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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1310

Senator O'BYRNE - Has the AttorneyGeneral seen the reference in today's 'Australian' to the fact that Dymphna Cusack, the grand old lady of Australian literature who spent some years following the trail of the Ustasha through Yugoslavia, concluded that 'if a government won't acknowledge a terrorist organisation's presence it must be said to be conniving with it'?

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator 0'Byrne, will you please resume your seat while I read out my previous ruling on questions. 1 keep this in my drawer because there are so many offences against the Standing Orders in relation to questions that I have to keep repeating it. 1 remind the Senate that it has been ruled on many occasions that, whilst questions may be asked on newspaper or other reports, quotations are not in order. The purpose of questions is to obtain information. Questions should be brief and in a form that makes it possible for them to be answered. J reaffirm that honourable senators must frame their questions in such a way as not to make quotations. I am basing that on rulings given by many previous Presidents of the Senate.

Senator O'BYRNE - Will the AttorneyGeneral assure the Senate that the valuable research material on terrorist activities, which has been referred to by Dymphna Cusack and which she says she has available, will be thoroughly examined by officers of his Department?

Senator GREENWOOD - The simple answer to the question is that, if people who claim that they have information, and on the basis of their claims make conclusions which they publicise, make that information available to the authorities for them to assess, undoubtedly the investigations will be made. I know that the Commonwealth police investigate, and have investigated recently, all allegations which have appeared in the newspapers by people who claim - I must emphasise the word claim' - that they have information about criminal terrorist organisations. I cannot speak for the State police, but I believe that they would generally follow the same procedure. 1 think that there are a couple of comments which ought to be made. One is that a number of the people who write in newspapers find that they are unable to give any information at all because they say that their source is confidential and cannot be revealed. That has been demonstrated in recent times when Commonwealth police have investigated newspaper writers. One wonders, therefore, why people should write in newspapers when they are not prepared to give the source of their information to the police in order to enable the police to investigate the matter.

Senator Georges - Surely there is a simple answer to that.

Senator GREENWOOD - There may well be an answer, but I am not prepared to give it at the present time. Senator Georges may well know why people write such stories. In recent times I have experienced 2 very significant occurrences. One was an interview with a number of people who claimed that there are terrorist organisations in Australia. The leader of that group said to me that there was, as I have often said, no evidence of there being such a thing as a Ustasha in Australia, and that there was no evidence that would enable people to be prosecuted. But it may be that such evidence will be found. Therefore investigations must still be carried on. The other significant occurrence was the statement by Dr J. F. Cairns, as reported in last Sunday's 'Sun Herald', that as far as he is aware, there is no movement in Australia which goes under the name of Ustasha. This, of course, is a matter which eventually seeps through. A sifting of all these allegations and claims proves in so many instances that there is no basis for them.

Senator 0'Byrnereferred to something which Dymphna Cusack has written. I have not seen it, but I am quite sure that, after this question has been asked today, the attention of the Commonwealth police will be drawn to it and they will make such inquiries as they can make in the light of the information given to them.

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