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Wednesday, 4 March 1970

Mr GORTON (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Prime Minister) - Answering the last part of the question first, my understanding - and it can be no more than an understanding since it is based on my understanding of legal advice - is that the laws in fact have been altered to make an offence of matters which previously the laws did not cover. But I will take up with the AttorneyGeneral the question of whether any further amendment is required in that direction. In relation to the man of whom the honourable member is speaking, there is no doubt, and it is a matter of public record, that he lived with the enemy behind the enemy lines in wartime on an occasion when Australian troops were engaged in that war. There is no question but that he engaged in propaganda activities which were designed to be and which were helpful to the enemy in that time of war, and there is no question but that he visited prisoner of war camps, run in many cases under the most barbarous conditions by the enemy, in which Australian troops were incarcerated. I believe there is evidence that on those visits he engaged in discussions with Australian troops which would be calculated to lower their morale and their belief in the cause for which they were fighting. That is sufficient for this Government to say that we do not believe that man should be provided with a passport, asking Australian posts to assist him, and I see no prospect whatever of that approach being changed.

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