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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1142

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - I preface my question, which is directed to the AttorneyGeneral, by pointing out that the Victorian Soccer Federation, in a conciliatory gesture, has negotiated for a soccer team known as Croatia to change its name to Batman in an effort to reduce tensions arising out of ethnic differences between former European migrants. I ask the Attorney-General: Is it an offence under the Commonwealth Crimes Act to urge or encourage the violent overthrow of a sovereign state such as Yugoslavia? If so, is it not a fact that a number of documents, including the newspaper 'Spremnost', circulated within the Croatian community in Australia have done this? Is any action under the Crimes Act contemplated by the Attorney-General in this matter?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am unable to connect the statements made by the honourable senator with what the Victor ian Soccer Federation has done or what it is alleged to have done with regard to the Croatia Soccer Club. As to whether or not it is an offence under the Crimes Act to advocate and encourage the overthrow of a civilised government of a foreign country by force and violence, yes, there is such an offence. There are also provisions under the Crimes Act which make it an offence to advocate the use of force and violence with regard to the overthrow of the Government of this country. I have received newspapers and a number of allegations from persons whom I saw last Friday, and I have of course seen the substance of these allegations in times past - that is, that these newspapers do in fact so advocate and encourage. I am unable to say at present whether the material which is alleged so to advocate and encourage does constitute an offence in regard to which any prosecutions should be taken; that is a matter which is under consideration at present. But I must say that there have been many publications, and not publications from migrant communities, but publications put out by organisations in this country, which have in their advocacy used language far stronger than anything which is alleged to me to be in these migrant papers. There have been far more inflammatory statements made by a number of organisations in this country in respect of which it is possible that proceedings under the Crimes Act could have been taken. In short, there have been many instances in which people have talked big and threateningly, and very fortunately what they have said they would do or what would happen has not occurred. I believe the Crimes Act is an Act which exists for the security of this nation, and one must have a situation which people generally regard as threatening the security of this nation before one seeks to invoke those provisions. This is a viewpoint which has, I believe, commended itself to the Opposition in times past. However, all these matters are receiving examination, as they must.

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