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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 1087


Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) - 1 rise to try to bring a bit of temperate and factual discussion into this debate. I draw the attention of the Senate to Yugoslav members of the Australian community who visit the United States of America or North America in general. I specifically refer to the visits of Mr Kokic and, to a lesser degree, of Mr Rover. I and others have argued that the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) has not been as frank as he should have been in this area. We all know - Particularly Senator McManus and no doubt Senator Hannan - that since the 1920s North America has abounded with various Slav groups of various ideological inclinations. Many of these groups were formed as benefit associations before the Roosevelt era because of a lack of social service benefits. In the immediate post-war years some of these groups changed their aims.

The Labor Party is vitally concerned - and Senator Garrick referred to this - about whether by definition these groups are benefit associations or are Ustasha or Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood type organisations, as was mentioned by Senator James McClelland yesterday. The Labor Party is concerned about the aims of these groups. It is concerned about the transcript to which Senator O'Byrne referred. We want to know what are the aims of the associations. We want to be told the aims of the associations in Latin America or North America that were visited by people such as Mr Kokic and Mr Rover. Honourable senators opposite may say that they are only benefit societies. I have said that some of them are. Tt is quite obvious - and I throw this directly at the Attorney-General - that nothing could be said if Mr Rover and Mr Kokic went overseas on friendly society work. But obviously Mr Rover was engaged on some nefarious work; otherwise his passport would not have been taken from him by the Australian Government. This is the crux of my argument and I shall continue to hammer it. I want the Attorney-General to tell me why Mr Rover's passport was withdrawn. This is why I link Mr Kokic with these activities.

I did not come into the Senate to talk about this gentleman. However, well over 12 months ago I gave the Minister for

Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) an opportunity to explain just what Mr Kokic's role was in the Commonwealth Department of Labour and National Service. I did not go to the Press seeking headlines on this matter. I visited Endeavour House and other hostels in Victoria with the Labor Party's immigration committee. Staff people came up to me. I had this material evaluated before I wrote to the Minister for Labour and National Service. After all, people's work was concerned. I shall be giving honourable senators a fair, full report of what transpired. They told me that Mr Kokic dealt with job placements and the standard technique, which I have quoted before in relation to Mr Lesic, was that he would ask: 'Are you a Yugoslav or are you a Croat?' I was told that if they said they were Yugoslav he would question them about their political outlook. Therefore the work placements may not have been as good as they could have been.

I did not go to the Press with this story. I wrote to the Minister and he disputed it. He claimed that Mr Kokic did not have that power at Geelong and other places. This comes back to the link I am suggesting now. If Mr Rover went to North America, it is obvious that some of these revolutionary and semi-revolutionary operations caused the authorities here under the AttorneyGeneral to feel that he was an embarrassment to this country. In Mr Kokic's case it was not simply a matter of going over on a benefits society matter. The Minister for Labour and National Service raised that matter. He said: 'If a Liberal man here went to a Conservative group in Britain or if a Labor man here went to the Social Democrats should he be debarred from the Public Service?' I say no, he should not. I am pointing out the Minister's reluctance to explain why Mr Rover's passport was withdrawn. From the transcript that was provided tonight it is impossible for me to say that Mr Kokic could have been in the Public Service in the same area. I do not have any xenophobia about that. We all have inner prejudices. The point I am making is that there is no doubt that, according to the oaths and obligations of the society - forgetting the bombs - in his eyes it was infra dig for a person to say 'I am a Yugoslav' if he came from Croatia. That is the temperate argument I am advancing to the Minister tonight.

I want to deal with 2 points that Senator Carrick made when he manned the battlements. He spoke about migrants and their feelings about liberation. I went along with that to some degree. I even went along with something Senator McManus said about drawing the line. But as my colleague Senator Devitt said, that line should be made perfectly clear. Having said that, where Senator Carrick and probably all Government supporters are culpable - I will deal with the inconsistency of the Democratic Labor Party as well - is that the Government accepted diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia. I advocated that, not because I am a Marxist but because I thought that our foreign policy was showing some maturity. I am certain that Senator Carrick was a powerful man in the Liberal Party, either at State Council or Federal Council level. The effect of diplomatic ties with eastern European countries must have been discussed. At some point that was the bite of the bullet.

There is no doubt that some of these migrants feel that the Government has let them down. At some stage the Government has to say: 'It is bad luck, chum. We have to look at the matter in its proper perspective.' That is where the Liberal Party has had its difficulties. The proof of it came out when Senator Carrick boasted about his organisation. I think it is senseless to emulate the boast in that song 'Anything you can do I can do better'. That is the line the Government is taking. When the crunch came and spearheaded the policy of portability of social service pensions, the Government was in a jam. Senator Kane, about 8 members of the Labor Party and a vast number of migrants attended the monster rally at the Paddington Town Hall. The migrants said that they felt that the Liberal Party had used them. When I asked what they meant by 'used you' they said: 'When there is an open seat and the Labor Party is a certainty and the Liberals cannot win, they offer the candidacy to a New Australian'. From the statistics one can see that in seats like Sydney and Chifley the Liberals ran candidates like that; they threw them to the wolves. I do not think it is fair to anybody. That is the point I make.

The other point is that the Government has played politics on this matter. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) usually runs a pretty tight ship. He is no fool. But the Government has tried to jam things. This morning I asked a legitimate question to which the Department of Foreign Affairs could have given an answer within an hour. In view of the wrangle that Senator Hannan engaged in, I said rightly: Is it not a logical conclusion - this has been the motivation of the Government's original diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia - that if an infinitesimal minority of the Yugoslav community has its way and becomes linked with some subversion in Yugoslavia and a fragmentation develops then Rijeka and all these other Adriatic ocean ports could be made available to the Red fleet and it is quite possible that the power balance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries will be distorted.

I know that some of my colleagues say that that is an extreme view. Of course it is. But it is the Liberal Party's stock in trade to talk about power balances. It amazed me when Senator Wright, who has a good working knowledge of foreign affairs, said in answer to a question that he wanted to obtain a reply in depth. He knows in his heart that if I was at the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and I asked a top officer that question he would have answered in the affirmative. I know that Senator Wright is an astute parliamentarian. He did not want to give that answer because I would have drawn the justifiable conclusion from it that we have to look at world politics and that it was a setback to some of the extreme elements of the Croatian community. I lay the position on the line. These are the facts. This is the thing that worries us. It is not a case of burrowing unnecessarily. The plain fact of the matter is that this is the type of situation that he developed. Senator O'Byrne referred to this newspaper. Senator Greenwood could have said at some time: I have looked at this mass of material. There is nothing here that is seditious or inflammatory'.

As a matter of fact, I agree with Senator Carrick and his comments about publishers who inflame people. But I know, as does the honourable senator, that in some parts of Europe people have been born in bloody circumstances. I agree with him. There is a double reason why some of these editors have to be cooled off. If we are to unburden the facts of what happened in Senator Carrick's Party and my Party, I could state what happened on a number of occasions. I am sure that the people involved will not mind my repeating the story because some of them could have been political acquaintances of the honourable senator. At one State election the Labor Party did not have as much money as the Liberal Party. We had to decide in what ethnic groups we would advertise. Make no mistake about it; like the Liberal Party, we advertised in some of the bigger newspapers. In the Yugoslav community we had to choose between the 'Yugoslav-Australian Journal' and a newspaper called 'Zar' which means glow. Mr Ubantick and Mr Menart are men who, while I do not say they are members of the Liberal Party, are active and prominent supporters of it in many ways. We made a simple choice. The editor of the Yugoslav-Australian Journal' had always insisted on balance and objectivity. Sometimes taking a centre position is not a popular posture. We told the other newspaper that we would not give it any advertising. Since then, it has gone out of circulation. The yardstick that we applied was the type of editorial, which we had monitored. This is the point I am making: I have never said that every conservative is a fascist or that every radical is a communist. This is an area in which far too many people jump the gun.

As Senator Carrick would know from his service in World War II, people of Yugoslav origin living in Western Australia served in that war and might even have received a Victoria Cross - many of them have also served in other fields such as the sporting field - but those people have never indulged in stupid escapades designed to change the boundaries of Europe again. It is true that people have nostalgic memories. There is no doubt that that is true in many areas. But there is no reason why Senator Greenwood would not have been able to plough through these newspapers and launch prosecutions for the utterances that have been comparable to the situations when Labor Party Attorneys-General have had to do unpleasant things. If ever a man was traduced in this country, it was Doctor Evatt. When he had honest feelings about the matter during the period of the cold war, which is not like the situation today, he prosecuted Lance Sharkey. It might be said that historians will say: ''What did Sharkey say?' I am dealing with realities. I say this to Senator Greenwood: If he can offer me an alternative to Dr Evatt's prosecution of Sharkey and against people of the extreme right, we will say that he is applying equal standards. I refuse to believe that, after getting monitored accounts since 1963, there is not one paragraph in one of those newspapers that the Attorney-General or his predecessors could have used to bring this matter out into the open. The position is that the whole situation has been glossed over. I want to be very fair tonight to the Attorney-General. It is not that I am grovelling to him, but I have been under extreme provocation from Senator Carrick.

I have a mass of papers in front of me from a Hungarian called Ivan Szabo of 1/516 Sydney Road, Balgowlah. I wish to say at the outset, Mr President, that I do not intend to make the Senate a bear garden; I would like simply to table a letter from him complaining about certain problems. I say quite sincerely to Senator Carrick that this man left the Liberal Party because he felt that Sir Robert Askin was uncharitable to him over a landlord and tenancy matter. I am simply going to table the letter, and not embellish on it. I just want to combat Senator Carrick's implication that everyone who joins the Liberal Party's Migrant Advisory Council reckons he gets 100 per cent support. I am not blaming Senator Carrick, but in order to defend the Labor Party and myself I have been forced to table this letter in the Senate to show that as many Liberal supporters as Labor supporters get disenchanted with their Party. I could have made a lot out of this publicly. I would not have drawn it to attention but for the fact that Senator Carrick tried to make out that the Labor Party has done nothing for migrants or that the Government has been better than the Labor Party in its treatment of migrants. I table this letter and I ask that it be included in Hansard, Mr President.


The PRESIDENT - Order! Firstly I wish to settle a point of procedure. Senator

Mulvihill, you cannot table a document on your own initiative. You can do so only if somebody asks for it to be tabled.


Senator MULVIHILL - I apologise, Mr President. I ask that this letter from Ivan Szabo be incorporated in Hansard at the conclusion of my speech.


Senator Wright - How long is it?


Senator MULVIHILL - Three pages.


The PRESIDENT - Senator Mulvihill,you will recall that I have given a ruling that some control should be exercised over the quality of matter that is incorporated in Hansard. Therefore, I think I should have a look at the letter before asking whether leave is granted for its incorporation in Hansard.


Senator Wright - I would also like to see it before saying whether leave is granted.


The PRESIDENT - I will ask at a later stage whether leave is granted as I understand that Senator Douglas McClelland is anxious to catch my attention. I call Senator Douglas McClelland.







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