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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 928

Senator GREENWOOD - Senator Mulvihill said: 'But the bombings have been accelerated. That is why'. As I understand it, 2 bombs have exploded since that Press statement was released. They were the regrettable incidents in Sydney on Saturday. Surely if Senator Mulvihill were being objective, he would not disagree with what I said. I have said: 'Let us get the facts. Let the police conclude their investigations in this matter before one comes to a conclusion that there is a political motivation behind these bombings'. There may well be. I am not denying that. Who knows? When we get the result of that investigation there will be further material upon which judgments can be made. My concern, because I think it is the way I should approach my task, is to ascertain what that evidence is, to reveal the results of this searching for evidence and to make it clear. But we must recognise that if we start with a preconceived view that any bombing which takes place must be Croatian in origin and must be designed in some curious way to promote the aims of Croatian nationalism--

Senator Little - We finish up with concentration camps when we agree with that philosophy; we have no alternative.

Senator GREENWOOD - That may be so. I cannot say. If honourable senators opposite start with a preconceived view, which I believe so many members of the Opposition do, they will get the result they want. They will find it very difficult to accept any contrary evidence.

The only other point I wish to make relates to the allegation that in some way Australia has been guilty of failing to meet its obligations under international law. That matter is referred to in Senator Murphy's motion. It states that the Committee should inquire whether, in relation to Yugoslavia, Australia has failed to observe the requirements of international law and the comity between nations in respect of terrorist activity. The only basis upon which that matter could be referred to the Committee because of the need for the matter to be inquired into is if we do not accept the general statement which has been made that the Government has no knowledge of these training camps and terrorist bases of which the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia speaks. If we had knowledge of those things I think we would be acting contrary to international law in not taking action. It is not possible to state categorically what the international law on this subject is. Recent activities in the Middle East, where reprisals have taken place, do not make the international law position any clearer.

If one turns to the text writers on international law, which really is where one has to turn, certain tentative conclusions can be made. In the first place it is the duty of any state to recognise and not to impair the rights of other states. This basic obligation was well established by the International Court of Justice in 1949 in the Corfu Channel case. It is a concept based upon the elementary considerations of humanity. The majority of the Court in that case stated that every State was under an obligation - and these are the words used - not to allow knowingly its territory to be used for acts contrary to the rights of other States.

Secondly, the Court said, the principle of non-intervention by one State in the affairs of another State forms the basis for the nile that a State must not coerce another State by organising hostile expeditions or allow acts calculated to impair the authority of another sovereign State to take place on its territory. A State must also be regarded as offending international law by allowing seditious elements from other States, or its own residents, to organise rebellion in friendly States. If one refers to Professor Lauterpacht, he takes the view that the only duty is one to suppress such subversive activity against foreign governments as assumes the form of armed hostile expeditions or attempts to commit common crimes against life. That possibly is too narrow a view, because I think other writers have suggested, particularly in the light of developments in recent years, that there should be a more onerous duty upon a State than that suggested by Professor Lauterpacht. It may not require the suppression of revolutionary propaganda or even revolutionary activity by private individuals, not amounting to a direct and immediate threat to the security of another State. However, once a government has notice of activities designed to train terrorists and of plans to subvert a recognised government if may be considered that a duty arises to suppress such activities.

Unquestionably the Government of this country accepts this proposition and would hope that other countries throughout tha world would similarly accept the same proposition. But where does this come to? It comes to the question whether we should accept allegations made by the President and the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia as having a basis in fact notwithstanding that our investigation of those allegations in Australia has proved that the allegations are without such a basis. Simply, it comes down to this: Does this Senate accept what is alleged by the President and the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia in preference to what our own Commonwealth Police have found and what I have stated? That is the simple issue. I do not believe that this Senate should be asked to sit in judgment on that issue.

I have provided sufficient, I think, to indicate to the Senate not only that a committee of the Senate is a highly inappropriate body to conduct this inquiry and not only is the time inappropriate and likely to cause problems for other investigations which are being carried out, but also that on a factual basis there is no reason for supposing that what is alleged by Yugoslavia has any foundation in the light of the investigations which have been so painstakingly carried out by the police and which have not been given support to these allegations of training ranges, storage places for weapons and subversive material for criminal activity against Yugoslavia. I hope the Senate will emphatically reject the resolution.

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