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Tuesday, 10 April 1973
Page: 1221

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - I move:

That this House -

(a)   notes with concern the account, given by the Minister representing the Attorney-General in his statement of 27 March 1973, of terrorist activities carried out in Australia by certain Croatian groups;

(b)   commends the Government's efforts to bring such activities to an end; and

(c)   expresses its full confidence in and support for the Attorney-General in these efforts.

I have moved this motion so that 2 matters can be placed beyond all doubt. Firstly, I have complete confidence in the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy), the Government has complete confidence in the AttorneyGeneral; my party has complete confidence in the Attorney-General, who is also the Leader of the Australian Labor Party - the Australian Government - in the Senate. Secondly, I ask this House to assert its own authority and prestige. This House, and this House alone, determines who shall govern Australia. The state of the parties in this House determines which party shall form the Government and which party shall provide Ministers. It is only through this House and through the elections for this House that the will of the people as to their government and the members of that government can be expressed. No vote, no resolution in any place other than this House, has any effect whatsoever as to the fate of governments or to the fate of Ministers. By asserting our confidence in the AttorneyGeneral we are also asserting our own undoubted and unchallengeable rights as members of the House of Representatives.

Let me cut through the smoke screen raised by the Senate resolution and the antics of the leaders' of the Opposition - I put 'leaders' in the plural and inverted commas - over the last 2 weeks. The Government inherited 10 years of apathy towards the existence of terrorism in Australia and years of evasion and deceit about the very existence of such terrorism. I seek leave to table a document listing more than 50 incidents with connotations of violence within the Yugoslav community.

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