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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1103


Mr BALDWIN(12.5 a.m.) —I would like to raise an episode that involves a constituent of mine and a fellow member of the Australian Labor Party. It is of particular interest in the light of recent allegations published in the National Times. However, it should not be inferred from what I am about to say that I am necessarily alleging the involvement of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation although, if the National Times allegations are well founded, this would not be at all implausible.

The incident to which I refer is the discovery of a bugging device at the home of Ms Caroline Graham. The device was concealed behind a panel at the base of a kitchen cupboard. It seems that the device was placed at some time since January of this year and was discovered on Monday by one of Ms Graham's children. The incident received some television coverage on Monday night but minimal newspaper coverage the following day.

The device has been examined by a number of people who have expertise in these types of devices. It is currently in the possession of the New South Wales Special Branch. There is no doubt that it is of a type used by professional security organisations. It is not commercially available. There is no doubt that the device was placed where it was in order to monitor Ms Graham's political activity and in particular her involvement with the Palestine human rights campaign. This organisation has gone some way towards redressing what was until recently the overwhelmingly negative treatment of the Palestinian position by the media of this country. I believe that it would be true to say that the popular conception of a Palestinian here was that he was a bomb throwing terrorist. The notion that these people are somehow subhuman has been reinforced by, to take one example, the publication of casualty figures on the Lebanon invasion, derived from Israeli military sources, which failed to include Palestinian civilians in the human toll, the implication being that they are to be accorded less than human status.

One does not, I believe, have to be a sympathiser of terrorist activities, or even for that matter an uncritical apoligist for the Arab position, to be involved in the sort of political activity that Ms Graham has taken up. As I said earlier, this episode is clearly the work of a professional intelligence organisation of either domestic or foreign origin. Either way, the fact that participation in legitimate political activity should lead to this type of harassment and invasion of privacy should be a matter of concern to us all.

Motion (by Mr Cunningham) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 12.08 a.m., until Tuesday, 23 August 1983, in accordance with the resolution agreed to this day.