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Issue #1918      June 8, 2020

“Would Australia attack Soviet?”

Asks Patterson in court

To prove that the alleged statements were seditious, the Crown would have to show that Australian-Soviet relations were so bad that Australia was likely to be an aggressor against the Soviet, said Mr F. W. Paterson, defending [CPA] Secretary L. L. Sharkey this week against sedition charges.

Friends Of Soviet Union (F.O.S.U.) State conference Victoria.

“But we have no evidence here whatsoever as to the relations between the Commonwealth Government and the Soviet Union.

“The Crown certainly does not expect your worship to make a decision on the basis of your reading of the newspapers.

“But if your worship is asked to take judicial notice of any fact on this question, then I ask you to take judicial notice of this fact: Australia and the Soviet Union are both members of the United Nations, and there is a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Great Britain, strictly called the ‘Anglo-Soviet Treaty,’ and it is to last for twenty years from 1942.

“It may be that the Crown intends to suggest that the relations between the two countries are so bitter that either Britain or Australia would support a war of aggression against the Soviet Union.

“I doubt very very much whether they will. But, to succeed in their proof that these paragraphs or any of them amount to a seditious intention, they would have to be prepared to do that.

“Look at the first two paragraphs which deal more or less with the same subject and therefore could be read together. Supposing for the sake of argument we omit the words ‘Soviet Forces’ and say ‘United States forces.’

‘If United States forces entered Australia [...]’ Would anyone suggest that that is seditious?”

Mr Isles: “You are overlooking the fact of disagreement.”

Mr Paterson: “No, your worship, there is disagreement between Australia and America, between Britain and America. Take the position of Palestine. The only reason there is a tendency to headline disagreement between the Soviet Union and Australia and Britain is because the newspapers tend to stress those disagreements, but put away into some small corner the other disagreements with the USA.”

Mr Isles: “Do you agree it is notorious that many people would violently disagree with the first two statements?”

Mr Paterson: “That is notorious, but it is not a notorious fact.”

Mr Isles: “You do not agree that that is a notorious fact?”

Mr Paterson: “No. Because you can have notorious lies as well as notorious truths.”

Mr Dovey: “It depends on the point of view.”

Mr Paterson: “Of course it does, but you cannot be asked, your worship, to give a decision on a point of view.”

Mr Isles: “Is it not common knowledge that a great many people would disagree with the first two statements?”

Mr Paterson: “I do not know whether a great many will.”

Mr Lsles: “You will not agree it is common knowledge?”

Mr Paterson: “No, I would not. You remember, your worship, Dr Gallup said it was not only common knowledge, but it was proved by his whole method, that President Truman would be defeated in the last presidential elections – and he was not.”

“Supposing a case came before your worship in January, 1940, when Russia was black in the eyes of the world –”

Mr Isles: “I agree with you, but we must deal with the circumstances which exist today.”

Mr Paterson: “Not only the circumstances, your worship, but the truth which exists today; that is the point, the truth which exists today. In fact your worship can take judicial notice of the fact that the Prime Minister of Australia has indicated from time to time that Australia would not be an aggressor against the Soviet Union. He does not suggest at any time Australia would be an aggressor

“If someone said ‘but the Soviet Union might be the aggressor’ then the first paragraph does not apply to us because you cannot be in pursuit of yourself, you cannot be chasing yourself.

“That first paragraph does not say ‘If Soviet forces entered Australia as aggressors,’ it says ‘in pursuit of aggressors.”

This article originally appeared in Tribune April, 1949.

Next article – “Political charge” against Sharkey, states Paterson

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