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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 929


Senator MCMANUS (Victoria) - The Democratic Labor Party is firmly opposed to terrorism and violence wherever they occur, whether among migrants or in the trade unions. We have the utmost sympathy for those people who may suffer as a result of terrorism and violence, and we will give full support to any measures which the Government may think necessary to stamp out terrorism and violence. That has always been the attitude of the Democratic Labor Party. I have rarely had to raise this matter among migrant groups, because migrant groups have a proud record of adherence to the law. Some years ago an investigation carried out by a committee which included representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions reported that among migrants there was, if anything, a little less crime than among Australian born citizens. On the very few occasions when it may have been necessary for me to speak to migrants about the possibility of violence, I have always urged them to keep the law, not to resort to violence but to observe the law whatever may have been their feelings towards other groups in the community.

I regret that Dr Cairns has in another place suggested that the Democratic Labor Party may have been in sympathy with violence. I would merely say to the doctor that it is on record that he has said that if you do not believe that a law is right, you have the right to disobey it, you have the right to break the law. He led demonstrations of thousands of people who had been instructed to break the law by obstructing the public streets. Then after several of these demonstrations had been held he learned that they were leading to violence, that police were being spat on and described as pigs. When he learned what was happening in these demonstrations he professed regret and attempted to dissociate himself from them. But once you embark upon that course it is very difficult indeed to dissociate yourself from the consequences of urging other people to break the law. The advice the DLP might offer to migrant groups or to other groups in the community is this: The law should be obeyed, terrorism and violence should be completely foreign to our country.

Only on Thursday last I led a deputation of Croats from sporting organisations to meet the Attorney-General. They desired to place before him their detestation of disorder. They assured him that the persons concerned were not associated with their organisations and that they were prepared to co-operate in every possible way with Commonwealth and State authorities to prevent this disorder. I believe that that is the attitude of 98 per cent of the Croatian people in this country. They are good people, law-abiding people opposed to violence.


Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - We agree with that.


Senator McMANUS - I am pleased to hear from Senator James McClelland that he too feels that 98 per cent of Croatians in this country are worthy people. Regarding the motion that has been moved by Senator Murphy, I appreciate that his Party takes a serious view of some of the recent happenings and that it felt action should be taken. However, my Party does not believe that a Senate committee is an appropriate body to deal with allegations of this character. From what we saw at question time today I have little doubt that reference of this matter to a Senate committee would result in a senatorial donnybrook which would do little credit to either side. I accept the attitude of the Attorney-General, that police investigations are now taking place both at the Commonwealth and State levels and that we should at least await a report from those police forces, and possibly action. We have all read reports in the Press of raids upon premises and of the possibility of arrests. Therefore, in all of these circumstances, I think we ought to wait to see the picture fully and properly before we determine the action we should take here. Even Senator Murphy envisages that action to refer the matter to a Senate committee could possi bly be premature. He has suggested that should it be found that a more appropriate way would be an inquiry or a royal commission by a judge, then he would be prepared to make way for such an inquiry.

The attitude of my Party is that we feel that the result of the investigation should be awaited and when we receive the report, if it is unsatisfactory, if it does not indicate that there is full knowledge of what is happening, or if it suggests that the matter is not being dealt with properly, we will be prepared to support a royal commission under a judge. I think that in a matter such as this it is necessary sometimes to refer to history. I think that it is necessary to go back possibly to 1916 when President Wilson issued that statement which electrified many of the peoples of Europe. He said that in bringing about peace, peoples and provinces were not to be bartered away from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were chattels and pawns in a game - even the great game of the balance of power. But before he entered the scene a secret treaty had been made in London between Tzarist Russia, France, Britain and Italy.

Under the secret treaty of London, Croatia and Slovenia were to be divided between Italy and Serbia. Therefore, the job was done before the representatives of those who believed that government should be by consent of the governed even had been allowed to arrive at the peace table. That was done in defiance of the wishes of the Croatian people who desired to be independent but who, if they had been forced to unite with another country, would have preferred Austria. They were forcibly incorporated in a state which was was given the new name of Yugoslavia. Of course, there is no such thing as a Yugoslavian any more than a man born in Great Britain is a United Kingdomer. There are English, Welsh, Scots and Irish. In the same way, the people who were forcibly incorporated in the new state without regard to the wishes of most of them were Serbs, Croats, Slavs, Albanians, Dalmatians, Italians and several other races. Therefore, they were not incorporated in this new state by their own consent. They were incorporated by force for 2 reasons. Firstly, because it was desired to break up the Austro-Hungarian empire. Secondly - and this is a reason which weighed very strongly - it was desired to reward the Serbian people for their herioic sacrifices during the war.

Of course, what resulted from such an illmatched union was continual trouble and problems. The Serbs distrusted the Croats. For that reason the Serbs maintained complete control of the Government and they rejected the demands of the Croats for autonomy within a federal republic. There were continual problems. As an indication of the kind of thing that was happening, let me read from a history of the time, an account of an eye witness of a happening in the parliament of Yugoslavia. A man called Racic who was opposed to the Croats ran towards the tribune. The author says:

The Minister of Justice, Vujcic, who sat close to the tribune, jumped up and seized Racic's right hand, but Racic hurled him back and simultaneously fired at Pernar-

He was a Croat member - a few feet away. Without a sound Pernar fell to the floor . . . After the first shot, Gjuro Basaricek, whose place had been at the stenographer's table near the tribune, dashed at Punisa Racic trying to grab his hand, but Racic faster, aimed sideways at this right shoulder, not half a foot from the gun, and killed him instantly. Then, wilh a swift turn Racic pointed the deadly weapon at Radic.

He was the leader of the Croatian Party. The account continues:

The latter's left hand neighbour, Grandja, intervened and was trying to push our President under the bench, when he received the third shot into his left arm. Instinctively he withdrew it, and a fourth shot, closely following the third, hit Radic in the abdomen. The leader's nephew, Pavle Radic, had been standing outside the hall when he heard the first shot. Alarmed, he came running to his uncle's side and, screening him from Punisa Rack: received the fifth ball, shot into his back . . .

He died instantly. A few years later, King Alexander of Yugoslavia was murdered whilst on a visit to France. One must realise that there are grave problems associated always with any attempt to force people into a government which they do not want to join and which they believe refuses to give them ordinary and elementary rights. That is the background of the present situation. When the Second World War broke out the Croats divided into several groups. Some of them were associated with Pavelic who became the leader of the Ustasha. Others, such as the writer of this book, Dr Macek, the head of the Croatian

Peasant Party, refused to associate with the Germans, the Italians or the Ustasha. He spent the last part of the war - several years - in a Ustasha prison. He was the leader of a very considerable element among the Croatians. It has been said that there were atrocities and there were. It has been suggested, because of the superior propaganda organs available to one side, that the atrocities were entirely on the sides of the Croats. But if we read the book of Dr Macek who was a moderate and who was prepared to campaign to bring peace inside Yugoslavia - he spent the last years of the war inside a Ustasha prison camp - we find that he says that there was equal fanatacism upon both sides. He concludes this paragraph, which I will not read because it is a long one, by saying, referring to both sides:

Their hordes were not satisfied with attacking each other, but loosed their fury over entire Croatian and Serbian villages. Aged people and terrified women and children paid with their lives. . . .

There existed a most unpleasant situation and atrocities were committed not on one side but on both sides. Large numbers of people escaped from Yugoslavia during the war and after the war. They came to this country. I have spent a lot of time trying to find out from people whom I regard as impartial Croats what is at the back of all this business. Although there has always been some trouble, they say that they find great significance in the fact that there was not a great deal of trouble until the last few years when Australia, following an agreement with Yugoslavia, decided to admit to this country citizens with Yugoslav passports. The Government accepted the word of the Yugoslav Government that they were acceptable people whereas those who came prior to the passport period had had to be screened. I understand from the Attorney-General that that was the case. Am I correct in that?


Senator Greenwood - I cannot go back into the past.


Senator McMANUS - At any rate, that is what those people say.


Senator Willesee - Surely there must be some screening now.


Senator McMANUS - There may be, but I am repeating what I was told, even as late as yesterday, by a person who came from Yugoslavia and who is neither a Croat nor a Serb. He told me that it is his impression that a great deal of the trouble has been stirred up by recent arrivals whom he called 'passport migrants' - people who had come here with passports since the conclusion of this agreement and who were accepted on the word of the Yugoslav Government. He told me also that there is profound uneasiness among the Croatian people because they believe that in Australia there are a number of agents of the present Government of Yugoslavia who are agents provocateurs and whose purpose it is to stir up trouble. Some young Croats have said to me that they would have no association with some people who profess to be extreme Croatian patriots because they noticed on a number of occasions that when some of these young fellows enlisted to go to Yugoslavia - for the purpose, they said, of starting a revolution or changing the Government - the Yugoslav police were waiting to receive them when they crossed the border. They were picked up immediately. There is a feeling of profound uneasiness among the Croatian people that there are people here in Australia who are agents of the Yugoslav Government and are stirring up trouble. They are persuading some of these young fellows to go there and they in fact are being led off to prison because the whole thing is being organised by a group of agents provocateurs.


Senator Georges - Do you say that they are the ones who are throwing the bombs?


Senator McMANUS - That may or may not be true but all the incidents of violence have not been against the Serbs. II the honourable senator is fair he will recognise that that is so. I believe that the Serbian people are people of great determination. They are the last people to stand back and allow themselves to be ill treated without retaliating. There has been a certain amount of violence on both sides but I will not say who is responsible because up to date no convincing evidence has been produced to determine this. There is every necessity for our police, Commonwealth and State, to inquire fully and strongly Into this matter. We in the Australian Democratic Labour Party urge the Government to take the strongest action against this violence - these bombings - from whomever it emanates. I assure the

Government that we will give it full support for any firm action that it may be called upon to take.

I am assured by a number of Croats that a factor in the present situation is that President Tito is more than 80 years of age and that a number of factions in Yugoslavia are preparing for the day when he passes on. I am assured, on very strong authority, that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is particularly interested in what may happen in Yugoslavia because it always has resented the independent action taken by President Tito. I am assured that overtures have been made by agents of the Soviet Union to the Croatian people in certain places.


Senator Mulvihill - That was to the Rankovich faction which is pretty small.


Senator McMANUS - I am pleased that Senator Mulvihill agrees with me, although he said that only a small group was concerned, that overtures have been made by Soviet agents for the purpose of getting these people on the Soviet side in the event of the departure of Marshall Tito and the position in Yugoslavia being thrown into the melting pot. I am informed that the anti communist Croats will have nothing to do with these overtures but there is, as honourable senators know, a small Croatian Communist Party which had to be dealt with by Marshall Tito within the last 12 months. That Party has been assured of Soviet help and the Soviet Union at the present time is endeavouring to involve itself in the possibilities which will arise after the death of Marshall Tito.

I.   do not agree with all the criticism that has been levelled at the Attorney-General because of the alleged failure of Commonwealth and State police to catch the culprits. It is not easy to catch them, particularly when people realise that if they are prepared to help the authorities they run the grave risk of attack themselves. Mention has been made of the Ships' Painters and Dockers Union in Victoria. A number of Australians have been murdered within the last 3 years. The first man was shot dead in the presence of thirty or forty people, but according to their stories to the police not one of them saw him shot. In every case involving others who have been shot, murdered or seriously wounded those concerned have copped it sweet. They have said that they did not know and could not imagine why anybody would shoot at them. We have seen photographs in the Victorian Press of the homes of some members of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union which today are protected like fortresses. We have been told that a prominent member of the union has disappeared. The Police have expressed the opinion that he is either dead, and his body disposed of, or that he has been compelled to go into hiding because, it is said, he took part in the union elections. Last week the following newspaper report appeared:

Police believe James Bazley, 47, the painter and docker who has survived 2 ambushes in 4i months is in danger of further attacks. Police said today that Bazley - recovering in Royal Melbourne Hospital from Saturday's ambush - has 'some bad enemies' . . . Police said that the weapon used in the first ambush ... on 2nd May was a .38 pistol. They believe that a .38 pistol was also used in Saturday's shooting. A bullet passed through Bazley's left thigh and a second lodged in his left shoulder in the 2nd May ambush.

When one speaks of terrorism and violence, what could be worse than that? The {Ship Painters and Dockers Union used to be affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. When I was an official of the Australian Labor Party and a union got into grave trouble, we sacked it from the Party. We cancelled its affiliation. When Joe Chandler of the Building Workers Industrial Union sent a donation to the Party's election funds, we sent it back. I would be interested to know what action the Victorian ALP has taken in regard to this union where a reign of terror exists. Members of the union have been murdered and others have been shot, and the police say that they believe that further attempts will be made upon the lives of these people.


Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - You do not blame all the Croatians. Why do you blame all the painters and dockers?


Senator McMANUS - I did not blame all the painters and dockers. All I am saying is that there is this system of terrorism which is just as bad as what went on in Sydney the other day. I wonder what the trade union movement has done about it? In the United States of America and in Great Britain the trade union movement on occasion has taken the firmest action possible to clean up this kind of thing in a trade union. I am still waiting to hear what action will be taken in the Australian trade union movement where a reign of terror has been going on for the past 3 years in the union I have mentioned.

I conclude by saying that I hope that this unhappy, unpleasant and unsavoury business will not be allowed to become entirely a political football. As we know, all political parties have associations with different migrant groups, including groups concerned in this trouble. I say in all honesty that surely this is an occasion when the leaders of all political parties should issue an appeal to these people to do all they can to prevent what is going on. Why should not everybody - Senator Gair, Senator Murphy and all leaders in the Senate - emphatically condemn this kind of thing? To be fair to them, some have already expressed their condemnation, but why should they not jointly condemn this kind of thing and tell whoever these people are that the whole political force of every party in this country is against what they are doing and that every party will support firm action against them if they attempt to carry on with it. The attitude of my Party is that we will await the report from the Commonwealth and State police. If the report is unsatisfactory, if it indicates that the Government has not full power or if it indicates that further action should be taken we will be prepared to support a royal commission under a judge to advise us as to what should be done.







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