Discussing communism in South Australian Parliament (1951)

While looking up other things in Hansard, I found this short discussion of Communist infiltration in Australia in the South Australian House of Assembly. This took place during the campaign in the lead-up to the 1951 referendum on the Menzies Government’s attempts to ban the Communist Party of Australia. Henry Dunks was a Liberal and Country League MP and Thomas Playford was the long-standing Premier of South Australia (also LCL) at the time.

It’s like Trove Tuesday, but with physical books! So here you go:


Mr. DUNKS – The statement has been made during the present referendum campaign that many Communist agitators had been trained in Russia, and that much of the money used by them for propaganda purposes in Australia is being supplied by Soviet funds. I have always believed that money can only be transferred by the sale of goods or by some arrangement of bank credit. Can the Treasurer say how Communists are able to get money from Russia into Australia?

The Hon. T. PLAYFORD – No; I have no direct knwoledge of the matter. It is customary, in countries where there is diplomatic representation, to extend diplomatic privileges to persons living there, but I am not sufficinetly conversant with the controls present exercised over exchange to know whether these diplomatic privileges can be abused.

(South Australian House of Assembly, Hansard, 19 September, 1951, p. 599)

It is interesting to see Playford imply, although he states he has no knowledge of the matter, that Communists in Australia were being bankrolled through the Soviet diplomatic channels. A discussion of ‘Moscow Gold’ in Australia can be found in this article by David Lovell here.

Once again, ain’t history fascinating?

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