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Chapter 30 from: J.J. Ray (Ed.) "Conservatism as Heresy". Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co., 1974

MURPHYISM



John Ray

'MURPHYISM' might be a good name for Australia's equivalent to America's 'McCarthyism'. In the fifties, US senator Joe McCarthy made himself notorious by his witch hunt against 'reds' in American public life. To be a 'communist' was almost a crime and anyone of leftist sympathies ran the risk of being persecuted.

Senator Murphy's hunt for 'fascists' among our migrant community seems remarkably similar. The only difference is that this time it is the leftist who is doing the witch hunting. Large numbers of people whose only crime is that they oppose communist totalitarianism have been harassed by the police without as yet producing one shred of evidence about organised Croatian terrorism that would stand up in a court of law.

Murphy was also exposed in the Senate for conveniently forgetting to mention a report from the chief of Commonwealth police that there was 'no viable evidence' of such activity in Australia.

It is also now obvious that even the visit here by Yugoslav prime minister Bijedic was a put up job -- arranged solely to give Murphy some pretext for his crackdown. Over $100,000 of public money was spent to bring Bijedic here for one hour of talks with Whitlam -- talks for which the need is unknown to this day.

Bijedic did nothing, said nothing and saw practically no one. Yet the whole visit was one of Labor's finest dramatic performances -- unprecedented security arrangements and an equally unprecedented 'raid' by one arm of government on another.

If there was so little for Bijedic to do and to talk about, why couldn't Whitlam just have phoned him? It would have cost the taxpayer a lot less.

I am not of course saying that Croatian organisations do not exist in Australia. What those organisations consist of is the question. There are indeed Croatians in Australia who have fled communism and who hate what they have fled. In memory of the one period when their nation was independent they do sometimes take upon themselves the name 'Ustashi'.

The question is what harm do they do to Australia? Trotting out old pictures of what the world war two Ustashi did is about as relevant as accusing Australian communists of the crimes committed by Stalin.

Bomb-planters and other criminals do exist here and must be dealt with if and when they are found. So far there has been no proof that any of them were Croatians -- let alone executives or even members of Croatian expatriate organisations. All Murphy's raids turned up were a few allegations against Croats for weapon possession. A raid on Serbs, or even Australians for that matter, might have produced a similar small proportion of weapon owners.

What we have to fear is that shortly senator Murphy will be deporting Croatians to Yugoslav firing squads on evidence as flimsy as any Joe McCarthy ever used -- on evidence for instance that they applied the name 'Ustashi' to themselves or expressed a wish for the violent overthrow of tyranny as they see it. For a Yugoslav to be an anti-communist may soon become a crime.

Just a little more of the stage management we saw in those days in 1973 and the average Australian may come to accept that Croats are a threat and that to say of a man that he is one of the Ustashi is sufficient grounds for his deportation. One can only hope that any Yugoslav migrants so threatened will have the right to appeal to a judge to see if they have committed any other crime than being right wing.

It would be a sad day indeed if someone who had fled communist totalitarianism for a land of liberty found that the land of liberty was so paranoid that it sent him straight back whence he had come.

'But what about the training camps they are supposed to have in Australia?' someone will ask. Again, I am quite certain that such camps exist. They need not however be devoted to illegal ends. It may not be generally known that Ukrainians and other refugee groups also have such camps -- ones where the youth of the particular ethnic community attend in uniform, do physical fitness courses and receive some semi-military training (As, indeed, do the Boy Scouts).

For the representatives of an oppressed community who see communism as menacing everything they hold dear, such responses are understandable. It is equally understandable that such camps pose no threat to us or our system. They simply represent a preparedness that our governments otherwise have always seen fit to encourage (the myth of the citizen soldier) -- through such organisations as rifle clubs, the cadet corps and the CMF.

If the present government wishes to claim that such organisations are subversive, they have a heavy burden of proof upon them. Boy Scouts beware!

No doubt left wing Labor feels it was persecuted when the Liberals were in power. Now they want their turn at the persecution game. After so many years out of power they could be feeling an almost physical need to get their own back.

At the risk of being terribly corny, however, two wrongs don't make a right.


POST-PUBLICATION ADDENDUM

My reference above to one arm of government raiding another is covered at some length here. Excerpt: "Gough Whitlam said nine months into his prime ministership that the Commonwealth Police raid on ASIO headquarters in Melbourne was his government's "greatest mistake"."




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