In the Matter of Robert FaurissonJohn Bennett
Statement on oath by John Tuson Bennett of 122 Canning Street, Carlton Melbourne Australia, barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
I, John Tuson Bennett of 122 Canning Street Carlton Melbourne make oath and say as follows:
1. I am a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and have been employed by the Attorney General's Department of the Government of Australia since 1968, and am currently working in the legal aid section of that Department.
2. I graduated in law with honors from the University of Melbourne in 1958 and graduated in arts with honors from the same University in 1966. 1 am the author of various publications such as Freedom of Expression in Australia, The Handbook of Citizens Rights, Police Powers and Citizens Rights and Your Rights. Your Rights has sold over 120,000 copies in Australia and is the standard reference work on human rights in Australia.
3. I have been the Secretary of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties since it was founded in 1966. The VCCL supports freedom of speech, freedom to conduct research, freedom to publish and freedom from arbitrary government actions; it investigates police misconduct, invasions of privacy and allegations of transgressions of citizens' rights, promotes law reform; and it takes steps to advise the public of their rights.
4. As a private citizen, I have exercised my own personal right to freedom of speech to conduct research and to publish my findings in various controversial areas of "history." In particular, I have conducted research into the treatment of Jews in Europe in WWII. I have come to the same conclusion as that reached by Professor A. Butz, Professor H. Barnes and Professor J. Martin in the United States of America, and by Associate Professor Robert Faurisson in France, that there was no plan in WWII to exterminate Jews and that there were no mass gassings. Professor Helmut Diwald has also raised serious questions about the Holocaust in his book The History of the Germans.
5. The question of the nature and extent of "The Holocaust" is freely debatable in the media in Australia, and it is not suggested that people such as myself are neo nazi or anti semitic, that we should be penalized in our jobs because of our views, or that we have committed "group libel." There is no law in Australia allowing people to sue for group libel, and I would regard any such law as a major threat to freedom of speech.
6. My findings challenging the nature of "The Holocaust" have been published in or referred to in the following parts of the Australian media.
A. In The National Times in an article dated 10 February 1979 and many subsequent letters. The National Times has a circulation of about 120,000 in Australia, which has a population of about 14 million. It is the major national weekly apart from The Bulletin.
B. In The Age in feature articles on 3 March 1979 and 28 March 1979, and in about 20 letters to the editor, The Age is Melbourne's major quality morning newspaper with a circulation of 200,000. A letter by me dated 15 March 1979 is attached.
C. In Nation Review a major left wing national weekly in many issues in 1979 including an article by me (dated 7 June 1979) which is attached.
D. In The Bulletin in a feature article dated 13 September 1979 and many subsequent letters some of which are attached. The Bulletin is a conservative weekly with a circulation of 90,000.
E. On the Australian Broadcasting Commission's TV program ABC2 Nationwide on 25 April 1979, on ABC radio PM on 29 October 1979 and on the Australia wide Willesee TV show on 9 November 1979.
A cassette tape of my comments on these shows is attached. The ABC is the Australian equivalent of the British Broadcasting Commission (the BBC).
F. In The Melbourne Herald in a letter dated the 25 October 1979 a copy of which is attached. The Herald is Melbourne's only afternoon daily and has a circulation of 460,000.
The above news items indicate that the "Holocaust" is a legitimate matter for debate in a society such as Australia which values its freedom of speech. Any attempts to suppress freedom of speech could lead to suppression of the truth.
Also in Australia, if there was any suggestion that a judicial officer was biased or had preconceptions in relation to the issues in any court case he would disqualify himself, on the basis that "justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done," which is a maxim of our legal system.
7. The above news items numbered A, B, C, D, E and F are attached hereto and marked with the letters "A" "B" "C" "D" "E" and "F."
8. The publication Your Rights referred to in paragraph 2 above is attached hereto and marked with the letter "G."
9. The Victorian Council for Civil Liberties of which I am secretary has endorsed my right as a private citizen to con
duct personal research and publish my findings and has issued the following statement in support of Robert Faurisson's right to do likewise:-
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
The Victorian Council for Civil Liberties believes that the treatment of Professor Robert Faurisson by the University of Lyon, by sections of the French media, and by some decisions of French courts is scandalous, and can be compared in some respects with the Dreyfus case in France.
The VCCL believes that the Civil Rights of Professor Faurisson have been infringed and in particular that his civil rights to conduct research, to have freedom of speech, and to have academic freedom have been infringed.
It is the right to anyone to conduct research and publish his findings on any subject including controversial areas of History such as the Holocaust, and attempts to harass, victimize and silence anyone conducting such research are incompatible with the principles of a free society.
The VCCL which was established in 1966 covers the second largest state or province in Australia, and has consistently been opposed to book censorship, censorship of ideas and suppression of information by the media, and has consistently supported the civil rights of individuals in relation to the State and other organizations such as the media and universities. John Bennett Secretary Victorian Council for Civil Liberties."
10. I am prepared to attend court proceedings in France to give evidence on behalf of Robert Faurisson and to be cross examined on this, my affidavit. I believe that attempts to silence, victimize and harass Robert Faurisson are designed to prevent free debate on an important historical issue, and that the attempts are incompatible with the principles of a free society.
Sworn at Melbourne in the State of Victoria.
Before me A Commissioner of the Supreme Court in the State of Victoria for taking affidavits.