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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1002

Senator O'BYRNE - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. As the Government has announced that it will take no action against the illegal activities of the Rhodesian Information Centre and that it will change the law to suit the Rhodesians, can the Attorney-General indicate what other areas of the law he intends to change to suit the wishes of the people opposing those sections of the law? If it is deemed desirable to support Rhodesia against the United Nations, would it not be reasonable to amend the National Service Act so that thousands of young men who object to this law can have their wishes met by a government which apparently is ready to amend and apply the law to suit its beliefs and attitudes?

Senator GREENWOOD - The honourable senator's question is based upon certain statements which are not true. Consequently, all the conclusions which he draws and upon which he really asks for my comment are quite unwarranted and unfounded. The fact is that as far as the Government's examinations are concerned there are no illegal activities of the Rhodesian Information Centre. It must be appreciated that the Minister for Customs and Excise indicated in a statement which he made in the other place yesterday that certain documents which were put in his possession contain material which he believed were prohibited imports. If the honourable senator looks at the Customs Act he will find that is adequate ground for the Minister for Customs and Excise to retain those articles. Of course, the documents which were handed to him came to him by a very circuitous route, and who knows from what source they came and what might have been added to the documents before they came into his hands. Dealing with the question of changing the law to suit the Rhodesian Information Centre, there is no such intention, nor has there ever been any statement which would warrant that interpretation. The fact is that the Government has not adopted the approach of backing Rhodesia against the United Nations. Statements such as those which the honourable senator made, today merely compound the many untruths which have appeared in the newspapers over the past 2 weeks regarding what has been occurring in this area.

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