Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 4 March 1980
Page: 531

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - Earlier today I had occasion to raise a matter, a report on which appeared in the newspaper Challenge Number 22 of January 1980, in which grievous allegations were made against one of our colleagues. So that the matter can be thoroughly examined, I think that the whole text of that report should be printed in Hansard. The document has been tabled. If I fail in my attempt to be granted leave of the Senate to have a copy of it incorporated in Hansard, I shall place it on the record by reading it. But first of all, I seek leave of the Senate to have the whole text of the article incorporated in Hansard.

Senator Carrick - Is that the article which was tabled, Mr President?

Senator O'BYRNE - Yes, it is the article which was tabled.

Senator Carrick - An action has been taken. It is now the property of the Senate as a tabled document.

Senator O'BYRNE - But it has not been recorded in Hansard.Mr President, I seek leave to have the article to which I referred, appearing at pages 1, 14 and 15 of the Challenge publication, incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


Many times over the last two decades people have questioned the relationship between the Liberal Party and organisations and individuals accused of collaborating with the Nazis in occupied Europe.

The best known of these organisations is the Ustasha, the Croatian Nationalist organisation, whose members have been responsible for bombing Yugoslav premises in Sydney and Melbourne, and for training terrorists for the 'liberation' of Croatia. Liberal Party parliamentarians have often attended functions organised by Croatian Nationalist groups which are clearly fronts for the Ustasha organisations. Photographs published in Croatian papers often have these Liberal MP's posed under the flag of the quisling Croatian government and/or photographs of the quisling leader Ante Pavelic.

Ustasha activities went unchecked in this country until the Labor government was elected. Then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy (now a High Court judge) raided ASIO headquarters in March 1973 because he believed that ASIO was withholding information on the Ustasha and other antiYugoslav organisations. Documents obtained by Murphy and subsequently tabled in Parliament disprove the Liberals' oft-repeated claims that the Ustasha didn't exist or was of no significance.

Of more topical concern is the activities of individuals from parts of Yugoslavia other than Croatia. Allegations about the wartime activities of a number of individuals have periodically surfaced. Many of these individuals are members of the Liberal Party. Because the claims were never adequately substantiated they were generally dismissed as smears. Often the individuals would avoid the allegations by pointing out that they were not Croatians. (This was effective partly because of Australia's racist generalisations which make all Croatians fascists, and all other Yugoslavs OK). As well the Liberals, their media supporters, and their governments did not wish to pursue the matter.

But this great cover-up has finally blown up in the face of the Liberal Party. In particular the wartime activities of Lyenko Urbanchich have been exposed. Urbanchich, until his recent suspension, was chairman of the now defunct NSW Liberal 's Ethnic Council. Other Liberals are also subject to scrutiny.

Urbanchich 's undoing came as a result of two pressures. First was the gradual collection of information on him over the years, particularly in recent years, by people who are concerned about the growth of fascist organisations in this country. The second source of pressure came from within the Liberal Party itself. Urbanchich is associated with an extreme right-wing, fundamentalist faction within the Party. As long as this group was a small minority they were acceptable. In fact the Liberal Party set up its Ethnic Council in order to accomodate part of this faction, and Urbanchich became its chairman and frequent public spokesman. However the extremist faction continued to grow, and to remain as uncompromising as ever.


Some people in the Liberal Party realised that, for their own survival, the extremists had to be cut down to size. Part of this campaign was acquiescence or encouragement to moves to subject Urbanchich to public scrutiny.

Ever since Urbanchich became chairman of the Ethnic Council questions have been asked about his wartime activities. The exposure finally erupted into substantial allegations on 27 August on the ABC's Broadband program. This program described the nature of the Slovenian Home Guard with which Urbanchich was associated.

Since then questions have been asked in NSW Parliament. NSW Attorney-General Frank Walker ordered an investigation and presented the findings to the NSW Parliament in November. The Liberal Party has also begun a belated investigation. The remainder of this report is mostly from Walker's findings.

But first a little history. Early in 1941 the then Yugoslav Government signed a pact with Germany and Italy. In march 1941 Yugoslav army officers staged a coup against the pro-Axis government. In April 1941 Germany and Italy invaded Yugoslavia. Some areas were occupied and administered by the Germans, some by the Italians. Slovenia, from where Urbanchich originates, was occupied by the Italians. In late 1943, the Italian Fascist Government collapsed and the Germans took over the areas administered by the Italians. During the German/Italian occupations, quisling governments and military organisations were established.

Urbanchich^ history

The charges against Urbanchich arc that he was a member of the Slovenian Homeguard (National Guard) which collaborated with the German occupiers. As a member of the Homeguard he worked as a journalist in its Information Department and was a regular contributor to the Sovenian newspaper Jutro. His articles in that paper are described as pro-Nazi and anti-Jew.

Urbanchich admits to being a member of the Slovenian Homeguard and to being a journalist. However his recollection of the role of the Homeguard and of his role as a journalist differ from those of his accusers.

On 24 August 1979. Urbanchich was quoted in the Sydney Daily Telegraph as having said: I fought against the Germans during the war ... an organisation which I belonged to, the Slovenian National Guard, fought with Mihailovich 's partisans- we helped Jews escape the Germans ... I was a contributor to Jutro and wrote antiNazi articles.

In an article in Slovenski Obzornik v Australiji (Slovenian Horizons in Australia) in 1975. Urbanchich admits to volunteering for the Slovenian Homeguard in October 1943. He speaks favourably, almost affectionately of the Homeguard leader General Rupnik. He details his own leading role in organising a battalion. He further claims that the Information Department, for which he worked, resisted the propaganda and censorship of the Nazi occupiers.

Walker's reputable sources

However, the material presented to Parliament by Frank Walker has a different interpretation. On the nature of the Slovenian Homeguard, Walker's diverse sources all agree that it was a collaborator army. At the time of Urbanchich 's enlistment, the Germans had just taken over the Slovenian administration from the Italians and had reorganised the Homeguard under General Rupnik. Walker also tabled a number of Urbanchich 's wartime journalistic efforts. These can only be described as vile pro-Nazi, anti-Jew. antidemocratic diatribes.

Walker in compiling his report consulted an impressive array of people and sources, a few of whom could be described as sympathetic to the Yugoslav government. Urbanchich 's oft-repeated claim that the communists are behind the campaign to get him ring hollow when confronted with Walker's and Broadband's list of sources.

Among those consulted by Walker were Simon Wiesenthal, the veteran pursuer of war criminals, Graham de Vahl Davis and Robert Goot of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the producers of Broadband, the Israeli Embassy, and Dr Bill Richards, an acknowledged expert in this area. He also consulted a number of histories of the period. As well he consulted with the Yugoslav and British authorities which hold war crimes records.

Broadbandin its program consulted two US Intelligence Officers who worked with the 'Liberation Front' in Slovenia. They were Colonel Franklin Lindsay who later became a senior CIA officer, and Captain John Blatnik who later spent 28 years as a US Congressman. Both described Rupnik 's forces as collaborators.

Homeguard for whom?

Frank Walker quotes from books by Robert Lee Wolff (formerly a US Intelligence Officer, now History Professor at Harvard University). Stephen Clissold (formerly a British Intelligence Officer in Yugoslavia, and later a History Lecturer at London University) and Jozo Tomasevich (History Professor at San Francisco University). Wolff describes Rupnik as an Axis Slovene Puppet and writes of his collaboration with both the Italians and the Germans.

Clissold writes: Against the partisans, on the German side in Slovenia, were ranged the troops of the Slovenian Quisling. General Rupnik. the so-called Village or White Guards . . . (which) . . . had been dealt a crushing blow at the collapse of Italy, but the armies had been rallied into the German-approved consolidation Dumobran.

Tomasevich writes: After the Germans took control of most of the Slovene territory following the Italian collapse, the Slovene anti-Communist forces that earlier collapsed with the Italians started to collaborate with the Germans. These forces, now called the Slovene Demobrans, were in time built up to a strength of over ten thousand men; amply provided with arms and supplies, they were put under the command of General Rupnik and used by the Germans in their operations against the Partisans until the final days of the War.

At the end of the War, Urbanchich 's leader General Rupnik was captured by the British. After investigation, the British, with unqualified US approval, gave Rupnik to the Yugoslav authorities. Rupnik was tried and executed as a war criminal.

From Yugoslav sources comes a copy of the oath taken by Homeguard members, an oath Urbanchich presumably also made: I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful, courageous and that I will obey my superiors, that I will fight in the common fight with the German Armed Forces under the command of the Fuhrer, SS Troops and Police and fight against the bandits and against communism and its allies. That I will fulfil my duties faithfully for my Slovenian country as a part of free Europe. For this fight I am prepared to sacrifice my own life so help me God.

Walker also tabled numerous photographs showing SS Officers and Homeguard troops together, and taking the Nazi salute.

Urbanchich, the 'journalist'

The evidence against Urbanchich personally is from his own wartime writings from a number of journals. Urbanchich has claimed in relation to documents earlier that they had been doctored to discredit him. To avoid this accusation Walker obtained his copies from the British Library, and the Libraries of Columbia, Florida and Illinois Universities, all in the US. Originals were obtained through neutral Stockholm shortly after their publication in Slovenia and prior to the Nazi defeat.

Translations of the documents, as with all documents in the case, were made by the NSW Premier's Department Translators and Interpreter's Office. In an article entitled One way only- the way of General Rupnik' Urbanchich writes:

That is the truth, about all the vile intentions of the chosen people, the 15 million Israeli race, roaming the world. Rarely is one of their number a tradesman, labourer or farmer. Further, it is an everyday and common fact that these people are dealers in arms, owners of the film industry and people who have in their hands practically the whole world press '.

Another example:

It must also be remembered that in joining the Axis, Yugoslavia was not forced to place any soldiers on the front ( Referring to the 1 94 1 Pact ). Then, a short time after signing, we committed a great stupidity, what stupiditysin and crime: we spat in the face of the great Germany and in this instant we dug our grave (Referring to the March 1941 coup). The latter is a greater crime than the spitting in the face.

Yet again:

The developments in Serbia, at first, went according to the Jewish-Masonic- that is Communist plans ... A time of many innocent hostages and internments, again in accordance with the plans of the Jewish-Masonry, and the Communist Party . . . Many young people who . . . fulfilled their national and state duties, were lured into the hills by the red agitators; again - for the benefit of the international communism led by the Jews '.

And again:

.   . . we again have to say something about those "chosen people" who unjustly reap pity, amongst many, for their persecutions. We mean thereby the Jews, who for their supremacy, created for themselves two different instruments for aiming at the same goal: Communism and Freemasonry'.

And finally: . . we Slovenes then also felt on our own skins the cynicism of the Jewish-led Anglo-Americans, as they bombed our peaceful residential quarters, this time as a reward to our Anglophiles'.

The documents from which the above quotes come are violently anti-Tito and anti-Communist. They were published during the German occupation. And they have been collected and stored by reputable organisations, lt is hardly likely that they were or could have been forged.

More Liberals named

Also mentioned in Walker's report was Vladimir Menart, the brothers Lajovic and Fabian Lovkovic

Menart is a member of the Liberal's Ethnic Council. He stood for chairman of the Ethnic Council after Urbanchich was suspended. He appears in a photograph which accompanied Urbanchich 's 1975 article on the Homeguard. Menart is the flag bearer in a photo of a Homeguard battalion marching through Ljubljana. Menart is also named in a recent Yugoslav book, Sixth Column Terrorists in a section entitled ' War Criminals as Journalists. '

Fabian Lovkovic is the editor of Spremnost and a member of the Kingsgrove branch of the Liberal Party. Spremnost and another paper. Hrvatski Tjednik, have been described as mouthpieces for the two Ustasha sections in Australia. Ustasha was responsible for mass killings in Croatia during the Second World War. ASIO documents released by Senator Murphy in 1 973 make it clear that these papers continue to support the principles of Ustasha and eulogise people who have been held responsible for war crimes.

The Brothers Lajovic are mentioned in the Yugoslav book Sixth Column Terrorists under the section 'War Criminals as Journalists'. One of those brothers is Senator Milivoj Mishra Lajovic. Liberal from NSW Challenge has seen a transcript of the Senator's father's trial for war crimes. Milivoj Lajovic Snr, a factory owner, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for manufacturing bombs for the Nazi occupiers. In his defence Lajovic Snr attempted to blame his sons for his predicament.

In an interview with a suburban paper, The Leichhardt Local in 1 975, Senator-to-be Lajovic said he fought with the Royalists in a four way battle between the occupiers (Italian and German), the communists and democrats, the rightwing Ustasha, and the Royalists. This conflicts with accepted history that the Ustasha and the occupiers were on the same side, and that the Royalists were part of the ' Liberalisation Front' along with the communists and democrats.

Luburic's memorial

In August 1 978 Spremnost carried a report of a function at a house with the name 'General Vjekoslav Luburic'. The gathering was to raise funds for the illegal Croation Embassy in Canberra.

General Vjekoslav Luburic was a leading officer of the Black Legion ', a unit which committed atrocities in Croatia. Luburic was also Commandant of Jesenovic Concentration Camp where he ordered the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Gypsies and Serbs.

Gathered at this house named after an infamous mass murderer were Lyenko Urbanchich, Fabian Lovkovic David Clarke, Geoffrey Ferrow Mario Despoja and an unknown person. The five named are all members of the Liberal Party. Despoja is second in command of Spremnost. Ferrow will be familiar to ex-Sydney University students as a prominent Liberal.

The Liberals are now acutely embarrassed by this information. They are not embarrassed by the information as such, they could have obtained that at any time over the past twenty years, but they chose not to. But what they are embarrassed about is the public disclosure. In the cold war period of the early fifties the Menzies government allowed large numbers of East Europeans who had declared antiCommunist views to come to Australia. This was done without full scrutiny of their wartime activities. Consequently many Nazi collaborators were welcomed by a government insanely preoccupied with 'communists under the bed '.

They will probably sacrifice a few members and claim they have cleansed themselves. But the facts remain. They have admitted and encouraged people who support the wartime fascist regimes, and there is nothing in Liberal history to suggest they will do otherwise in the future. After all their founding father was a vocal admirer of Hitler, right up to the beginning of the Second World War.

The documents have been forwarded by Walker to the Fraser government for appropriate action. However, it is unlikely that the Liberals will follow the lead of the U.S. Attorney-General Civilatti and begin deportation proceedings against Nazi collaborators.

Don Marcian Les Carr

Suggest corrections