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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2052

Senator WILLESEE (Western AustraliaSpecial Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - The matters that Senator McManus raised have gone into Hansard and we will certainly look at them. The Senate will remember that he said there is quite a large amount of expenditure going through government channels, which has not been looked at by the Senate. Evidently this has been going on since time immemorial. He did point out that this Government is improving on that situation and should look further at it. I do not want to enter into a long debate about the things that Senator Hannan said.

Senator Hannan - I'll bet you don't.

Senator WILLESEE -I would certainly like to debate those things with him if he would be a little more truthful and a little more accurate and if he did not wander so much around the place.

Senator Hannan - Everything I said is identifiable in the Press.

Senator WILLESEE - He says that it is identifiable in the Press. The very man who accuses the Press of telling lies now brings forward what it says as gospel. I heard him say that Mr Zvogbo was a man who had gone across the border into Southern Rhodesia and murdered people.

Senator McLaren - Murdered black children is what he said.

Senator WILLESEE - I have seen no evidence of this at all. I did meet Mr Zvogbo when he was here and I refer to an answer I gave to a question asked by Senator Greenwood, who was interested in the matter at the time. He asked me clear questions about it and I gave him clear answers. He talked about people who were murdering and who were armed insurrectionists in Africa. This is a very well known fact of life in Africa and in other parts of the world. There are people who believe that they are not being given a fair go. They are being denied the right to vote and therefore say that they are going to make improvements in the government. If there is no chance for people to vote in an election how do they change their government? We have seen the situation in a country close to our own quite recently where the people have taken matters into their own hands- 'revolution ' is too big a wordand have forced the resignation of governments and so forth. I quote now the relevant part of the answer I gave to Senator Greenwood. I stated:

As a result of a question which Senator Greenwood asked me last night I asked Mr Zvogbo whether he had been in gaol, how many times he had been in gaol and all about the matter. Last night when I said that there was no proof of this man being a terrorist, or words to that effect, Senator Greenwood interjected and said that this man had been in gaol. Mr Zvogbo informed me that he was first arrested and charged with carrying an illegal document. The illegal document was a statement which he had made before the Committee of Seventeen, which is now the Committee of Twenty-four, of the United Nations. It was a copy of his testimony. He was aquitted by the court. The second time that he was arrested was, I think, for a seditious utterance. Seditious' may be the wrong word, but I think that that was the charge. It was at a political rally when he said, in effect, as he told me, that violence breeds violence. He was charged with making a seditious utterance, if that was the charge. He was convicted. He appealed through all the appellate courts but lost the case and served 12 months in gaol. The day that he was released from gaol, on his information, he was banned to a section of Rhodesia. He was later gaoled for 7 years, without charge and, therefore, without trial.

That is the only thing I have ever put on record about this man. I put it on record again because Senator Hannan has roamed very widely about this matter. I looked at this subject because, though I may have misunderstood him as I listened to what he said, I thought he said he had a question on Mr Zvogbo. I did not see it but if there is one I will certainly look at it for him.

Senator Hannan - It was addressed to the Attorney-General.

Senator WILLESEE -To the AttorneyGeneral. I did not know of it. The honourable senator said that it was a long time ago. If this had been in my bailiwick, I certainly intended to obtain an answer for him. Honourable senators have to realise that when we get on to the question of foreign affairs there always is a tendency to talk about the world or a country as we want it to be. We would all like things to be like that. The fact is that in our relationships we have to face up to the realism of the situation. The honourable senator said some very extravagant things which I do not think he ought to have said. He has no proof that these people are murderers. No worse charge can be made against a person. The honourable senator said these things without the persons concerned having any chance of defending themselves against the charge and without even bringing forward reliable information.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

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