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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 49

Senator McMANUS (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. For some time I have noticed repeated statements on behalf of the Australian Labor Party that the Attorney-General and the Government are not trying to catch draft dodgers, and today I have heard a complaint from a representative of the Australian Labor Party that the AttorneyGeneral is showing too much zeal in trying to catch draft dodgers. I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Can he inform me about these representations from the Australian Labor Party? Does the ALP want draft dodgers caught, does it not want them caught, or has it not made up its mind?

The PRESIDENT - Order! I point out to Senator McManus that under standing order 99 rhetorical questions are not to be asked. It is a line ball whether that is a rhetorical question, and I shall let it go in this instance.

Senator GREENWOOD - I may be of assistance to you, Mr President, and to Senator McManus in saying that I did not understand his question to be at all rhetorical. I sense that Senator McManus, along with a tremendous number of people in this community, has great difficulty in making up his mind where the Australian Labor Party stands on this issue as well as on a number of other issues. One could say that if the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, was a free agent he would certainly like to see Mr Barry Johnston surrender to police and he publicly said so before the last Executive meeting of the Australian Labor Party. But he is not a free agent, because within 2 days the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party flatly contradicted what Mr Whitlam had earlier publicly said. There is a segment of the Labor Party in Victoria so well known to all of us which not only regards persons who are wanted by the police as persons who should be regarded as paragons of virtue but also above all should be protected. It also believes that the efforts of the police to apprehend these people should be denigrated in every possible way. I can say only that Senator McManus, like myself and a lot of others, must come to the conclusion that whatever the Labor Party might say about respect for lawful processes the conduct of many of its spokesmen indicates that its practice does not accord with precept.

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