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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 937


Senator HANNAN (Victoria) - Perhaps the most significant aspect to emerge from Senator Willesee's speech was that he virtually failed to refer to the motion moved by Senator Murphy. I will refer to two or three matters which Senator Willesee raised. He mentioned 2 different answers which he said came from 2 different Ministers. If we examine the 2 answers we find that there is nothing in either of them which is really mutually exclusive. As one might expect, Senator Willesee spoke with great subservience of the communist Government of Yugoslavia. Having adopted that method of speech, he then had the gall in addressing this chamber to quote with approval an attack by a socalled diplomat on the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), a Minister of the Australian Government. That attack was an outrageous political one made on this Government by a person who is supposed to observe the niceties of diplomatic propriety. I cannot understand how on the one hand an oblique reference to this Government pains Senator Willesee no end while, on the other hand, a gross transgression from the normal activities of polite diplomatic society, to put it very mildly, not only leaves the honourable senator unmoved but also seems to bring approval from him. 1 believe that the Attorney-General has completely discredited the allegations and smears which have come from the Opposition since Senator Murphy moved his motion. I make it clear that I have nothing but contempt and disgust for terrorists of the type who will throw bombs to maim and murder people. I do not care whether these people are from the right, the left or the centre. I go along with the AttorneyGeneral in believing that the crime of bomb throwing is so horrible that nothing but the death penalty would be an adequate punishment for an outrage of that type. With regard to this motion, I suppose that a cynic could dismiss the whole motion by saying: 'This is an election year. The Australian Labor Party is simply kicking around the good old Ustasha can'. Perhaps I should digress to say that the word Ustasha' simply means 'arise, throw off your chains'. That philosophy would be hostile to a socialist administration. Despite the political overtones, this matter has a serious context. I believe it is right and proper that the Senate should discuss it seriously.

We must look at how Yugoslavia emerged. I think we find there the seeds of a great deal of the troubles of the Old World. For 1300 years, 1400 years or 1500 years, distinct nations have been emerging in the Balkans in the area which is now Yugoslavia. As Senator McManus pointed out, they have been merged against their will into an artificial federation called Yugoslavia, which attracts the loyalty of nobody. After the Roman Empire in the west was attacked so successfully by the Barbarians in 474, the people who lived in what is now Croatia had been looking towards the west as their source of culture, religion and way of life. When contact with Rome was cut off in the 6th century, these people began to evolve their own distinct culture. Today, their descendants are the people who live in the area known as Croatia.

On the other hand, the people who lived to the east of Croatia in Serbia had their spiritual, social and cultural nexus with the Byzantine empire in the east. The people of Serbia looked also to the east for their religious persuasions. The result was that the Serbian people - a rugged people; people of determination as Senator McManus described them - grew up with a strong and devout attraction to the Greek Orthodox religion. The Croats took their inspiration from the west and were predominantly Roman Catholic although, as the result of later invasions by Mohammedans, there is a Moslem content in the country. [ feel that we must go back a long way in history to look at the barbarities and atrocities which have been committed by both sides throughout history. I recall reading of one Croatian peasant leader who displeased what I suppose we would call the king, although he was not titled king, of the adjoining Serbian country. This peasant led a revolt against the king. As a punishment, the peasant was stripped naked, placed on a red hot throne and a red hot crown was put on his head. That is the sort of punishment that was handed out by these rugged people in days gone by. I recall reading of a Serbian attack on a Croation village, the local priest of which was horse-shoed with nails. The priest was made to hobble around the market place, after which he was shot. I merely quote these ghastly examples as some indication of the type of feeling which, in the past, has existed between Croatia and Serbia.

It is not my purpose to traverse the ground which has been traversed already by other speakers in regard to events following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. I simply say that 6 provinces or, as we might almost call them, 6 countries were welded more or less against their will into the country of Yugoslavia. Additionally. 2 independent or quasi independent provinces were attached to this strange outfit. We have heard from Senator McManus of the ghastly events which led to the dissolution of the Croatian Peasant Party at the end of the 1920s and the start of the 1930s and ultimately the assassination of King Alexander in Marseilles by people believed to be Croatian agents. Then came the Second World War. At this time the Croatians were under the governmental domination of the Serbs, the monarchy being run there as a virtual dictatorship. Whilst Croatia provided most of the wealth of the kingdom, nearly all positions and quasi parliamentary authority resided in Serbia.

On 8f.h April 1941 the barbarian Hitler invaded the Balkans. It is true that a man called Ante Pavelie became the leader of an organisation known as the Ustasha or, as it is sometimes called, the Ustashi. Noone would make any bones about the fact that this man was a dictator. He took over the control of Croatia. He had a vestige of independence. At least he had more independence than the country had when it was ruled by Serbia. It does not seem any more remarkable to me that a man like Pavelic should attempt to do a deal with Hitler than that Mr Churchill and President Roosevelt should sit down at a later date with Joseph Stalin, one of the most evil men ever - certainly the most evil since Cromwell.


Senator Withers - What is this 'since Cromwell' jazz?


Senator HANNAN - Does anyone seriously challenge that?


Senator Withers - Yes.


Senator McManus - A statue of Cromwell was put in front of Parliament House.


Senator Georges - I can see the base of your argument.


Senator HANNAN - I beg your pardon.







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