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Wednesday, 28 March 1973
Page: 768

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Prime Minister aware of any personal association between the recent visit to Australia by the Yugoslavian Prime Minister and the Yugoslavian secret police? Does the Prime Minister accept that information collected by secret police and by governments overseas, particularly in communist countries, does not always accord with practices that we in Australia see as necessary and just? Is the Prime Minister prepared to assure this House that no action will be taken against any individual only on the basis of recommendations or advice tendered by overseas governments? Finally, does the Prime Minister agree that there being no other adequate evidence available as a result of the inquiries undertaken by the Labor Government, that is the reason why no prosecution has as yet been launched against any alleged Yugoslavian nationalist organisation?

Mr WHITLAM - I am not aware if there were any secret service people accompanying the Yugoslavian Prime Minister or, if there were, how many accompanied him. Any action taken by the Australian Government against any individuals or organisations will be taken as a result of the Australian Government's own assessments. Quite clearly any action that was taken in the courts would have to be on the basis of witnesses called in the courts. I do not want it to be thought that I approve of action against organisations in general terms. I do not subscribe automatically to guilt by association. The honourable member should not rush to the conclusion that there will be no prosecutions. Prosecutions which would appear to be justified on the facts as now disclosed might be a bit more difficult to launch than should be the case because our predecessors let the trails go cold.

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