Colonel Charles Spry
Character: Colonel Charles Spry
You have been subpoenaed to appear before the Royal Commission on Espionage. A subpoena is a formal written order issued by a court commanding a person to appear under penalty as a witness in a trial or an inquiry such as a Royal Commission.
All three members of the group will work closely together to prepare for the Character to appear before the Royal Commission. This will involve:
Preparing a speech (testimony) which outlines, from your point of view:
who you are;
- the reason for the Royal Commission and its enquiry into Espionage in Australia;
- your views of communism, the Cold War and fears of the spread of communism;
- the extent of espionage within Australia; and
role of ASIO in the Petrov Affair.
Preparing evidence (facts, documents etc) that supports your case.
You will be called when the Royal Commissioners are ready for you.
Be prepared to answer any questions from the Royal Commissioners especially about Soviet espionage in Australia.
Prime Minister Menzies and Colonel Spry favoured a Royal Commission on Espionage for the following reasons:
Precedent: After the Gouzenko defection in Canada, the Canadian Government had established a Royal Commission which had eventually produced an outstanding report on Soviet espionage in Canada and was extremely highly regarded inside ASIO.
Legal necessity: Under the statue of its establishment ASIO had been given no legal power to require of anyone that they must speak to its officers or answer their questions. By agreement with Menzies, it was clear that the Royal Commissions Act could be amended to give it the power of subpoena.
Public education: That the Royal Commission on Espionage would alert Australians to the reality and danger of Soviet espionage.
Robert Manne, The Petrov Affair, 1987
Red: slang term for communist. Red was the main colour on the flags of many communist countries, symbolising the blood shed by workers in defending themselves against their oppressors.
KGB: secret police organisation in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
- Old Parliament House Petrov Affair website – Spies
- Wikipedia entry on ASIO
- ABC Time Frame website – The Door Never Closes
- Australians at War – Freedom of Speech. An Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs website. See and listen to Michael Thwaites.
- Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission speeches – Dr. Sev Ozdowski, 2002
- Significant Events in ASIO’s history
- About ASIO