ASIO claimed minister was being controlled by Soviets
January 02, 2013 12:00AM
Several months after senator Gietzelt became a minister, an ASIO agent reported in a "secret" note a conversation between Communist Party leaders Laurie Aarons and Joe Palmada that revealed senator Gietzelt was "still a financial member of the CPA" and that he was meeting Aarons "regularly".
A previously unreleased cache of ASIO files made available to The Australian provides the first documentary evidence that Mr Gietzelt, now 92, was believed to have still had close links with the Communist Party while serving as a minister.
A "secret" ASIO minute paper, dated February 18, 1983, concluded with the "possibility" that "GIETZELT is under some form of control by the Soviets. As a secret member of the CPA and a parliamentarian he would undoubtedly be of interest to the Soviets," it said.
In an interview with The Australian, former prime minister Bob Hawke said: "I just don't think it is appropriate for a (former) prime minister to discuss the nature of the conversations they had with ASIO."
Mr Hawke said he was satisfied about senator Gietzelt's loyalty to the government.
"I had no problem with any of my ministers in terms of their complete commitment to the Australian Labor Party," he said.
"I had heard there was scuttlebutt about Gietzelt; there was scuttlebutt about Tom Uren. But as far as I was concerned they were totally committed to the Labor Party."
Yes I am sure they "were totally committed to the Labor Party." Comrade Hawke,as are you and all members of the ACTU GetUp funded ALP,but the Australian Labor Party is not the Australian People, it is not representative of the aspirations of the Australian people it is unashamedly committed to the objectives of International Socialism aka.Socialist aka Communist World Government, or is Comrade Macken lieing?
ASIO maintained its interest in senator Gietzelt's alleged communist linkages as the Hawke government came into office and while senator Gietzelt was serving as a minister.
Two days before the March 5, 1983 election, which swept Labor into government, ASIO completed an examination of its extensive files on senator Gietzelt, who had been a member of the upper house since 1971. "An examination of the GIETZELT file leads to the conclusion that he was and probably remains a secret member of the Communist Party of Australia," notes a minute paper labelled "top secret".
Another "secret" file note prepared in April 1982, during the Fraser government, documents senator Gietzelt's association with the Communist Party between April 1976 and November 1981.
It reports that Aarons, the then national secretary of the Communist Party, described senator Gietzelt as "the CPA's official parliamentary co-ordinator in Canberra between 1972 and 1975" -- the term of Gough Whitlam's Labor government.
It also notes that senator Gietzelt "was a secret member of the CPA" in 1969 or 1970, and also in 1979 that he "is a dual ticket holder (CPA/ALP) and is the main key of influence of the CPA in the left wing of the ALP".
In the March 1983 document, ASIO notes that while the source material on senator Gietzelt's secret involvement in the Communist Party stretched for at least four decades, it could not be certain that he "was a secret party member", even though earlier and later ASIO documents suggest that he was.
ASIO's files cover his alleged involvement with the Communist Party from the 1940s to at least the 1980s, and include extensive agent reports, informant reports, photos and films outlining a secret role in organising for the CPA inside the Labor Party.
Several ASIO files concerning senator Gietzelt's Communist Party linkages remain unreleased. Several documents that have been released have many redactions throughout.
When contacted by The Australian on Monday, Mr Gietzelt refused to respond to the ASIO claims in the new documents. When contacted by The Australian in 2010, Mr Gietzelt denied that he was a member of, or an organiser for, the Communist Party.