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Thursday, 16 March 1961


Mr McCOLM (Bowman) .- I wish to speak about the same matter that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) mentioned a few minutes ago. We all know that the honorable member felt impelled to raise this matter to-night by an attack which had been made on him by Moscow Radio because he had had an interview with a man whom the Russian Government is asking our Government to send back to Russia, as it considers him a war criminal. I do not want to disagree for a moment with a single thing that the honorable member for Mackellar has said, because historically and factually there is not the slightest doubt that he is right. But I do think that we must look at the slightly broader implications.

This is a subject on which I have some fairly strong feelings, because there are still roaming somewhere in the world some Nazi war criminals, or people who were, at the end of the war, classified as war criminals. Should any of these people, of the type of Martin Bormann, or Eichmann, ever be found in Australia, I should hope that the Australian Government would not hesitate to hand them over to an authority which would deal with them in a just manner. I think, Sir, that that point is most important. The tremendous brutalities that have taken place over the whole course of history, and which have not diminished to any great extent in this day and age, are things that we must all deplore. But we have to look at them in terms of realities and we must remember that a genuine attempt was made at the end of the last war to prevent these things; it has not been very successful, unfortunately. This was by letting the guilty people know - I am not saying that there could not be guilty people in any but vanquished nations, but we do not find them charged in the victorious nations - that those who take part in war and commit atrocities, as distinct from the atrocity of war itself, will, when they can be found, be dealt with. That, Sir, is probably the greatest deterrent to war. Provided the nations will only pursue that matter, it will be the only deterrent over a period of time. It will take a long time, because these atrocities do not happen only in wars between nations. They sometimes happen in local upheavals. Even since the last world war some shocking things have happened in India-


Mr Anderson - And in Tibet.


Mr McCOLM - Yes, and Tibet too. And the things happening in the Congo to-day are nothing compared with things that happened earlier. I think it is quite wrong to say that the natives in the Congo are just being savages, when in fact they are not doing any more than many so-called more civilized nations have done in fairly recent years. That does not mean to say for one moment that any of us agrees with some of the things that have happened in the Congo. I do not think that we should just say that the wild African is turning his savagery loose, because in fact his savagery has been no worse than the savagery of the Nazis or that which took place in India, or the savageries which the honorable member for Mackellar mentioned, which took place in some of the occupied countries such as Poland and which I believe are still taking place in parts of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to-day. These are matters that we should bear in mind. I am quite happy to leave the final, decision in any particular case to the judgment of the Australian Government. I should hope that it would have to be firmly convinced that a man was in fact guilty of the things with which he was being charged before he would be handed over to any other authority, but if a man is, in the opinion of the Australian Government, guilty of these things, he should be handed over without hesitation.







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