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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 997


Senator BONNER (QUEENSLAND) - Has the AttorneyGeneral seen a statement by Dr J. F. Cairns, a prominent Opposition spokesman, calling for yet another Vietnam Moratorium demonstration? Will the AttorneyGeneral give the Senate an assurance that the rights of individual citizens will be protected and that industry and commerce will not be disrupted by the supporters of North Vietnam and other outside influences?


Senator GREENWOOD - I have seen the statement attributed to Dr Cairns in which he called for people to go into the streets to protest. I must say that it is a most remarkable and self-damning statement by a front bench member of the Australian Labor Party. Not only does he call for public support for North Vietnam in the face of activity which is clearly aggression by North Vietnam, but he also asks people in those circumstances to return to the streets in protest. I understand, Mr President, that Dr Cairns proposes a pattern of activity comparable to that engaged in during previous moratoriums, but this time openly in support of North Vietnam. Involved in this course is wholesale breaking of the law by people in such numbers that the processes of law enforcement are impeded. It is licence of the few in dental of the rights of the many.

It is significant to note that one change in this moratorium is supposed to be that people will go onto the streets in Melbourne at the time when there is Friday night shopping, which clearly indicates the intent of those who are engaging in these activities. I cannot give the honourable senator the assurance which he seeks - that rights of individual citizens will be protected - because essentially the maintenance of law and order in those circumstances is very difficult and primarily the responsibility of an overtaxed State police force. One can say only that possibly the greatest incentive to the assurance which the honourable senator is seeking would be if the leadership of the Australian Labor Party were to repudiate Dr Cairns and repudiate all association by the ALP in this moratorium.







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