Morrisby online dating
But he was notorious for his unique access to, and prominent support for, communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Indochina.
He was suspected of interrogating and even brainwashing Allied soldiers, and of extracting and publicising their confessions to engaging in biological warfare, thereby acting as an enemy propagandist. Burchett was even widely seen as an agent for the KGB and the numerous other communist countries in which he worked.
In this way, ideological antipathy towards Burchett took root easily in a specific factual basis; the classic anti-communist fear of subversion from within found an intriguing counterpoint in Burchett’s subversion from without.
From the Korean War until his death in 1983, he was, as the title of David Bradbury’s film aptly put it, the nation’s Public Enemy Number One. Every aspect of his life was painstakingly recorded by ASIO.
And from 1955, a succession of Coalition Governments refused to issue Burchett with an Australian passport for seventeen years – it would take the accession of the Whitlam Labor Government in 1972 to reverse the policy – and even refused to register his children as Australian citizens for fifteen. Wilfred Burchett became, as the Australian put it, ‘Australia’s only political refugee’.Since Burchett’s death in 1983, it has emerged that having given ASIO Director-General Charles Spry free rein in the early 1950s to investigate Burchett’s conduct, the Menzies Government found that there was neither a legal nor evidentiary basis for a treason charge. However, due to its hostility towards Burchett’s association with enemy forces and the political imperative not to appear to be “soft” on communism, the Government persecuted him anyway. Its Coalition successors knew that the popular allegations against Burchett had limited merit, but fostered and perpetuated them to support the policy in the absence of a factual basis and thereby save face politically.
For half a century, Australian journalists and academics have fought bitterly over the legacy of journalist Wilfred Burchett.