Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1859

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I hope that we can discuss this matter without emotion. I am not emotionally involved in it. I have taken an interest in it by the accident of watching a television programme this evening in which I saw a young man apprehended. I am not quite sure of the legal difference between the terms 'apprehended' and 'arrested'. 1 saw a young man, who appeared to be arrested, between 2 very burly policemen. He was pushed to a car protesting that he was not the man whom they were seeking. Because of that my hackles rose at the thought that this could happen in Australia. I addressed myself to the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) and asked him whether it would be possible for him to make a statement. He has done so. But I have found that his statement is at variance with the statement which he issued at 6.30 tonight. Let it be made quite clear - before the people in the John Birch Society and the people on the far right start accusing me of being one of these people - that I believe in national service. I believe that anyone who breaks the law of the land should be prosecuted. I say to honourable senators: Do not try to say that I am one of the rabble, a Communist and so on because I am trying to support a man who, it appeared to me. was unjustly arrested.

Senator Cavanagh - So he was, it appears.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - All right. 1 do not want to become involved in the whole question of draft resisting. 1 am not interested in that. I am interested in one thing and that is what happened to this man today. He was a university stunt. It was part of a practical joke.

Senator Hannan - It was screamingly funny!

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - To the rest of the world it would be funny - except to certain people. It is quite common in universities to impersonate people. It is obvious that this was an impersonation as a practical joke to fool the police.

Senator Little - It was a dangerous practical joke.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - All right. Let us say it was a dangerous practical joke which misfired. But let me point out that according to the Attorney-General's statement issued at 6.30, subsequently this person was introduced to Inspector Headland of the Commonwealth Police. This is the person w:,o called himself Wood. On speaking to Headland this person said he was not Wood but Shanley. So it had already been established that he was not Wood. The Press release by the AttorneyGeneral states:

Headland and Shanley left Parliament House and moved across the road where Shanley was apprehended by 2 Commonwealth policemen.

I am not quite sure what 'apprehended' means. I am being serious about this. Does it mean arrested or virtually arrested?

Senator Hannan - It comes from the French, if the honourable senator wants the philological derivation. 'Prendre' means to take' and 'a' means 'to' or 'from'. One adds those 2 words together.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - To the uninitiated and ignorant like myself, I assumed that he had been arrested if he were apprehended. We were told that this man was not arrested, yet in the statement it says that he was apprehended. I want to know why he was apprehended at that time. By then he had said that he was not Wood; that he was another person. Therefore he was not the person sought by the police. I admit that perhaps Inspector Headland became confused and did not know which story to believe.

Senator Little - He could have interrogated him and found out.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - But was there any need to arrest him? Is any person who says his name is Anderson or Greenwood to be arrested because he says that? Is there anything illegal in that? I would like to ask the Attorney-General whether a person impersonating another person is liable to arrest. This is a breach of civil liberties. I am not supporting the man or saying that he was right or wrong. The tuan said: I am not Wood'. He might even have apologised; I do not know. Nobody seems to know. He went across the road, and the police knew he was not Wood.

Senator Hannan - He said he was somebody else.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - He then said he was not.

Senator Little - He has to produce some evidence. They only had his statement to go on.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Turnbull has the call and he will address the Chair.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I am now asked: Why did he not produce proof of identity? I do not know. Surely it was up to the policemen to ask him to produce proof of identity. Did the policemen ask him? So many questions are left unanswered in the statement that we do not know the full story at all.

Senator Little - You cannot judge the case.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I am not judging it. I am just telling the Senate what I saw on television. If the honourable senator wants to get emotionally involved, he will be running true to character. To him, anyone who is a draft resister or supports a draft resister is a communist, or virtually a communist. The statement issued at 6.30 p.m. states:

Inspector Headland asked Shanley to go back to Police Headquarters to be interviewed as to his part in the affair. Shanley agreed and was then driven away.

I do not know whether any other senators saw the television programme. He was protesting, it seemed to me. It was not that he agreed to be driven away. He was taken to the car and virtually pushed into it. One policeman muttered something about the camera, and put his back to it so that what happened to Shanley as he entered the car could not be seen. I do not know whether he was forcibly pushed into the car or not.

Senator Hannan - That is terrible.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - There are certain civil liberties that should prevail. I would like the Attorney-General to tell the Senate what is the truth. It was obvious that the young man was protesting as he was being led to the car and entering the car. He was saying 'I am not the man you want' and other people were saying 'He is not Wood*. He had already told Inspector Headland this. Why did Headland let the 2 policemen apprehend him before asking for proof of identity? Why not say to him: You have said you are one man, and now you say you are another. Please prove who you are'? His friends called out: 'He is not Wood'.

Senator Cavanagh - The police may have been under instructions.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I do not want to get into any involvements. The police have their duty to perform. From a reading of this statement, Shanley's story that he wanted to go and be interviewed by the police is apparently correct, but I believe that he has denied it since, according to the second statement. Why does the Attorney-General want to believe him in one part and not believe him in another? The Attorney-General ended up by saying that this was a plot to discredit the Commonwealth Police. He is joking, of course. I do not know who is to blame, but the Attorney-General's Department must take some of the blame for the fact that the Commonwealth Police are being discredited. I do not support at all the incident on the campus of the University of New South Wales, but that incident showed the police to be powerless. There were pictures of the police happily joking away as if they were glad to know that the man had escaped.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not at the University of New South Wales; the University of Sydney.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Yes. To say that this person intended to discredit the role of the Commonwealth Police is, I think, carrying it a bit far. If a man has committed an offence he should be arrested. But did this man Shanley commit an offence? The Attorney-General has not mentioned that. I think it is the key to the whole thing. If he committed an offence and should have been apprehended, I cannot argue any further. If he did not commit an offence, what right did the police have to apprehend him? This is all I want to know - not that he dissents, burns his card or refuses national service. It is just a question of the civil liberty of any man when a practical joke goes wrong and he is apprehended. Will this sort of thing happen in future? Will anyone who has a crack at the police or has a joke at the expense of the police be apprehended? I raise this matter because I believe that an injustice has been done to this man Shanley. The AttorneyGeneral very kindly said that this man can prosecute the police. Why should a citizen have to do that?

Senator Hannan - If he is a criminal, why should not he be treated as one?

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - In what way is he a criminal?

Senator Hannan - He said he was.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - He did not say he was a criminal.

Senator Hannan - Yes, he did.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - In what statement is it said that Shanley said he was a criminal? The Attorney-General by his silence has intimated that no crime had been committed. Every day, when a senator wants some information it is usually given by way of interjection, and there is no reason why that procedure should not be followed now. We have another example of bureaucracy. According to the AttorneyGeneral, if this man feels that a wrong has been done to him, he can seek redress by going to court. Has the Attorney-General thought what this would cost him - the time, the trouble? Why should any citizen have to do this? It is completely wrong. It is a wrong attitude for the Department to adopt, that people should have to defend themselves and that they are guilty even before they are tried.

Suggest corrections