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Tuesday, 6 November 1973
Page: 1561

Senator WEBSTER (Victoria) -I wish to endorse the comments made by Senator Greenwood. There are a number of questions on the notice paper that are of particular interest to me because of my concern about the civil rights of migrant Australians. I think it is important from the point of view of the operations of the Senate Select Committee on the Civil Rights of Migrant Australians that authoritative replies should be given to those questions. 1 give the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) credit for having attempted to give reasonably prompt replies in a number of instances to questions that I have placed on notice, but I am very dissatisfied with the replies that have been given. I suggest that in many instances he has sought to by-pass answering the questions properly. It is in that regard that I ask the Attorney-General to give a true and proper answer to questions asked of him.

I shall give the Senate an example. I was greatly concerned by the reference the AttorneyGeneral made in his statement concerning the raid on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to the possibility of there being organised crime in the community. The AttorneyGeneral named a number of people in his statement. My concern was about the type of crime they had committed. On a number of occasions I asked the Attorney-General by way of questions on notice what convictions had been recorded against the individuals he named and whether all of those who were named by the Attorney-General were criminals. That certainly was an inference to be derived from the AttorneyGeneral's reference to those people in a statement concerning criminal activities. In one reply to me the Attorney-General stated that all of the people he had named as criminals had convictions. It was a reply that I do not think did the Attorney-General justice. I refer to a question which he answered on 19 September. It was a question which he obviously would be able to answer within 5 minutes by referring to his records. I asked the Attorney-General what convictions were recorded against the Andric brothers, Jure Marie and Srecko Blaz Rover. He could have given that information immediately.

Indeed, in evidence given in public to the Senate Select Committee on the Civil Rights of Migrant Australians the head of the Commonwealth Police, I think it was, stated that, for instance, Srecko Rover had been convicted of having a fire alight when he should not have had a fire alight and of running a second hand shop without a licence. It is to that type of a question that we must get a proper answer. I would appreciate it if the Attorney-General were to reply accurately to my questions as soon as possible.

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