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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2359

Senator EVERETT (Tasmania) - I will speak briefly on this matter. I believe that I should not let go the revelation by Senator Greenwood tonight in raising this matter. Tents have always reminded me of circuses. It seemed to me, as I heard Senator Greenwood speaking, that he was rather resentful of the fact that the circus into which he has turned this chamber today was being rivalled by the tents across the road in front of Parliament House. He claims misrepresentation. He devoted some 20 minutes or so tonight to making the allegation that the Australian Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) was lacking in his public duty because he had not brought down the legal might of the Australian Government against the persons who are responsible for those couple of mini-tents that are across the road in front of Parliament House.

Senator Greenwood - Or explain why he had not.

Senator EVERETT - The interjection of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition only confirms the impression that anyone listening to what he said tonight must have gained, and that is that even though he is a former Australian AttorneyGeneral he does not yet know that the wise administration of the law involves the exercise of a discretion by those charged by law to administer the laws that Parliament passes. What the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has revealed tonight is that he is in favour of reactionary oppression under the guise of the enforcement of legal sanctions against the least privileged members of the community. I suggest that the worth of the contribution of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition can be gauged in this way: He is preoccupied in ensuring that, as I have said, the might of the Australian legal system is levelled against a few Aborigines. How does that assessment of the importance of the criminal law compare with the crime on an international basis that the Government of which he was a member condoned and to which it actively subscribed, namely, the involvement of Australians in Vietnam over a long period? That is the way in which his contribution tonight ought to be judged. His concern is with two or three or four Aboriginal persons who are responsible for the tents across the road in front of Parliament House. For years the person who makes that complaint subscribed, by his membership of the then

Government and by his advocacy, to one of the greatest crimes in Australia's history. How does he stand on that? If I said at the beginning that he had made a circus of this chamber tonight, I suggest that the comparison I have made proves my point.

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