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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 304

Senator HANNAN (VICTORIA) - I direct a question to the Attorney-General as the Minister in charge of security. Is it a fact that the Yugoslav communist Embassy recently provided the Government with a list of names of Croatians who were alleged to have trained in terrorism in Australia and to have been killed in a raid in Yugoslavia? Was this information contained in a Yugoslav newspaper published in Sydney under the name of 'Nova Boda', which I understand means good news. Is it a fact that one of these names was that of Mr Andrija Lemic? Is it a fact that Mr Lemic is alive and well and living at Mount Gambier and that he dismisses the Embassy allegations as communist propaganda? Is this a fair sample of the credibility of reports emanating from the Yugoslav Embassy in Australia? I ask the Minister with reference to the ridiculous literature raids carried out by Commonwealth Police yesterday on Croatian homes, including a Catholic Presbytery, whether he will give- (Opposition senators interjecting.)

Senator HANNAN - I hear an honourable senator say that they probably went to confess. I do not see anything humorous in that.

The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! I have asked for silence during the asking of questions.

Senator HANNAN - Mr Acting President, if I may resume my question: I ask the Minister whether in respect of these raids he will give an assurance that any necessary interpretation of documents seized will not be carried out by interpreters suggested by the Yugoslav Embassy or by one Jurgan Jurjevic or any communist agent. Is it not a fact that the bulk of the literature seized is freely available on book stalls in Melbourne and other capital cities?

Senator GREENWOOD - It is a fact that the Yugoslav Ambassador recently delivered to the Minister for Foreign Affairs a document which I think is described as an aide memoire, in which the Yugoslav Government made certain allegations about the conduct of the Australian Government apropos activities of terrorists in Yugoslavia and what were alleged to- be activities of terrorists in this country. That document is now being examined by the Commonwealth Police. I understand from a Press report that a Yugoslav newspaper based in Sydney, named 'Nova Boda', did make an allegation that a Mr Andrija Lemic had been killed in Yugoslavia during these terrorist raids. I have not seen that newspaper or had any translation of it given to me, but I am assured that Mr Lemic is a person living in South Australia and obviously is not the person referred to in the newspaper account. As to whether that represents a fair sample of the Yugoslav assertion, I am unable to give a final or a complete answer pending completion of the examination of the allegations which were made in the aide memoire.

With regard to the other aspect of the honourable senator's question, I should say that in the searches carried out yesterday at a number of homes in Victoria and New South Wales a vast quantity of literature was seized. 1 am unable to say whether that literature is readily available in the bookstores because I have not received a report on the nature of that literature. But I should say that there have been Press reports, in particular in the Melbourne 'Age', on what occurred yesterday in the searches in Melbourne. Unfortunately that report is to be noted for its glaring inaccuracies. There was in fact no search of a church. There was a search of a presbytery. This was done after there had been consultation with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. A priest was present at all times while the search was being carried out by the police officers. State police officers as well as Commonwealth police officers were present at the time the searches were being made. The search was for documents and net, as the 'Age' alleged, for explosives.

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