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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 943

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I rise to speak only because, listening to question time, I was appalled by the attitude of the Senate to what can be regarded only as one of the most serious acts of terrorism in Australia for many years. The debate has continued along the same lines. Any of us could have been in Sydney. Any of us could have been one of the 15 or 16 who were injured. Any of us could have had our legs amputated. All parties in the Senate today have been trying to score a point off the opposite side by saying that somebody is or is not a member of the Ustasha or is a Hannanite, a Hitlerite or something else. That is all that has been happening so far today.

Senator Hannan - That is not so.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - The only sincere words I heard from Senator Hannan were his concluding remarks that he hoped the Government would take firm action. That is what we want. We want firm action. It does not matter on which side of the Senate we are sitting. We should not be trying to attack each other in an attempt to score political points in regard to the bomb outrage. I think it is disgusting. The time spent here today so far, both at question time and during the debate, has been wasted.

We had to listen to 2 different aspects of the history of Yugoslavia. Senator McManus gave us one which I thought was exceedingly good and a somewhat different type of history from that given by Senator Hannan. I was not sure whether the 2 senators were referring to the same country. Whichever history we accept, both of them unconsciously created the atmosphere behind what has happened here. Whether we accept Senator McManus's history of Croatia, its origins and its mergence into Yugoslavia or Senator Hannan's history of Croatia, both historical aspects of the country show that the people who live there are prepared to commit any outrage to get an independent Croatia. As they are unable to do it in Croatia, they are trying to use some of their methods here. The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) kept repeating: 'Is it or is it not due to Croatian terrorists?' Who else would do it?

Senator Hannan - Does the honourable senator know?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - No, I do not know. Let us have a reasonable guess.

Senator Hannan - Has the honourable senator any evidence?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I have not any evidence, but who would be doing it?

Senator Hannan - The honourable senator does not know.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Members of the Government would be the only people in Australia who would ask such a question. They say that the media is completely wrong; that each paper is against the Government and the Attorney-General. Everyone agrees on that. The Government says that the media is biased. That is its answer. That is all it can say. The media reflects the opinion of the country, and that is that there is is a terrorist organisation here. I do not care what we call it; there are individuals here who are terrorists.

Senator Gair - There are individuals in the painters and dockers union who are.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Forget the dockers. I am not interested in them.

Senator Gair - There have been 4 killings there.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - There may have been 4 killings there. That shows pretty poor police work when they cannot find the culprits. Those shootings have nothing to do with the bomb outrage. They are a separate entity and a separate problem - a problem that should be solved on its own.

The whole country, except the Democratic Labor Party and the Liberal Party, believes that the bombings are the work of a terrorist organisation. It may be just a few people, but it is a terrorist organisation. I do not care what we call it. It has to be stamped out before it goes any further. It is no good the Attorney-General saying-

Senator Gair - If the honourable senator were Prime Minister, what action would he take?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I would deport every Croatian who was on the suspect list. I could not care less.

Senator Hannan - That is a good attitude to adopt.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - The honourable senator wants me to be a dictator. I am prepared to be one.

Senator Hannan - The honourable senator reckons that they are fascists.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I did not say that they were fascists. I am trying to point out that here we have-

Senator Gair - The honourable senator is all talk.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - All right, I am all talk. The whole country is talk. I am saying exactly what the majority is saying.

Senator Wright - The honourable senator is saying it because he thinks the majority is saying it.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I do not think, 1 know. Go out and talk to them. Do not sit in your little office being a big Minister all the time and having your servants coming around saying: 'You are right Mr Minister'. So the Minister thinks he is right. Go out and talk to the people. If he does he will see that everyone agrees. Go out to the Press, which represents the people. When there is a unanimous-

Senator Hannan - They represent their shareholders.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Their shareholders? Are they on the side of the people? The honourable senator is bringing the Press into the dispute. The shareholders are supporting the Government, yet every newspaper in this country says this. When One gets a unanimous opinion on this, I am happy to think it is right. The opinion of the Attorney-General expressed by the Melbourne 'Herald' was: The other day upon the stair I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, oh how I wish he'd go away.'

Opposition Senators - The AttorneyGeneral has just re-entered the chamber.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - It is about time. He should have stayed in the chamber all the time for this debate. Do not accuse me of attacking him when he is not here. I cannot help if he is not here. I have been here long enough today to listen to the debate. Finally, we come to the Opposition's motion.

Senator Young - What about a little bit of police evidence?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - We would like police evidence. The whole of the population is waiting for some police evidence. There is no police evidence at all. Apparently the police are as incompetent in this regard as they are in trying to find this man, whatever his name is. Anybody else can find him, apparently; he can produce tapes and he can go to television shows, but the police cannot find him because they do not want to find him.

Senator Young - Which man?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I do not know his name; I am not even interested in him. I have cited him as an example. I support the motion, though I would prefer that the Government appoint a royal commission to investigate this matter. That is what is needed. But since we cannot order a royal commission from here I believe that if we support the motion it will force the Government to act because the moment the Senate sets up a committee to consider any subject at all, the Government promptly sets up a committee of its own to inquire into it. Senator Marriott interjected. I would like him to repeat his interjection because I may not have heard it correctly.

Senator Marriott - You said that every time this Senate sets up a committee, the Government sets up a committee of its own. That is not the truth.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - All right, it is not the truth-

Senator Marriott - Thank you.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - But it is partially the truth. Take the Repatriation Commission and the repatriation reference of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. When the Government knows that it is in the wrong, it knows it is to be attacked, it sets up a committee of its own. The same thing will happen in this case. If we pass this motion the Government will set up a royal commission as sure as fate. That is why 1 am supporting the motion. When the Government says that such a committee being formed by members of Parliament would not know what it was investigating, I recall that the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange did a good job, from the evidence I have heard. I have not seen that Committee's final report, hut it did a lot of investigating and asked many questions and it did a magnificent job. Therefore, why would not this proposed committee, on which the Government would have a loaded majority, also not do a good job? It is no good the Government saying that the committee would be an unsuitable vehicle for this inquiry. What is wrong with it? 1 would go further and urge the setting up of a royal commission. But if we cannot have a royal commission, then let us have this committee. Therefore I support the motion, and I hope to heaven that for a change we can get on with the job of this Parliament instead of trying to score political points as we so often do.

Senator Marriott - And you have lived with it.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I am not interested in the coming election. I am not standing for re-election and I could not care less.

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