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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1361

Mr JAMES (Hunter) - I have listened with considerable interest to this debate. I congratulate the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) in particular for the very nitty gritty or gutsy submissions that he made.

Mr Cohen - He always makes a good speech.

Mr JAMES - He always makes a good speech. He is not a fence sitter. He always says something of great importance in the interests and well being of the Australian people. I suppose that today the interests of the Australian community in the issuing of passports and in the improper use of passports is more vital than ever before because of the extent of corporate crime and the menace of serious drugs with which you, Mr Deputy Speaker, are well acquainted. This problem evolves our community and in particular, the young people. It has reached proportions unprecedented in Australia's history. From day to day we find that young lives are being ruined through the menace of dangerous drugs. Linked with that is the improper use of passports, and this matter is now being debated in this Parliament.

As I see things with the considerable wordly experience which I have, the legislation is intended to tighten our immigration laws relating to passports. We of the Australian Labor Party or the Parliament generally approve of the legislation with slight alterations as indicated in the amendments submitted by the Opposition. For a long time in my adult life I have realised that irrespective of how tight the laws may be made in this regard, an intending law breaker who has unlimited wealth and who is prepared to spend it will subvert the law no matter how strict it is. The honourable member for Hawker named certain companies which had crashed and the people responsible who were able to flee the country. Virtually like an Amercian satellite encircling the earth these corporate criminals can move around the globe. There are certain names that come to my mind and one was mentioned by the honourable member for Hawker. The Barton family fled to Brazil and then to Paraguay. The Australian Government, using taxpayers' money, paid almost a million dollars seeking their extradition and this was unsuccessful. This bears out what I said. The corporate criminal with money need not be afraid of how strict the law is. The Barton family then came back to Australia voluntarily. An amazing thing about the Bartons is that they did not have their passports cancelled to prevent them leaving the country and incurring such an expense to the Australian taxpayer. I think I asked in this House why they should be issued with passports. At that time I was criticised by one of New South Wales ' leading criminal lawyers in the person of Mr Gruzman.

Mr Birney - Ah!

Mr JAMES - Yes, I hope he is not a friend of the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Birney). Mr Gruzman expressed in a court in Sydney that I, the member for Hunter, and the honourable member for the New South Wales electorate of Campbelltown, were two of the lowest people who ever entered Parliament. But within 12 months Mr Gruzman was arraigned in the criminal court in Sydney on 15 criminal charges. So far, no doubt through influence and money and his ability to get passports at the flick of his fingers, he has been able to successfully get a separate trial on the conspiracy indictment. Anyone with a semblance of experience in the criminal court- as the honourable member for Phillip who has had considerable experience as one of Sydney's leading criminal lawyers- knows that the best chance of ever being found not guilty on a conspiracy charge is to apply for a separate trial. He probably sought such trials himself in the interests of his clients. He has the reputation of being an honest criminal lawyer.


Mr JAMES - He has the reputation of being a fairly honest criminal lawyer. Perhaps to satisfy the honourable member, I should say that he is as honest as the profession will permit. No person needs to be afraid of being found guilty in the criminal courts if he or she has unlimited wealth. Patty Hearst knows that. The Bartons probably are well on the way to getting lenient treatment. I will not touch on this aspect any more because I might breach the sub judice law.

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