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Wednesday, 18 September 1974
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Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - The Senate is debating a censure motion against the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Willesee. That motion has 3 parts. Firstly, it is a motion of censure of Senator Willesee regarding his mishandling of the affair of the young Russian violinist Ermolenko who let it be known that he sought refuge in Australia. Secondly, the censure is directed against the Minister for the action taken in the furtive and gratuitous recognition of sovereignty by Soviet Russia of the 3 Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Thirdly, it is a censure motion aimed to direct criticism against the Minister and his Government because of the way in which the Minister is leading Australia away from the policies of the Western world into the pro-communist and radical policies of the Third World.

It is a serious matter to move a censure motion against a Minister of State. The AttorneyGeneral, Senator Murphy, made much of the fact that we had done so. He said how outrageous it was and that it was quite improper for an Opposition to move a censure against a Minister on his actions and on the policies of the Government. What strange quirks happen in that man's mind.

On 14 August 1968 Senator Murphy moved a censure motion against the Minister for Repatriation on the grounds of his personal and policy behaviour. On 19 August 1969 Senator Murphy moved a censure motion against Senator Wright for the same reason. On 1 March 1972 Senator Murphy moved a censure motion against the then Attorney-General, Senator Greenwood. Senator Murphy now has the gall to come into this Parliament and base virtually the whole of his speech on the fact that it would be improper for an honourable senator in this chamber to get to his feet and move censure against a Minister. The present Attorney-General's whole life style is based on his change of life- his political menopause- in the last 3 years in which what he saw in Opposition as virtuous he now finds as vile.

Today Senator Willesee was given the opportunity to state his case. In stating his case he condemned himself. I want to take this in 2 sections. Honourable senators tomorrow can look at the Hansard of the speech of Senator Willesee and they will find- I wrote the words down as he made much of this statement- that when referring to Ermolenko he said: 'It would have been very desirable to get him away. It would have been wonderful': He said in that part of his speech how important it would have been for this young man to have been got away from the Russian diplomats and be given a chance to be free from them to make up his mind. He then went on to indicate that he had found it impossible -

Senator Georges - Come on.

Senator CARRICK - I repeat his words: 'It would have been very desirable to get him away. It would have been wonderful'. Those were the words of Senator Willesee. He admitted the failure of the Minister and the failure of the Government, including the Attorney-General, to get this young man away from what was some three to four days virtual captivity by officers of the Russian Embassy. Does anyone deny this?

Senator Gietzelt - Yes, of course we deny it.

Senator CARRICK - Let me draw attention to the speeches of honourable senators opposite last year when we were debating a motion of criticism of the U.S.S.R. regarding Sakharov, Sol.zenitsyn and others. When reluctantly, at least, Labor senator after Labor senator admitted the tactics of the U.S.S.R. and said that it was a vile totalitarian government that used imprisonment, torture and bloody murder to get its way, honourable senators opposite, including Senator James McClelland, agreed that it was utterly wrong that this should be so. Solzhenitsyn's books are today vivid testimony of the fact that if a man or a free nation is condemned to captivity under such a country, they are condemned to a likelihood of a kind of captivity, a kind of torture, including bloody murder, the like of which in our lifetime we have not seen. Let members of the Government get up and say that they do not agree that the Gulag Archipelago is right. Last year they said it was right. Three new islets have now been added to the Gulag Archipelago- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. De jure sovereignty has now been given to the Russians and those States have been added to the chain of 1,000 prison camps which Labor condemns but which lie across Russia.

Against this background Labor senators sat last year on the Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians and took evidence. They heard many cases. They heard, and there is no refutation, of what happened, as given in evidence on 9 August 1973, of the fate of 2 Russian officers of a merchant vessel. One was a medical officer named Dr Nazid Solovien and the other was Mr Victor Strahkovsky. Early in February they sought refuge in Australia. Evidence was given of how they were hounded and how into private homes came the second secretary of the Russian Embassy seeking to intimidate and seeking to force them back. If honourable senators wanted any more evidence of this, how much more evidence could they obtain than the evidence of the doctor, as reported on page 372 of the Hansard transcript. He was found to be very unhappy and was asked what happened. He said:

Tulayev, the Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy brought me a small tape-recorder and I hear with my own ears the torture of my child, wife and mother.

Does anyone disbelieve that in this country agents of the Russian Government are using duress on people? A lot has been made of the fact that in other countries, if an Australian were in this same position, particular things would happen. Does anyone suggest that if there were an Australian in the United States of America who was in a similar position that the officials of the Australian Embassy would take that Australian, hold him and not allow him freedom of movement? The simple fact is that Government members are deliberately confusing 2 things: They are confusing the right of free access of embassies to their nationals and the right of continuous access and continuous duress. I say that it is intolerable if, in Australia, a Minister rises in the Parliament, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs has done today, and confesses that he saw no way of disallowing a situation which, based on the history of the Russians and even the Russians in this country, allows a foreign embassy, not on embassy soil even, to remain in continuous contact with, and therefore placing continuous duress on, that young man. It is no good saying that the young man could have left. Does the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) say that there is no legal process in Australia whereby the Australian Government could arrange for such a person to be moved from a situation of apparent duress and given asylum in a temporary way to make up his or her mind? Do Government members really say that? No, indeed, Senator Willesee says that it would have been very desirable to get Ermolenko away. He says that it would have been wonderful. But what did he seek to do? Nothing at all. Did Senator Willesee rise in the Senate and say that he went to see

Smirnov, the Charge d 'Affaires, in order to ask him to remove his officials for a day or two so that the young man could make up his mind? Is there any suggestion that there was any approach to the Russian Embassy to give the young man a breathing space? Is there any suggestion at all that an attempt was made to free him of what really were his captors? Does anyone deny that they were, in fact, his captors?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes.

Senator CARRICK - Senator JamesMcClelland interjects. He would do well to look at the speech he made last year in the debate on the Russian dissenters in which he identified the techniques of the Russians in terms of their attempts to strangle the freedom of intellectuals and others. Now, he does not recognise that these officers of the Russian Embassy may well have been doing exactly the same thing. This was a selective affair. Everything was done to get this young man out of the country.

The protest, because it was not led by a member of the Australian Labor Party or a communist, has been called a bad protest. It was refered to as a mob and, to use Senator Willesee 's words, a pack of louts. I hope that the people of Western Australia know that those decent people- the students, the churchmen and the others- who were out there protesting in favour of freedom were described in the words of Senator Willesee as a pack of louts. Of course, he said it and I asked him to repeat if. This is great stuff. A protest is valid and in the cause of freedom when it is led by a member of the Australian Labor Party or by a communist. It is as wrong as hell in the eyes of" the members of the Australian Labor Party and is to be put down if it is led by a Liberal or a member of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. Did honourable senators listen to the smears that came from the Government benches when it was suggested that an official of the Federated Clerks Union was a member of the Australian Democratic Labor Party? That is selective freedom if ever there was any, and it exists in the media today.

It was said that the Government had an aircraft at the Pearce Air Force Base which I am told is 20 miles or half an hour by motor car away from the commercial area. But they did not, in fact, take Ermolenko to the commercial aircraft. Is the Government going to use Royal Australian Air Force aircraft to break strikes and to break up demonstrations that it does not like in the future? Mr Minister, is that the tactic we are to have? Look, the simple test on Ermolenko is this: He was entitled to make up his mind quietly and free of the Russian Embassy. It was admitted by the Minister that that was his entitlement. The Minister said- I repeat it- that it would have been very desirable to get him away; it would have been wonderful. But it did not happen. Indeed, the Minister and the Government did not do it.

So, we have a situation in this country where today a citizen of another country can be intimidated and held under duress. Does anyone deny the testimony of the Russian doctor? Does anyone not feel horror in his testimony that they played a tape which allegedly was a recording of the torture of his wife and child and mother in order to bring him home? Does anyone put out of his mind the possibility- and this is in Australia, and on Australian soil -

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is this Ermolenko?

Senator CARRICK - This is a Russian citizen seeking asylum exactly as Ermolenko was and in similar circumstances with an intervention by Embassy officials and an allegation of torture and of duress- exactly the same. Does anyone suggest that there is not the same parallel? There can be no greater ground for censure of a Minister or for a Minister being removed from office than his abdication of his duties and the revelation by him of his recognition of his duty and his failure to discharge it. It was he, not the Opposition, who described this situation. He it was who spoke of the need and the sheer desirability to do this and of the failure of the Minister and the Government to do it.

This Minister will make his place in history. He will do so not only for this tragic case. It is no use, may I interpolate, to talk of the fact that Ermolenko may be in West Germany and be free today. If there is a message in the works of Solzhenitsyn it is that the Devil sups with a long spoon; the Devil has a long memory; the Russians will wait; they will sit it out; they will move in their own time; they will move when people have forgotten. This lad and his family for the rest of their lives must walk in fear of duress, of torture and of intervention by the Russians. Does anyone doubt this?

Senator Georges - Yes.

Senator CARRICK -Well, it is well to know that Senator Georges doubts in fact the whole of the Solzhenitsyn story.

Senator Georges - Do not put words into my mouth.

Senator CARRICK - He doubts the whole basis of the 'Gulag Archipelago '.

Senator Georges - Do not twist my words.

Senator CARRICK - All I am doing is repeating what Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov say as to what in fact happened. Does Senator Georges doubt that what has happened to Sakharov and what has happened to others can happen to Ermolenko?

With respect to the Baltic situation, may I say that on 23 August 1939, 2 notorious criminals of international history- von Ribbentrop and Molotov- signed a secret protocol on the division of the spheres of interest in Eastern Europe- I have the text in front of me- and therefore seized the 3 States which had been independent and free States. The Minister for Foreign Affairs in effect has put his signature to this protocol because he has made de jure what they made de facto by force of arms. One of the basic reasons why we fought World War II was to free nations such as the Baltic nations- or that was the reason as I read it. I understood that we won World War II. But the actions of the Senator Willesees of this world are doing much to translate the result into losing the peace. In fact what he has done has been to sell out the small people and the small nations of this world for the price of a numbers game in his and his Government's power politics, as revealed by Senator Wheeldon. Senator Wheeldon said: 'What is wrong with promoting Senator Willesee for the candidature of president of the United Nations?' Of course that is a numbers game. The job is to get around the world, discrediting all your principles, to seek from wherever you can a vote, because a vote from the smallest nation, from the most radical nation, the most communist nation or the most tyrannous nation is as good as a vote from Britain, America or France. This is precisely the reason, as has been revealed today by Senator Willesee and Senator Wheeldon- 'mine own executioners'. Senator Wheeldon said: 'Yes, he ought to be president of the United Nations'. Here we are looking at the sellout of Australia and other people for that.

My goodness, we had an example only the other day of the arrogance and the tyrannous mind of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) who gratuitously said to the world that the people of Portuguese Timor should be annexed into Indonesia. I hope that he does not take the same attitude to the 1 3 million people of Australia if he believes that he can play around with the people of the world like pawns on a chessboard. It so happens that I know something of Portuguese Timor and of the Portuguese Timorese. Are we as Australians willing to say that we will make up our own minds about people who ethnically, in terms of their languages and cultures, are as different as can be from the people of western Timor or Indonesian Timor? Are we willing to say that? Is this the kind of arrogance that we are to display? Are we going to pass people around as though they were on a chess board because it adds up to a numbers game?

Let me look at the situation. Without any announcement at all we discovered, because it trickled out, that this Government and the Minister had agreed to the de jure recognition of the 3 Baltic countries. What an extraordinary thing it was that the day before the last general election the Prime Minister of Australia wrote to the President of the Council of the Lithuanian Community denying that there would be any de jure recognition and indicating that the policy would be as in the past. He had in 1968 made it clear that his Party would support the Chifley Labor Government's attitude and would support all those parties which belonged to the Socialist International. This is the policy. What an interesting thing it is that a telegram from Stockholm on 12 August this year from the chairman and member of the Council of the Socialist International stresses its total opposition to the de jure recognition of the Baltic States. The only argument that has been raised has been: 'Well, Sweden has done it and Switzerland has done it. ' I invite the Government to come forward and study the situation in those 2 countries and then state categorically that those countries have, de jure, recognised the Soviet incorporation of the Baltic States. I understand that legally that is gravely in doubt.

On the day before the elections, conscious of the importance of the migrant vote- and many times before that- the Prime Minister said: 'We will not recognise the incorporation'. For months before that all Labor senators had been going around saying this too. Mr Chifley had said it; Mr Caldwell had said it; Mr Whitlam had put it in writing. What has changed since the day before the election? That was barely two or three months ago. It is only a handful of months, so what has changed? Senator Wheeldon advanced the extraordinary story that the Cold War had ended. It was apparently still on on 1 7 May but is now off. Why? On what desiderata is this so? We look to Senator Willesee. He said: 'It is the policy of the Government to recognise realities'. Well, the reality is that East Germany is incorporated into the U.S.S.R. Do we in fact incorporate East Germany in the U.S.S.R.? The reality is that the Smith Government has de facto sovereignty over Rhodesia. Do we recognise that? Need I go around the world? Is it your principle, is it really your policy, that you will recognise realities? Is East Germany a part -

Senator Georges - What about Chile?

Senator CARRICK - Do not intervene away from the main course. Is East Germany a part? Let us have a look at this.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not a part of the U.S.S.R.

Senator CARRICK - The senator will have his opportunity. The incorporation was condemned by every newspaper, by every writer, by every main commentator in Australia, and widely, I think without exception, throughout the free world. Not bad, when the Labor Government now says it does not matter and we are the only ones in step in the regiment. Everybody else is wrong. Indeed, the cold war ended on 18 May. Let me read the argument from the Melbourne Herald' editorial of 7 August. It said:

This recognition of permanent Russian occupation is inconsistent and puzzling. We encourage ethnic and political liberation movements from Vietnam to Bangladesh to Guinea-Bissau. We refuse to countenance 'realism' whether invoked in the name of defensible frontiers for Israel or of South African occupation of the diamond-mines of SouthWest Africa. We have not given 'face' to the Chinese rape of Tibet.

But to three European republics that stand in the way of Moscow's reach for the Baltic, we have gone out of our very distant way to be contemptuous. Western associates far closer to the continuing problem refuse to admit any Moscow right to hold captive 'constituent' republics. Can Canberra refute the claim of Baltic people here that this diplomatic initiative is a betrayal?

Every one of the newspapers without exception condemned the recognition. May I read now from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' editorial of 15 August. It said:

In defending it . . .

That is, the recognition- . . the unfortunate Senator Willesee cannot be said to have made the best of a bad job. On the contrary, he made just about the worst possible fist of it. Some of his arguments were so feeble as to invite derision. When asked, pointedly, if the decision was not a clear ratification of the agreement between Hitler and Stalin in 1939, one which signalled the conquest by force of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, he said no'. The correct and honest answer would, of course, have been 'yes'.

Senator Cavanagh - Who said that?

Senator CARRICK -That is the 'Sydney Morning Herald ' editorial.

Senator CARRICK - Every commentator of any stance in Australia and throughout the free world has condemned what has been done. Every commentator has said that it was wrong. We have in fact done damage to our own image. We have gone against the policies of the North

Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, of Britain, of Canada, of America. It is no argument to say 'Yes, but Switzerland and Sweden have done so'. In fact there are grave doubts that they have. We have done worse than that. This Government and this Minister have broken an election promise. It was bitterly clear to the Australian people, and this must be faced, that at the election of 18 May the Government had given its word that there would be no de jure recognition of the incorporation of those states in Russia. Yet within weeks of that this was done, but not done publicly. No statement was made by the Minister.

If I could pause there, no Minister who has held that important portfolio has added less to the constructive dialogue on foreign policy. The Minister virtually refuses to answer questions. If he does, he treats them contemptuously. If he does, his usual retort is 'I do not read newspapers'. One does not now think that was a cynical remark. There may well be a basis of truth in it. Indeed, no Minister has treated the people of Australia and this Parliament with more contempt on matters of foreign importance than this Minister. Where indeed are the basic foreign statements? Where indeed is the laying down of a statement on the incorporation? Was there one? Not at all. What does the Government say? It says: 'We did the same as you did in Goa '. Does anyone suggest that a free and democratic country- India- in incorporating Goa can offer to the Goanese the potential duress, the potential tyranny, that Russia can offer to the Baltic states? Does anyone suggest that India is a military threat in that regard? Yet extraordinarily, looking at all this and looking at the racial background, the Government rests on 2 things: 'You people recognised Goa, and Sweden and Switzerland have come to the party'.

Senator Wheeldon - Finland and Switzerland.

Senator CARRICK - No. For many years Finland had recognised the sovereignty. I was referring to Sweden and Switzerland and suggesting that the Minister might investigate the validity in international law of his Government's claim that they have recognised the incorporation of the Baltic states.

Let me draw my argument together. This is a censure motion based primarily on 3 things: The mishandling of the Ermolenko affair, the gratuitous and furtive incorporation of the Baltic states in Russia, and the rapid move to the left in our foreign policy. In relation to the Ermolenko case the Minister for Foreign Affairs said- in his own words a confession of failure and abdicationthat it would have been good to have had the man free to make up his mind, but it had not happened. It had not happened and he had done nothing about it. In relation to the Baltic states, in the face of the whole of history of this moment we are prepared to hand over these people de facto and de jure. It is not good enough to say: 'It has happened '. Is it the test that we are willing at all times to sacrifice our ideals, to sacrifice our principles and put them away on the entirely expendient altar of reality? Are we to say: 'It is here so it will always be. We will always recognise the existence of the right of the big dog to take over the small dog, to deny the small dog freedom'? Is this it? Have we lost the power of idealism? Have we lost the power of intellectual honesty? Have we lost the guts of the independent Australians?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McAuliffe)- Order! The honourable senator's time has expired.

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