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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 998


Senator MURPHY - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I notice from the Commonwealth Police report that there is a currency squad, a specialist unit of the force, for dealing with currency matters. Can the Attorney-General tell us whether, in view of the long history of terrorist attacks in Australia and the harassment referred to in the official documents of the Department of External Affairs - now the Department of Foreign Affairs - there has been established a squad to deal with these terrorist activities in Australia? If there has not, will he tell us how many police have been engaged in investigating these terrorist activities in Australia, how many are presently engaged upon it and whether he has taken any steps, in view of the latest outrage, to have police specially deployed to deal with such terrorism?


Senator GREENWOOD - There is a certain unreality about Senator Murphy's approach to this matter. In the first place, when he talks of terrorist activities he is using an adjectival expression which covers bombing outrages, assaults, killings and all the particular acts which have specific legal prohibitions and which we all regard as very serious. The word 'terrorist' comprehends specific acts. The laws relating to murder, the laws relating to the use of explosives, and the laws relating to conspiracy in relation to explosives and possession of them are all State laws. I am sure that on reflection Senator Murphy recognises that. If there are breaches of State laws it is the function of the State police to investigate those breaches. It is only after investigations have been carried out and some information is available that one is able to say whether there was a political motivation or a personal motivation and whether there is any element of what is essentially a crime which the State police must investigate or which would attract the broader national interest which the Commonwealth recognises. Again, 1 am sure that Senator Murphy accepts that.


Senator Murphy - I know that there is a Federal Crimes Act. I know that there are laws to protect diplomats and others. I know that there are plenty of laws to protect the Yugoslav Government, its representatives and its property from being harassed in this way. It seems to me that you are not doing anything about it but are leaving it to the State police.


Senator GREENWOOD - I accept what Senator Murphy has said, but in regard to those things which have happened in the past in relation to consulates and embassies there have been joint investigation and cooperative effort by Commonwealth and State police. The recent incident which occurred in Sydney did not take place on Government premises or on consulate premises; it took place in private business premises which were occupied or owned by persons who have a Yugoslav background. In those circumstances it is essentially a matter for State police investigation. As I have said here before, the Commonwealth police have a central crime intelligence bureau which has, as a particular facet of its work, the development and collation of intelligence with regard to emigre communities. A tremendous amount of information is fed into this bureau by al] State police forces about matters affecting these migrant communities, matters which have some relevance in terms of past criminal activities by members of a migrant community and possible leads for investigation with regard to future criminal activities if they should occur. That material is collated and maintained by the Commonwealth Police Force. Until there are matters which come quite clearly within the Commonwealth. Crimes Act, until, there are matters which do affect Australia's international standing because they affect consulates and embassies essentially, or unless fIle matter happens in one of the Territories, where the Northern Territory Police Force or the Australian Capital Territory Police Force would be concerned, it is more a matter for the State police forces than the Commonwealth Police Force. I am satisfied that there is an effective working relationship between the Commonwealth police and the State police, that information is interchanged and that that is what the community expects.







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