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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 939

The PRESIDENT - Order!

Senator HANNAN - It seems to me to be perfectly reasonable that, when faced with a choice of evils, and there is no question but that Hitler was an evil, Pavelic should attempt to maintain a vestige of his country's independence. At this time - towards the end of the War - Tito had just disposed of his colleague. He had murdered Mihailovic, whose Chetniks had been fighting the Germans. It is interesting to note that throughout most of the War - until 1945 - Tito's army seemed to be on particularly good terms with the Germans whom it was supposed to be fighting. The British Prime Minister said that 30 German divisions were being held down in Yugoslavia by Tito's partisans. That is arrant nonsense. At no time during the War were there more than 5 divisions in the whole of the Balkans. Tito really did not become our gallant fighting ally until the large Russian armies entered the north eastern corner of the country, after which he became quite active. After the surrender of the German powers the small Croatian army - I suppose it would be big by our standards - of about 400,000 men surrendered to the British. Unfortunately the British did not realise that Tito did not play cricket. The whole Croatian army was handed over as prisoners of war to Tito. It is history what happened outside the Austrian town of Bleiberg, where 350,000 or 400,000 Croats were massacred by Tito's so-called partisans. It is, of course, entirely true that prior to the surrender many of Tito's supporters - the partisans; the Serbians - had in fact been massacred by the Ustasha, From the references I have consulted, I would say about 400,000 Serbians and Tito supporters were massacred, executed, killed.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Almost one million all told.

Senator HANNAN - In fact throughout the whole country nearly one million Croatians were disposed of. When figures like that are used in this country all the noughts at the end of the statistics make the mind boggle. We cannot imagine such a vast cavern of death as must have existed in the Balkans from the town of Bleiberg right down the Adriatic coast and inland to Serbia. It is quite obvious why after the War many people would want to leave what again became the Republic of Yugoslavia. Tito's dictatorship took over. He showed a fair amount of independence from Russian control. For that reason he gained considerable American and, to a lesser degree, British support and he was successful in establishing his tyranny in this section of the Balkans. The situation with regard to Croatia has remained the same as it was under a king - worse, if anything. Social, cultural, economic and political power resides outside the country in Tito's own province. That has been the root cause why so many Croatians throughout the world - around about one million of them outside of the country - have felt it desirable or necessary to set up a form of government in exile to work for the freedom of their own country. I think that is an end which most of us would applaud. It is the means which some extremists take to achieve it that we must condemn.

I have in front of me a copy of the Declaration of Principles of the government in exile set up by the Croatians firstly in New York and now in Canada. I am not going to read them all in detail. I will just refer to the main sentence of each of the 6 principles. Firstly, they recite that Croatian people are a distinct ethnic and national group; they are not Serbs. Secondly, all human fundamental rights will be guaranteed by the Croatian state. Thirdly, Western democracy is the cornerstone upon which the state will be erected. The rule of law will prevail. Multiple political parties will be permitted. I dwell on that significant statement. Tito's Yugoslavia does not have multiple political parties, any more than any other communist dictatorship has multiple political parties. The separation of powers will be established and the rights of the individual will be protected.

Senator Georges - As they have been protected in some Commonwealth countries.

Senator HANNAN - No more than in Greece, if that pleases the honourable senator.

Senator Georges - Why does the honourable senator not include some of the Commonwealth countries?

Senator HANNAN - Does the honourable senator mean some of the African Commonwealth countries? Without a doubt. Fourthly, in both the private and the public sectors of the economy the democratic spirit must prevail and ensure that all segments of society are granted a fair share of the nation's wealth, commensurate with their contribution to the community and sufficient for a decent livelihood.

Fifthly, the Croatian state, spiritually and economically, will be oriented towards Western Europe, will enter the community of free European nations and will seek membership in the European Economic Community. A freely elected Croatian parliament, the repository of the nation's sovereignty, will decide this and all other fundamental issues. The sixth and final principle destroys once and for all this suggestion that all of those people who believe in a free and independent Croatia are gangsters and terrorists. It reads:

In conclusion let us emphasise that we reject the spirit of revenge. We say to all those who are at present actively or passively serving the communist party and regime through weakness or necessity: We shall show tolerant understanding towards those who have collaborated with communism on condition that from this time on they fight to the best of their ability for the vital interests of the Croat nation which are summarised in this declaration.

I do not think that there is very much in those 6 points to which any democrat could take reasonable exception.

There has been, as I have said, more than some political overtones to this motion. For example, only yesterday most outrageous statements about the Government's attitude, and even my own, to terrorism were made by Dr J. F. Cairns, a member of another place, who told the Melbourne 'Herald' that I was the lawyer for Croatian terrorists and was sympathetic towards their aims. Fortunately for the Herald' it had enough prudence to check with me on the statement. I asked: 'Are you going to print that?' The reply was a very prudent omission of the whole statement from last evening's newspaper.

To return to the serious matter of Croatia - while there is some merit in the suggestion, and ultimately it may be necessary that we have this inquiry, of course at present it would prejudice legal rights. I was horrified to hear Senator Murphy's statement this morning about Star Chamber procedures. A committee investigation would hinder the current police inquiries which are of fundamental importance and, finally, I think the Senate is not the proper place to try people for criminal offences. That must be the inevitable result of the inquiry to which Senator Murphy has referred. I think the Attorney-General has adequately disposed of the furphy about the photographs of Ustasha members being trained at an army training camp, a ad nonsense of that nature. 1 repeat that these bombings are an outrage. They are an affront to the Government and people of this country. They are an incitement to general lawlessness in other areas. Regrettably it is true that there are elements - I use the word 'elements' advisedly - in the Opposition who have helped to break down the community's moral fibre in regard to respect for the Jaw. They support the breaking of the law. They take the line: 'If you do not like a law, break it.' The phoney moratoriums or moratoria, if one uses the Latin plural-

Senator Gair - He said Thank God the time for authority has passed.'

Senator HANNAN - That is right. I am indebted to Senator Gair for his reminder that one of the leaders of the left wing arrangement in the Australian Labor Party said that the time for authority has passed. What respect does he expect a government of his own to have if that is his political philosophy? We had the moratoriums and the great political upheaval of the Springbok football tour. Football and cricket were turned into a political football, if I am not punning too much. We had the draft resister business. An endorsed Labor Party candidate is standing for Parliament via the tape recorder; that is Barry Johnston. I was present at a Labor Party meeting in the Dallas Brooks Hall recently and over the public address system--

Senator Keeffe - Did the honourable senator sneak in with ASIO?

Senator HANNAN - I told the organisers who I was when I entered. There was nothing secretive about it. Over the public address system came an incitement from the organisers to break the national service law for which, when it was before this Parliament, the entire Labor Party voted. 1 point out that the incitement to break the law was delivered before the arrival of the Attorney-General at the hall for a debate which so adequately destroyed the credibility of Mr Hawke as a political leader.

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