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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 998

Senator CARRICK - My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, is supplementary to that asked by Senator Hannan regarding allegations of Yugoslav secret police activities in Australia. Is the Minister aware that a great many Yugoslav migrants in Australia - good citizens of this country - hold the strong belief that secret police activities do exist and live in fear of such alleged activities? Is not this belief a main reason for the hostility expressed by many Yugoslav migrants against the Yugoslav Embassy and its consulates and agencies? Whilst offering the fullest protection to the Embassy and its subordinate establishments in the proper discharge of its diplomatic duties, whilst taking all available measures to prevent violence and unlawful actions, will the Governmental make it clear that it will take strong action to detect and eliminate any secret police activities, if they in fact exist?

Senator GREENWOOD - I do not feel there is any doubt as to what the Government would do if it became apparent to it, on evidence which was persuasive of the fact, that secret police were operating in Australia and operating in the manner in which the honourable senator suggested many people feel they do act. I know it is a fact that there are members of the Yugoslav community who do go in fear of their lives because they do hold this belief-

Senator Georges - Appoint a royal commission to find out.

Senator GREENWOOD - They do hold the belief that there are persons in the Yugoslav community who would resort to violence. There are also people who believe that the Yugoslav Government does have its people operating here, and they are in fear of them also. Of course, these are fears and allegations, and it is terribly difficult, when people have these fears, for them to reveal what they know about particular matters. I have asked people to give information which would assist Commonwealth Police inquiries into matters which are concerning all of us, and I am getting this reaction from some people. The difficulty is that people will not talk about it. I do not know how valid or how well based the allegations or the fears are, but that they are held is, in my personal experience, indisputable because I have heard people express these fears.

Having said that, I add that I do believe it is a matter which has to be investigated and, having heard Senator Georges' interjection a little while ago, I point out that it has been concerning me for quite some time. I have indicated the existence of that concern, and so has the Prime Minister. The question of whether there is to be a full scale inquiry, as I have said, has not been determined, and certainly it has not been rejected. But the simple point I made was: Let these current police investigations develop further and come to a conclusion before a firm decision is made.

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