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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 904

Senator WRIEDT - I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he saw an interview on a Melbourne television station this morning in which the person interviewed produced photographs which purported to show Australian Army personnel training Ustasha terrorists at Wodonga in Victoria? Did he also hear claims by the person interviewed that the Government of the United States of America had made requests to the Australian Government to assist in the training of such terrorists? Can he confirm or deny- (Honourable senators interjecting) -

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Wriedt is on his feet asking a question. Honourable senators are not to engage in a barrage of interchanges while the honourable senator is on his feet.

Senator WRIEDT - Can he confirm or deny these most serious allegations?

Senator GREENWOOD - I can deny emphatically the suggestion that there was a training camp for terrorist purposes at Wodonga in 1963. It is a canard which has been raised time and time again. It has been denied authoritatively time and time again. If people who want to make a case can rely only upon something which has been demonstrated to be untrue on so many occasions, it illustrates the paucity of the material that they have for the accusations which they are making. I did not see the television programme but I have heard, and I assume, that these photographs relate to the incident which occurred some time about 1963. The full facts have been given, as I have said, time and time again. What happened was that a group of Croatians - about 100 of them - had a recreational camp. They went there without weapons and with no army training or anything of that character. They were visited by a Citizen Military Forces unit and they asked whether they could have their photographs taken with the CMF personnel and with certain of the tanks which were there. The photographs were taken. That was verified by the commander of the CMF unit who gave the facts which I am relating to the Senate. If that is to be built up as a case against the Croatian community, and if it is a case which is to be the basis of an allegation of terrorist activity in this country, then I think that the people who make those accusations should first overcome the facts which I have stated. I am surprised that the honourable senator should raise this matter again. I am surprised that a television station with any interest in this matter and knowing the facts of that incident should still permit it to be presented on television as though there was some basis to it. There needs to be a lot more responsibility in a lot of places.

The PRESIDENT - Honourable senators have asked 43 questions in an hour and 10 minutes and those questions have been answered. That is a faster rate of progress than we usually see and I think honourable senators might consider whether we should go on with the business of the Senate.

Senator Murphy - Mr President, this is an important matter and I think the Senate should be fully informed about it. I think we would like to ask further questions.

The PRESIDENT - Very well. I have no power to deny honourable senators the right to ask further questions.

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