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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 991

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - What action does the Attorney-General propose to take regarding a strongly worded editorial in today's 'Age' attacking his policy of being soft on political extremism and equivocal on law and order? In view of the accusations that the Attorney-General was talking self-deluding nonsense by comparing infrequent union violence with the murderous activities of extremist Croatian nationals -

The PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator has been in the Senate long enough to know how to phrase a question without giving information.

Senator O'BYRNE - I ask: Will the Minister give an answer to the serious accusations against his competence contained in this editorial?

Senator GREENWOOD - I read with interest the 'Age' editorial. I think it is fair enough to say that anyone who searches through the 'Age' editorials in the past will see that I am not exactly a person for whom the 'Age' editorial writers have any time. This is not the first time that I have been the subject of accusations in 'Age' editorials based upon inadequate knowledge and in some cases, as in this case, a refusal to look at the record. I think that Senator O'Byrne will recall that yesterday the same allegation that I was soft on ter rorism was made in this chamber and that I emphatically repudiated that allegation by referring to the record which contains many statements which I have made and which are the direct opposite of any such suggestion or accusation. I referred to statements which I have made in this chamber on the subject of terrorism, and I referred particularly to what was said on 11th or 12th April in this chamber following bomb explosions in Melbourne. I do not think that anyone could have made his position clearer than I did on that occasion. I have subsequently made Press statements in which I have made emphatically clear that the Government does not tolerate terrorism of any character in this country and that we shall do all in our power to stamp it out. For the editorial in the 'Age' to say this morning that I am soft on such organisations and to make a host of other allegations, which are totally unfounded, reflects the inadequacy, the prejudice and the incompetence as editorial writers of a leading Australian newspaper of those who write in the 'Age'. I welcome the opportunity which Senator O'Byrne has given me to state forthrightly that the 'Age' editorial is a slanted, prejudiced piece of nonsense.

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