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Thursday, 5 March 1970


Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) - As far as I am aware Australia has never adopted the position that any man was entitled as of right, to a passport. The great jurist. Blackstone, did contend at one stage that the King had no right to refuse any Englishman the right to leave his dominion by refusing him whatever were the travel documents or authorisations of Blackstone's day. What is important in the case of Wilfred Burchett is to find out what the Government's theory is on the issue of passports. Burchett, says the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles), is guilty of high treason and therefore he should not have a passport. If I were certain that Burchett is guilty of high treason I would say he should be indicted for high treason. That appears to me to be the logical conclusion and not the refusal of a passport.

What is the Government's theory on the issue of passports? There is in Rhodesia what this Government calls a 'regime'. We do not call it a government because we do not recognise it. It is in a state of rebellion against the Crown. The CommanderinChief of the Rhodesian Army resigned his position. He said that what he was called upon to do was a violation of his oath and what he in fact should be doing was leading the Rhodesian armed forces to overthrow what we call the 'self-styled government of Rhodesia'. But all members of that selfstyled government of Rhodesia, including the Duke of Montrose, would immediately be arrested and indicted for high treason if they went to the United Kingdom. That government of Rhodesia is recognised by Portugal and by South Africa. Its accredited emissary to Portugal is Colonel Knox and its accredited emissary to South Africa is Air Vice-Marshal Hawkins, both of whom travel on Australian passports issued by this Government because they could not travel on Rhodesian passports which very few countries in the world recognise.

As far as I understand, the position of the Commander-in-Chief of the Rhodesian Army was the correct one. The members of the government of Rhodesia are violating their oaths of allegiance to the Crown and are in a state of rebellion against the Crown. But three key figures - the emissary to Portugal, the emissary to South Africa and the head of the Rhodesian Department of External Affairs - hold Australian passports. I am not prepared to get up in this House and demand that their passports be recalled. I would like to see a passport a constitutional right. If a person commits treason he is then indicted for high treason. But the compulsory retention of a person inside his own country has not anything to do with a passport. I am not arguing that Hawkins, Knox or O'Donnell should have their passports cancelled. But I want to know on what ground this Government issues passports to men who, on its own theory, operate on Australian passports as emissaries of a regime which is in a state of rebellion against the Crown.







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