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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1196


Senator WHEELDON (Western Australia) - I wish to say a few words about this matter but I hope I do not go to the same laborious and tedious detail as the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). The Attorney-General claimed that the letter of the law - they were his words - must be enforced in all cases if there is to be respect for the law. I think all honourable senators know precisely what the Attorney-General means by that. Only within the last week is was clearly disclosed and acknowledged in the Parliament that there had been a breach of the law, in particular a breach of the regulations under the Customs Act, by certain persons at the so-called Rhodesian Information Centre but no prosecution has taken place, and, indeed, no prosecution will take place. We know that the AttorneyGeneral has been to Rhodesia as a guest of the Rhodesian Promotion Council and we know thai when the letter of the law provides for an offence which has been committed by his racist friends in Salisbury he has not the slightest intention of prosecuting them. We know that this Attorney-General, the worst AttorneyGeneral that this country has ever had, is very keen to apply the letter of the law to persons who are just as reluctant as he to .serve in the armed forces in times of conflict but who have the moral courage to publicly state their moral objections. He is very keen to prosecute those persons but shows complete reluctance to prosecute his Rhodesian friends.

I challenge the Attorney-General here and now. If he is saying to us that the letter of the law must be obeyed in all circumstances I challenge him to announce to us in this Parliament tomorrow when we may expect prosecutions of these persons at the so-called Rhodesian Information Centre. I do not want to engage in nit-picking about this matter of the release of Mr Cook to attend studies at the university - studies that were interrupted as a result of this inhuman National Service Act - but 1 will repeat what was said earlier today in the Parliament by way of a question by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Senator Willesee. He said that some 60 persons in Western Australia have been released by the Prisons Department to engage in their studies. In that State there is a humane government and a humane Comptroller-General of Prisons. 1 understand that only one of those prisoners has committed a breach of the National Service Act but that approximately 60 of them have committed breaches of other laws. I certainly have no intention of apologising for this. I am proud of it and I believe that the people of Western Australia are proud that they have a humane Government and that they do not have a Greenwood-type government - the sort of government which has an

Attorney-General who hounds young men to go to Vietnam and, if they refuse, hounds them into gaol but refuses to prosecute when an offence is committed by his friends from the Rhodesian Promotion Council. The other matter which I believe exposes the Attorney-General for the sordid, dishonourable person that he is relates to the matters concerning the instructions given to the Western Australian police.







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