'News and Views of a Frustrated Editor and His Featured Guests '
Senator Pauline Hanson and Tony Jones
Photo: ABC TV Q&A Screenshot 19 July 2016
If “democracy in action (where the audience asks the questions)”, as Australia’s ABC TV program QandA describes itself, includes the right of the TV program’s host (Tony Jones) to insult a community (Croatian) by uttering untruths, evidently fabricating facts that have no resemblance to the truth, seemingly in order to make his guest (Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson – an anti-Muslim immigration politician elected into the Australian Senate a couple of weeks ago) appear uninformed about terrorism in Australia, then Australia and any other democratic country where this occurs as a matter of public record should examine whether the public’s tax purse should finance such abominable public presentations.
Q&A is a weekly TV even on Australian taxpayer-funded television that “puts punters, pollies and pundits together in the studio to thrash out the hot issues of the week, live to air. It’s about democracy in action …”
On Monday 18 July 2016 Labor Senator Sam Dastyari and Queensland’s One Nation party Senator and leader Pauline Hanson, ¬seated side-by-side on the ABC TV’s QandA, argued hard over Muslim immigration and the radicalisation of young Australians.
A member of the audience asked Hanson to explain her call for a royal commission to determine whether Islam was a political ideology or a religion: “Why are you pushing this agenda and pushing fear into our community?”
Senator Hanson replied: “People in Australia are in fear because they can’t walk in the streets, they’re in fear of terrorism which is happening around the world. Why? Because of Islam.”
Senator Dastyari was quick to hit back that Senator Hanson was “not an amateur … you know ¬exactly what you’re doing and the language you use and the power of your language,” he said.
Q&A host Tony Jones interjected Queensland senator Pauline Hanson when she suggested that Australia had never before had terrorism on its soil, as it has in recent years associated with Islam.
“Pauline, when you say we never had terrorism in this country before that’s simply not the case,” Jones said.
“In the 1970s there were multiple bombings by Croatian Catholic extremists. This has happened in Australia before; it is not the first time. We should at least get that straight.”
Watching and listening to this – I turned numb all over; I could not believe my ears! What a disgraceful way to act against a community. Why would Tony Jones say that Croats had committed multiple bombings in Australia during 1970’s when the truth is Croats never to my knowledge and research committed any bombings in Australia! In my research of many court judgments I have not come across a single Croat who has ever been convicted of any bombing on Australian soil! As part of the Yugoslav communist secret police underground work during those years against Croats in Australia, Croats may have been suspected of bombings, framed for them, but none were ever charged or convicted.
Jones seemed to be referring to attacks on Yugoslav consulates in several cities in Australia in the 1970s that were attributed to Croatian nationalists, but no one was ever charged. Yugoslav commercial operations were also targeted, including the office of the national Yugoslav airline in Australia.
By the end of 1970’s, Australian authorities did emerge, though, with what some claim on grounds of investigation, was a set-up and a frame-up for attempted terror attack planned by members of the Croatian community, known as the Croatian Six case. Six members of Australia’s Croatian community were prosecuted and imprisoned for 15 years for planning to plant bombs in Sydney in 1979.
However, there were no charges of actual bombings nor were there any bombings related to these charges. So, why Tony Jones would say there were multiple bombings when there were none is actually most concerning. That he simply forgot the details of the cases is really no excuse for such a profound insult he has directed at the Australian Croatian community or its members.
With regards to the Croatian Six case of late 1970’s SBS News writes:
“Ian Cunliffe was the head of the legal section in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet at the time of the arrests. ‘I fielded a letter that was written to the prime minister (Malcolm Fraser) by someone who had been ostensibly involved in that conspiracy at that time in prison and I investigated what went on, and it seemed it me that in fact that – while six people had been convicted – it was an extremely dodgy conviction and it seemed to me that it was basically a set up by the Yugoslav intelligence service to blacken the name of the Croatian community in Australia,’ he told SBS News.
Mr Cunliffe said the Yugoslav intelligence service had an agent provocateur who ‘presented as a simple Croatian’ but was instead a bomb-making expert. He added that the police were also involved in this plot – including recently convicted murderer and former NSW police officer Roger Rogerson.
‘It was an extremely dodgy conviction – there’s no doubt about that,’ Mr Cunliffe said.
He said Australia needs to correct the historical inaccuracies of the case.
‘It could be corrected by a pardon, it could be corrected by a proper judicial inquiry which looked at all of the evidence,’ Mr Cunliffe said.
‘We’re talking about what happened 36 years ago, so whatever sensitivities would have been there would have lessened with the passage of time.’”
I am quite certain many letters, emails and petition (Change.org) have been directed to the Australian ABC TV, to Q&A show, to Tony Jones in the past day or so – all asking for an apology to the Croatian Community. I do trust a public apology to the Australian Croatian community will arrive, for – indeed, and as Mr Jones said: “We should at least get that (facts) straight.” Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)
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