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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1550


Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) - I listened with interest to what Senator McManus had to say. I view with much concern the general details which he outlined. I think we all recognise that many people have come to this country to experience a freedom of living, a freedom from all the apparatus of tyranny and authoritarianism which characterises the Communist countries of this world. The people who have come here have established a new life. But the fact that they are in this country is a constant reminder to the Communist masters of the countries from which they fled that they are a continuous indictment of the whole Communist system. There are throughout the world millions of people who have left their homeland, to which naturally they would have desired to adhere, in order to secure a freedom which is denied to them by the Communist regimes. It is typical of the Communist subversion and the Communist methods of imposition and intimidation that the persons who have now established themselves in this country are subjected to the unsolicited type of material to which Senator McManus has drawn our attention.

As he has indicated, these documents reveal certain things. In the first place, they reveal the way in which the Communists will take advantage of the natural affection which persons who have established a new life in this country have for the homeland from which they have come. There is a natural feeling which is being exploited. As I understand his recounting of the documents, they also disclose that the tactics of defamation are used to sow distrust amongst the people who have come to this country and people in whom they have respect. As I understand it, the documents also show the use of antisemitism as a Communist weapon. It also reveals the existence in this country of espionage activity which is designed to further Communist ends. How otherwise can people who have come from a different country and who have established themselves in various parts of Australia have their names and addresses known to people in the Soviet Union from where this document is sent? In these circumstances, it seems to me that what Senator McManus has done is to reveal the intimidatory tactics which are engaged in. I feel that the real value is that he has ventilated this matter.

I believe that we all have an obligation to disclose these things when they come to our attention, because the methods by which communism seeks to establish its hegemony are methods which are foreign to the practices we have known in this country and which are unknown to us. We are little accustomed to them. I feel that the effort must be made constantly to bring to public attention what is being done. Australia is a free country. Freedom in this country means that there is freedom of speech for those who are opposed to communism and for those who support communism and who would seek to destroy the very freedom which allows them to speak. I do not know whether Senator Mulvihill, who is trying to interject, objects to what I am saying. But I believe that what I am saying ought to have general acceptance. We certainly have not only freedom of speech but also freedom to publish by the written word, freedom to disseminate views and freedom to move around. Of course, we seek to establish the widest possible freedom of communication with other countries including the communist countries which, given the opportunity, would seek to deny that freedom of communication which we cherish in this land.

Taking that freedom, as I see it, we have to take the good with the bad because freedom is meaningless unless we are prepared to do that. We have not in this country the laws which would effectively enable the type of literature to which Senator McManus has referred to be prohibited. It is not prohibited by our customs regulations. It is not prohibited, at least expressly, under our Post and Telegraph Act. If we were to adopt the course, which presumably we could adopt in the form of legislation, of stopping material coming into this country, I believe that we would be cutting down on a freedom. Of course, we may cut down on a freedom if it is necessary to preserve the national interest. But in these areas this Government moves carefully and will move only when the necessity arises. I know that there are arrangements which this country has with other countries with regard to the transmission of material overseas and that the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) has expresed himself on this matter to, I think, Senator McManus or to other honourable senators in the past. I will convey what Senator McManus has said to the Postmaster-General for his attention. ButI believe that this is one area in which, having the knowledge brought before us, we ought to lose no opportunity to disclose what has happened. I think that in that sense we are indebted to Senator McManus for what he has said tonight.







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