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Thursday, 22 November 1973

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) - I wish to take up a few moments of the Senate's time to approve very strongly of the remarks of Senator Greenwood and Senator McManus in relation to the Croatian tragedy. It is abundantly clear from questions which we have asked in this place and the answers which we have been given that the enormous police raids of early April were a farce, a disaster and a negation of democracy in this country. Because the matter is at present before the Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians I do not propose to refer to actual evidence from Hansard but I intend to refer to police evidence which has been printed in the daily Press. It is abundantly clear from this evidence that the New South Wales Police and the Commonwealth Police are staffed entirely by angels and archangels. They were so clean in the matters in which they involved themselves. Everything, according to the police evidence, pointed to these wicked people doing the most terrible things, and after 69 nouses were raided we have the piffling result which Senator Greenwood has just itemised in detail. Most of the convictions were for things which have nothing to do with terrorism. They were simple criminal activities. If the Government were genuinely interested in terrorism- I do not believe that it is; it is a political fraud and a political ramp-it would have taken some action when a self professed practising terrorist came into this country. Let us have a look at the Government's record in regard to 3 of these people. Tariq Ali is a self professed practising Arab terrorist. He came to Australia about 6 or 8 weeks ago; I cannot remember the exact date. He was admitted into Australia without a moment's hesitation or delay and he expressed his delight on television and said: Every other country I go to I have to go through a couple of hours' interrogation because they know my terrorist record '.

Senator Wright - On the ABC, of course.

Senator HANNAN - I do not recall which television channel I was watching at the time. I was very surprised at this Government, which is determined to stamp out terrorism which has people raiding innocent Australian homes at five in the morning and enters other homes without a warrant and then says it was invited. 1 would have thought that a government of that type would have said that Tariq Ali would not be allowed into the country. But he was and he attempted to spread his terrorist ideas here and to collect money. Was he apprehended? Did the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation chase him? Not as far as I know. Did the Commonwealth Police arrest him? Did the Commonwealth Police question him about anything? Not as far as Tariq Ali is concerned. Not as far as his interview on television is concerned.

Let us leave Tariq Ali. Perhaps the omnipotent surveillance of the Commonwealth Government missed Tariq Ali, but it could not miss Herbert Zvogbo This gentleman is a self professed terrorist from Rhodesia. He is one of the freedom fighters; one of the people who cross the borders of Rhodesia and murder black women and children. This character arrives in Australia and announces that he has come to raise money for terrorist activities in Rhodesia. Is he banned? He is not. Is he investigated? He is not. What happens? The Government invites him to the Surfers' Paradise orgy up on our Sunshine Coast where the Labor Party is meeting in the middle of the winter. Herbert Zvogbo says that he went along to see the Leader of the Government in this place (Senator Murphy) and also the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). After some discussions with these 2 honourable gentlemen what happened? Almost a full page photograph appeared of Zvogbo in the 'Australian'. He announcedand this has never been rebutted because I have a question on notice which was asked weeks ago and has not been answered- that the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General had told him that they would do all in their power to help to overthrow the regime in Rhodesia. I ask honourable senators to mark the word 'overthrow'. That does not sound like the use of constitutional means, does it?

Senator Durack - Could that be a breach of section 30 of the Crimes Act?

Senator HANNAN - Well, it is a matter which can be investigated but I would hate to see the Attorney-General arraigned because I have such tender feelings towards him. What happened when Zvogbo put this forward? It has never been contradicted. So, we now have a Prime Minister and an Attorney-General who are committed to the overthrow, presumably by violence, of a regime in Rhodesia. One of the usual tales trotted out when anything is mentioned of this nature is that Rhodesia is an illegal regime. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence has been in existence in Rhodesia about 8 years now and the Government is still referred to by the Attorney-General and members of his Government as an illegal regime. Chairman Mao and his offsider helped to overthrow the successor to Dr Sun Yat-sen on the mainland of China a little over 20 years ago but that is not an illegal regime. It was done by force, violence, subversion and the normal method of communist activity. But that becomes a legal government and we have our Prime Minister slobbering over him. He came back here and announced that no country more closely symbolises Australia's ideas than does that of this murdering gang which now reigns in Peking.

I want to refer again for a moment to the selective indignation which this Government has in directing its instrumentalities. I have referred to the savage travesty of the Croatian persecutions. I had occasion a few weeks ago to address the Captive Nations Organisation in Sydney. This meeting was attended by about 2,000 people. Naturally it did not get any covereage from the gentlemen of the Press because the 2,000 people who attended did not smash one window, they did not prod one police horse and they did not explode one stink bomb. It was an absolutely lawful meeting and they made their point. Had this been a meeting of the type supported by honourable senators opposite at which there are fights with the police it would have received tremendous coverage. I went to Adelaide about a month ago to speak to a meeting of the Captive Nations Organisation. On Saturday of last week I spoke, as did my friend Senator McManus, to the Captive Nations assemblage in Melbourne.

I take no small pride in the fact that Senator McManus and I received the Order of Knighthood from the Polish Government in exile. This is a government that stood behind our troops when the Nazis and their pals were doing the best they could to stamp them out. Honourable senators opposite might remember what the Polish Government in exile did at Tobruk, Monte Cassino and at other places. The record of that Government would wipe the smile off their faces. I have been distracted for a moment. The point 1 want to make is this: Having addressed these law abiding citizens who loathe, hate and detest communism because they have experienced it, and having seen for myself that the meeting was conducted in a lawful and orderly manner, we found that on the Monday the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, from the AttorneyGeneral's Department, descended upon the Chairman to ask questions about this subversive gathering. ASIO wanted to see the constitution of the Captive Nations people. If this had been a communist show dealing in subversion, treachery and all that is vile, they would have ignored it.

Senator McManus - The President of the Senate has attended some of the gatherings of this organisation.

Senator HANNAN - That is right. This organisation had the backing of President Eisenhower, President Kennedy and President Johnson. It has the backing of President Nixon. All of these men made no bones about their attitude towards this organisation. But because we had our meeting in Melbourne ASIO descended upon the Polish Chairman. I merely mention that because later on we will have an opportunity of debating the Bill on human rights. I do not want to transgress by referring to what is contained in that Bill, but I simply say what a lot of humbug it is because for 23 years under a democratic government we did not need such legislation; for 23 years there was no call for it. Our rights were never impugned because we had a democratic government. I will not go into the activities of comrade Chitepo who is a self professed black" terrorist from southern Africa. When this person came to Australia he was allowed to go around, to make speeches and to collect money. He was allowed to do so because this Government has an obsession to the point, one might say, of oleaginous servility and obsequiousness towards what it calls anti-racism. To my way of thinking a man is a murderer whether he is black, vhite , brown or brindle. If a self-professed murdering type comes here I do not think he should be admitted.

Senator Gair - There are a few down in Melbourne in the dockyards.

Senator HANNAN - I do not propose to traverse that line of territory just for the moment, senator.

Senator McLaren - You will, have plenty of time at this time next year to traverse anything you want to.

Senator HANNAN - Well, do not anticipate that with such delight. I want now to draw attention to an economic matter. I want to appeal to the Government, having given it some mild criticism in that matter, and to direct it along a more constructive line. I want to ask the Government even at this late hour to reverse the disastrous decision made by my own Government and followed by this Government in regard to the implementation of the metric system of weights and measures. Evidence of the introduction of this system is appearing day by day in shops, commercial houses and on the farm. It appears more and more that the change to this system will be disastrous and that absolutely no benefit will accrue from it. We should not be dictated to by some other countries which measure their goods and distances in the metric fashion. Is it suggested seriously that if Japan wants our minerals it will not buy them if they are not sold in tonnes? I am not sure how one pronounces that peculiar French word.

We have been conned into accepting this system. We were told that certain advantages would accrue. I do not doubt for one minute that when it comes to doing a few sums at school the children will find that the metric system is much easier than the present one. But the point I raise is this: Has an estimation been made of the millions, the hundreds of millions or perhaps the thousands of millions of dollars that this conversion will cost or of the benefit that will accrue to the nation as a result of this conversion? Is it any easier to buy a 740-millilitre bottle of beer than it is to buy a 26 oz bottle? Recently when I went into my little local milk bar and asked for a 740-millilitre bottle of lemonade I had to assist the shopkeeper to find a bottle of that size.

According to the dairymen in Victoria the price of milk will go up by approximately 12 per cent simply because of the conversion to the metric system in that industry. The other day in the Senate I dealt with the increase in the cost of postage that has resulted partly from the conversion to the metric system and of course partly from the Budget measures of the Government. I pointed out that if one wants to check whether a letter weighs over 20 grams, which is the standard postage rate, one has to buy a 1-gram weight. But the problem is that these weights cannot be purchased. Mr Deputy President, you know from your scientific endeavours how tiny a 1-gram weight is. You may know that weights of this size are available only from scientific instrument shops and that one has to pay $38 for a weight of this size. I could give many examples of how the metric system is conning this country into unnecessary expense. I could tell the Senate how this system is spurring on inflation. Certainly it is not bringing about the benefits that were promised.

I ask the Minister who is in charge of this matter to tell us what benefit the country has received from our distances being measured in kilometres? Can he tell us whether it is any easier to say that Sydney is 264 kilometres, I think it is, from Canberra rather than 189 miles? Who is going to pull up all the mile posts and put in kilometre posts? Who is going to change all of the yards, feet and inches on the millions of titles to land in this country? Will this be done at once or will it be done as new titles are issued? Innumerable economic problems will result from this change. Indeed, we could put the entire Public Service to the task of arranging our metric conversion. But now that we have decided to take this step, what benefit does the country receive from this change? The farmer has trouble in measuring quantities. I have had a look at some of the arguments put forward in favour of metrication but I have not been able to find any benefit which is consistent with the amount of money that it will cost to change over to this system. For example, the cost of a skein of wool has increased as a result of the changeover. It is estimated that the cost will increase by 1 5 per cent. Why? Simply because it is subject to metric measure.

The Government has expressed tremendous interest in curbing inflation. It has talked a great deal about it but it has not done a great deal about it. It has set up the Prices Justification Tribunal, which it knew would not work and which we knew would not work. It has changed the exchange rate and made a few other gestures. I am now asking the Government to turn back before it is too late. I know we have spent thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars already in partly converting to the metric system. Punters do not know what is happening. When the commentator says '800 metres to go', they do not know how far away the horses are. This is a matter which has to be learned over a lifetime and we will receive from conversion no benefit to compensate for the enormous waste of time, energy and money spent on it. I appeal to the Government to turn back. We are on the brink. Turn back before it is too late.

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