would take place under a method best fitted to preserve proper balance between primary and secondary industries.

While I am on this point, I am reminded of a speech delivered by the Leader of the 0pposition in the Address-in-Reply. He stressed the need for the establishment of proper balance between the primary and secondary industries. I thoroughly agree with him, but I want to point out to him that if he really wants to get the proper balance established, then he will need to make a serious investigation, not into his own mind, but into the and economic interests of the great forces the back the Country Party he leads today.

Mr Macdonald: Rubbish!

Mr Brand: The Country Party is backed by the small farmers in Queensland.

Mr Paterson: I think the hon. member confuses the fact that some small fanners back the Country Party with his wish that they all did, but that is contrary to the facts.

As I have already said, there is need for this new Government to establish a proper balance between our primary and secondary industries. We also state that under this Government, industries would be decentralised and the old separation between city and country interests will be broken down. That is because vested interests will have no say in determining whether an iron and steel industry should be established in this State, whether a copper-refining industry should be established in North-west Queensland, or where cattle grown and fattened in the West would be marketed of killed, because the Government’s concern would be to take over an industry and run it in the interests of the people.


I can quite understand some people asking what about the money and the functions,] I believe that is a good question. A considerable amount of confusion exists in the minds of many as to the role money plays in society. Some people think that all you have to do to solve the economic and money problem is to print money and keep on printing it, and everything will be satisfactory.

I for one, as a member of the Communist Party, suggest that is absurd. We have only to realise the position as it exists today in Australia. Everyone knows that no matter how much money you issue by the printing press you could not produce an extra gun or an extra tank, or an extra plane, or produce an extra bushel of wheat or maize, unless you have available resources of manpower and materials. In other words, while the money problem is an important one -I will deal with that before I conclude -it is necessarily secondary to the question of production. On the basis of production we get the amount of goods and services at our disposal, once we have the goods and services there is the question of the creation and issue of money; therefore, that is a secondary matter.

Mr Edwards: To get production you must get service.

Mr Paterson: I quite agree with the hon. member.

There are others, however, who make an equally foolish mistake in believing that the present financial system is sound. 1be Communist Party rejects that belief. The present financial system is obviously part and parcel of the capitalist system, and any objection we take to capitalism in the sphere of production we must take to capitalism in the sphere of exchange also.

We believe that once you deal with the question of production, once you solve the problem of planned production in the interests of the people, then this country would be in a position to control the creation and issue of money on the basis of the amount of goods produced and the amount of services at the disposal of the people. It is for that reason that when we speak about the nationalisation of industry, we always speak of the nationalisation of the banking system, because we believe that the two must go hand in hand.


Let us deal with some of the ideas of people who think that you can solve the whole problem simply by fiddling with finance. They tell us that the last crisis was caused by the banks and by the banks alone. There can be no doubt that banks can aggravate a crisis, that they can hasten a crisis. And that they can help to bring a crisis to its end more quickly than otherwise, but they cannot by themselves create a crisis.

Let us take what happened in Australia in the great depression. Many employees of the Broken Hill Proprietary could not get work and as a result poverty and misery reigned among the company’s factory employees. The Broken Hill Company’s factories and workshops were not working full time. Strangely enough, a number of directors of the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited were also directors of the banks. Would it not be absurd to suggest that the Broken Hill Proprietary directors one day had a meeting and decided that because of a shortage of finance they would write to the bank for accommodation to provide work, and that later the bank’s directors, including some of the Broken Hill Proprietary’s directors, met, considered the application written by themselves, and turned down their own request

That is what it means. Similarly, the directors of the C.S.R. Company are also directors of the banks; when I made my investigations three out of five were directors of banks. Would it not be absurd to suggest that the cause of any depression in the sugar industry was due to the fact that the banks controlled by the same men would not issue credit to the company? The two go hand in hand.

I have some sympathy for those who honestly think the problem can be solved by some financial measure, but I do suggest that to assist to solve it those people must be willing to unite with all political parties and organisations that are determined to nationalise and ultimately socialise industry. The true position is this: his only under socialism that money will cease to be our master and become our servant

A Government Member: Money is capital.

Mr Paterson: Money is not capital. I do not propose to spend part of my hour in dealing with the economics of money and capital. Money can be transforned into capital, but it is absurd to suggest that the £1/5 I have in my pocket is capital. Money can be transformed into capital; it can also be used for securing the transfer of goods as a medium of exchange. You can have capital without any money at all. If all the money in Australia

tomorrow should disappear by the wave of a magic wand the capital of the C.S.R. Company and Broken Hill Proprietary Limited would still exist.

Under socialism the Government will be the sole owner and controller of the financial institutions; it will have the sole power to create and issue money, whether that money exists in its metallic form of token form such as a £1 note, or in credit form, such as a bill of exchange or a cheque, as we know it Money will be created and issued on the basis of the amount of goods and services produced in society, This money will be distributed among people in salaries and wages and income of the basis of the amount of work performed and the quality of the work performed, or on the basis of the amount or the quality of services rendered.


I know that some will say “Yes, the Communist Party is merely advocating the Labour Party platform. But it believes in revolution and the Labour Party does not”

Revolution in itself in neither a violent thing nor a non-violent thing; that depends entirely upon the circumstances. A revolution is a complete change in the economic bases of society. The question does arise, however: how will this complete change be achieved? Will it involve the use of violence or not? That, the Communist Party asserts, will depend partly on the strength of the organisations the Government and the unions and other people’s organisations that will support the aim to achieve socialism.

It is a strange thing that the people who suggest you should not use force against the banking and capitalist class never complain when a State uses the police force to baton down the unemployed during a period of depression. If to uphold the law under a capitalist system you can use violence and force in the shape of batoning a worker’s head, is it wrong when a Socialist Government takes control to use a baton on the banker’s or the capitalist’s head if he attempts forcibly to resist the law.

Mr Maher. That is dangerous talk.

Mr Paterson: It may be dangerous talk but it is sensible talk and that is all that matters; and it is correct talk.

The hon. member for West Moreton never suggested it was dangerous talk to send police out to baton the unemployed during the period of the depression. He would not suggest it was dangerous talk to put soldiers into the coal mines. That suggestion would not produce coal but it would produce untold misery-and violence.

Here in this country we have the right to go to the polls but in Czarist Russia they did not have they did not have the right to go the polls. Under the Czarist rule there was no democratic system such as we have here. We have a democratic constitution under the capitalist system of society, and if a Government constituted of representatives of the Labour movement is elected by the majority of the people, has not that Government the full right to make the laws of this land in accordance with its socialistic objective, and to use its armed force or police force, and its endeavour to sabotage it, in order to compel them to keep the law?

Mr Pie: And that is freedom?

Mr Paterson: If that is not freedom, would the hon. member suggest that these instruments of the Government allow the law to be broken? I can anticipate some of my 0pponents raising the objection that this means the first step to socialism. They will immediately conjure up lies, slander, and bogies that have been used to describe it


Let me deal with some of these rogues, and the first is that under socialism that property is abolished. That is a lie. All property is not abolished. The form of property abolished is that in the hands of the banks and the monopolies, but personal property for use is not abolished because the aim of socialism is to increase the personal property available to the highest possible point We desire to see the maximum amount of personal property in existence, so that people will be able to enjoy the highest standard of living.

There are others who suggest that all people will be reduced to one level. That also is a lie. Those who take the trouble to read the writings of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Stalin and Lenin, will realise that it is a lie. To-day I merely propose to quote one extract from the report of Joseph Stalin to the Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in January, 1934

“By equality Marxism means not equality in personal requirement and personal life, but the abolition of classes i.e. (a) the equal emancipation of all toilers from exploitation after the capitalists have been overthrown and expropriated (b) the equal abolition for all of private property in the means of production after they have transformed into the property of the whole society, (c) the equal duty of all to work according to their ability and the equal right of all toilers to receive according to the amount of work they have done (socialist society), (d) the equal of all to work according to their ability and the equal right of all toilers to receive according to their requirements (communist society». And Marxism starts out with the assumption that people’s tastes and requirements are not, and cannot be equal in quality or in quantity either in the period of socialism or in the period of communism.

“That is the Marxist conception of equality.

“Marxb’1ll has not recognised nor does it recognise any other equality.

“To draw from this conclusion that socialism calls for equality, for the levelling of the requirements of the members of society, for the levelling of their tastes and of their personal requirements, that according to Marxism all should wear the same clothes and eat the same dishes and in the same quantity -means talking banalities and slandering Marxism.

The next suggestion is that the Government will confiscate the farms and selections of the wiling farmers and selection and the shops and factories of small ones. As a matter of fact socialism will confiscate the large farms and factories controlled by those who do not work in them or do not do any work in connection with them. If it happens to be a large pastoral financial company that owns a large farm or station that property would be taken over, but not the farm of a person who works his farm. We will encourage the development of co-operative farms or collective farms to the full, and the use of mechanization in order to bring the efficiency of the primary producer to the highest possible point.

They tell you that under socialism the Government will regiment the people. Are the employees of the post office in this country regimented? Would any person suggest that the school teachers in this state are regimented? But the Postal Department and the Teaching Department are under Government control.

Mr LJ .Bames:They can go to a private-enterprise job if they wish.

Mr Paterson: I quite agree with the bon. Member but as the capitalist system goes on the number of employers they can choose is gradually diminishing. As monopoly spreads so is the number of employers relatively reduced? What satisfaction would it be for a man who had given the greater part of his life to school teaching in the service of the State? When a depression takes place that causes considerable retrenchment as we know that at the age of 59 who has the opportunity of getting a job in an iron foundry or on a wharf or something like that?


Some of our opponents may say, “What about Russia?” and immediately proceed to quote from anti-Soviet books and pamphlets without attempting to make any critical examination of the source of information, with a view to ascertaining whether they are reliable.

This afternoon I have not time to deal with all these but merely with one or two. The hon. member for Cairns speaks without malice and this afternoon I propose to reply to him in the same way. He said that there were no birth rate figures for Russia since 1929. All the hon. member has to do is walk to the Parliamentary Library take down the Commonwealth Year Book for 1935, and on page 568 he will find a table that gives the birth-rate figures for the year 1932, which shows that the birth rate in the Soviet Union was 42.7 per 1000 of mean population in 1932 as compared with 16.4 for Australia in the year 1934.

Incidentally in page 530 he will find figures for the natural increase that is the excess of births over deaths. He will find that whereas in Australia those figures decreased from

16.7 in the period 1909-1913 to 8.8 in 1930-1934 in European Russia -which is the only figure given -they increased from 15.8 in 1909-13 to 22.3 in 1926-27. The Point I wish to stress is that the Year Book contains figures for 1932.

The hon member for Bundaberg, Mr FJ Barnes made an attack on the Soviet Union but I do not propose to deal with all he said because my time is limited. He said that in 1938 Russia has one person in every 429 attending a university and Australia had one in every 60. I subsequently asked the Secretary for Public Instruction for the figures and he gave them to me. His reply showed that in 1938 the number attending universities in Australia was 12,126 which works out at one for every 572 of our population. And the hon. member for Bundaberg has the cheek to say it was one in 60!

The hon. member for Kennedy Mr Jesson apparently discovered that I had discovered a flaw in the hon. member for Bundaberg’s figures and he proceeded to go one better. He quoted the figures for the Soviet Union when Russia had a population of 193,000,000. The only time she ever had that population was in 1940 after she had absorbed the Baltic States, Eastern Poland and Bessarabia.

He quotes the number of college and university students as 450,000 or one to every 429. He said that Australia. With a total population of 7.000.OCXJ had 115.627 attending colleges and Universities, which worked out at one in 60. But he made the mistake of including in his figures all those who attend secondary technical college.

If he had only taken the trouble to read the Statesman Year Book. which is in this library he would have found that in year 1940 there were 716 universities and technical colleges of university status. The students in these number over 650,000 not 450,000 as the hon. member for Kennedy states. The number of students in technical colleges with university status not technical colleges with secondary school status.

Mr Jesson: It does not matter; the comparisons are still there.

Mr Paterson: Except that they are incorrect, but that would not matter to the hon. member.


The hon. member for Mirani. Mr Walsh. adopted different tactics. He admitted that the Soviet had made progress. Although he did refer to statistics quoted by the hon. member for Kennedy. He said that he would be a foolish man who would argue against the statement that the Soviets have done a good job for Russia, and I agree that he would be a foolish man. American forces as well as for Australians? Because it is the Soviet Union, the hon member for Milani, who represents the reactionary section inside the Caucus and is leader of that section, makes this bitter attack on the Soviet Union. The Aid to Russia Committee consisted of men and women of all political parties, and these people were eager to assist the general cause. Was Mr McKell the Labour Premier of New South Wales wrong, and was Mr Eddie Ward. The Federal Labour Minister wrong in supporting Medical Aid to Russia? Does he suggest that because we cannot have admiration for the Soviet Union we cannot have admiration for Australia, too. Apparently that is the idea in the narrow mind of the hon. member for Mirani. Surely we can admire the American soldiers and the British soldiers. without in any way being disloyal to Australia

The hon. member for Mirani cunningly suggested that because we express admiration for the Red Army we therefore have no admiration for the deeds of our Australian boys who went through the Owen Stanleys and along the Kokoda trail.

As a matter of fact, it is a strange thing that when the Communist Party in Collinsville last year organised Christmas hampers for the troops in New Guinea the only political party, that would not come in, was die A.L.P. at Collinsville.

The suggestion that we were not concerned about the Kokoda boys would only emanate from a mind so bitterly opposed to socialism as to need some vent for his foul hatred and hostility. Surely as sensible Australians we can have an intense admiration for the Heroic deeds and sacrifices of members of all the Allied Forces!


I have stressed these points because I realise how necessary it is to expose. not only in this chamber but also to the people outside, who are the real enemies of Allied Unity. And remember, this is not the first occasion that hostility to Allied Unity has expressed itself in the form of an Ultra-AustraIia First patriotism. Has the hon. member for Mirani never heard of the Teheran Conference, and never hear of its decisions?

It is not so very long ago that the hon. member for Mirani gave valuable assistance to the enemies of the Labour movement in the Referendum campaign by his attack on the Commonwealth Government for the appointment of Colonel Richards to a high position as Commonwealth transport officer in this State. The opposition to the Referendum was able to use that

This man, who is supposed to be a loyal representative of the Australian Labour Party, was conspicuous by his absence from his electorate. where he should have been fighting for a “Yes” vote. Why was he not up there in the same way as the hon. member for Mackay, the hon. member for Herbert, and the hon. member for Townsville -apart from the fact that the hon. member for Mundingburra and I was in the North helping to get a “Yes” vote?

I would remind the hon. gentleman that where there is great unity between the militant section of the Labour Party and the Communist Party, there the “Yes” vote was highest In North Queensland, where you might expect a “No” vote, the “Yes” vote was high. There was a “Yes” vote in the Bowen electorate and in the Herbert electorate, where the Communists are strong. We also got a “Yes” vote in Townsville.


My time is short, and I shall have to omit much that I intended to deal with. However, I propose to reply 1:0 a personal attack k that was made on me by the hon. member for Mirani. I do not wish to indulge in personalities except in self-defence -when I am attacked I must defend myself. The hon. member for Mirani raised the issue.

He suggested that Mr Fallon was and I was not -because Mr Fallon was training in the Air Force in 1936and 1937 and lost his life during the course of his training; and because, he said, I was decrying the need for military preparation in Australia at the time.

I regret to have to raise this incident as I regret having to raise any matter that involves the mention of the death of any man’s son, whether I am opposed to that man politically or not My remarks are not directed towards Mr Fallon’s son and I regret his name has to come into the matter.

What are the facts? In 1937 I addressed a public meeting at Townsville. and exposed the Tanaka memorandum, which sets out in detail the Japanese plans for the invasion of the Pacific, and urged advance preparations against possible Japanese invasion. In April 1938. at a special meeting of the Returned Soldiers League called at Townsville, I advocated the foundation and organisation of a people’s army to resist a possible Japanese invasion. You will find that recorded in the minutes of the league.

Let me deal now with Mr Fallon’s part. He is supposed to have been more loyal than I was. Let us hear what this man had to say. In the “Daily Standard” of August 29, 1935, when the British Empire was on the verge of war with Italy, Mr Fallon made a special visit to the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, and moved a motion urging that if war was declared the trades unions of this State should declare a general strike and refuse to go overseas to fight Was that because Italy was the possible enemy and had to be attacked? That is not all. Since this war broke out -and I quote from “The Worker” of September 4. 1939 which will show whether Mr Fallon is a man more loyal than I am -he said -“Our first duty is to Australia–“

Mr Walsh: Hear, Hear!

Mr Paterson: The Minister for Transport says “hear. Hear!” Mr Fallon went on: “And it behoves the working people of this country to refuse to further impoverish the Commonwealth by active participation in a European war: it behoves them to refuse to offer up their bodies and the well-being of their loved ones by volunteering to fight on foreign soil.”

This is the man to whom the hon. gentleman looks for leadership


I am making my appeal to the genuine representatives of the Labour movement inside the Labour Party, and I realise there are some. I realise, too that their numbers are growing. It is because of that I make this genuine appeal. There is in the Caucus at the present time a reactionary section, a section who would like to get control in order to further their reactionary backward schemes. They exist in this State and in the Caucus and the hon. member for Milani is one of the ringleaders of this faction.

It will be the task of the Labour movement of this State to advocate, through the unions, through the genuine elements of the AL.P. the linking up of the Communist Party, and all progressives to go hand in hand with the best elements in the Labour Party to establish the maximum unity in this State and in this county, in order that we may go forward to achieve the great idea of both the Labour Party and the Communist Party. That ideal, which is written in black and white in both our platforms, is the establishment of a socialist Australia and defeat of all reactionaries, no matter from what quarter they come.

One thought on “Post War Reconstruction, Socialism, and Labor Unity

  1. Thanks WBT for publishing articles like these if for no other reason than to highlight how our views have evolved since then. [or not as the case may be].

    Fred ya gotta love him for his passion, conviction and Sheer sheer Guts and he deserves to still be listen to if for no other reason than for the personal sacrifice he paid for staying true to his beliefs, but sorry Fred I could only get as far as THE ENEMIES OF UNITY before deciding you were getting just a tad too defensive to hold my attention.

    Seems to me Fred the essence of your worldview can be seen where you say; “The aim of socialism is to increase the personal property available to the highest possible point. We desire to see the maximum amount of personal property in existence, so that people will be able to enjoy the highest standard of living.”

    With recent economic insights; isn’t this a perpetual growth based social/economic framework rather outdated in a world now conscious of global warming and a view which strangely enough seems to equate happiness and well being with possessions no less fervently that does modern capitalism?

    Fred sorry to say but wont a genuine revolution of its’ very nature give rise to an equitable distribution of wealth for which you struggled, so what’s the big deal? And besides shouldn’t the aim be the highest standard of happiness not the ‘highest standard of living’. Fred consider this; the present inequality in the worlds distribution of resources arises because of this view and capitalism has co-opted it as a driver for our own selfishness.
    Isn’t it a nonsense to ignore that as equal participants in this dangerous rationalisation for our personal attachments to things’ that each and every one of us is part of the problem and when we start taking personal responsibility and stop blaming others, other institutions, other classes etc, the change you died for Fred, will only then have a genuine and sustained chance.

    Clinging to the delusion that we are separate from one other even given our differing races, classes or even DNA.will not hasten that day.

    A revolution of spirit and insight is desperately needed not a revolution of economics. Lets just hope we can evolve fast enough as a species to give ourselves that chance.

    Good on ya Fred love ya still and forever will. Forgive me even as I forgive you your somewhat poor choice of Russian hero? to quote. 🙂

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