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Tuesday, 4 March 1980
Page: 533

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I want to speak on this matter. Senator Lajovic has pointed to the serious accusation which has been made against him as a member of this Senate. It is an accusation that should not go unchallenged if there is an opportunity to exonerate the senator from false accusations. If, on the other hand, there is truth in the accusations, I do not think any of us would be parties to associating with a nazi collaborator in the Second World War, someone who has been associated with the Ustasha movement.

Senator Carrick - I raise a point of order. I have no wish to interrupt Senator Cavanagh but I draw your attention, Mr President, to the fact that Senator Lajovic has informed honourable senators that this matter is an action that he has sought to initiate before the courts of New South Wales. It may very well be that the substance of what is said here could be sub judice, and I simply remind honourable senators of that situation.

Senator CAVANAGH - I would at no time desire to infringe the sub judice rule but I think that there is a higher court than the courts of New South Wales. I think that we should make every opportunity available to the senator to exonerate himself from the charge that has been made. I point out that the publication accuses him of collaboration, and accuses his father of making bombs for the Germans. It also accuses his father of blaming the two brothers, one of whom is now publishing a fascist newspaper in Australia while the other one is a member of the Senate. Therefore if we can exonerate the senator through a higher court I think we should take every chance to do so. The questions are clear. It is claimed in a newspaper article that the facts are recorded in the report from the Attorney-General of New South Wales, which has been given to Mr Fraser. Surely the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) could make that document available so that we could see whether it is substantiated by the inquiry.

Senator O'Byrne - That was from the Attorney-General of New South Wales, Mr Walker.

Senator CAVANAGH - It was from the Attorney-General of New South Wales, Mr Walker. The report of his inquiry was given to the Prime Minister. Whether the statement is true or not I do not know, but we should seek the truth. To exonerate one of the members of his political party who is installed in the Senate the Prime Minister should make that report available if there is no truth in the allegation that Senator Lajovic 's name is mentioned in that report. If it is mentioned, I suppose it is justification for concealing it. The other point is that it is all mentioned in the Yugoslav book Sixth Column Terrorists under the section 'War Criminals as Journalists '.

Senator Rae - I raise a point of order. This has gone far beyond what could be regarded as even stretching the reasonable tolerance of this chamber. What is happening is a denigration of a man under parliamentary privilege when the matter is sub judice and should not be pursued.

Senator O'Byrne - What do you want to do, suppress it? You are a fascist yourself.

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