Witnesses said police arrived only five minutes before the bomb went off, and it is not clear whether the hotel was warned before they turned up.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said an officer telephoned the Hilton shortly after receiving the warning, but the hotel denied this. E-mail this story to a friend. The blast caused extensive damage. Scenes at the Hilton bomb blast. Despite the collapse of two police frame-ups, the state Liberal and federal Labor governments effectively blocked demands for an official inquiry into the Hilton affair.
Throughout , opinion polls indicated that the Fraser government faced defeat. Although the government was reelected at the end of that year, it remained extremely concerned about the depth of opposition to its policies. The bombing became a vehicle for the government to implement a sweeping build-up of the police-intelligence apparatus, the basis for which had been laid by the Whitlam government.
Facing hostility in the labour movement over the openly right-wing activities of ASIO and the police Special Branches, Whitlam had commissioned a royal commission headed by Justice Robert Hope. As a result of the bombing, Wran dropped the inquiry.
As proposed by Hope, the legislation authorised ASIO to intercept mail and telecommunications, use bugging devices, and carry out searches and seizures. Disclosure of the identity of ASIO agents became a criminal offence. Within two months of the bombing, former British police chief Sir Robert Mark completed a report to the Fraser government calling for the establishment of the Australian Federal Police and the creation of police para-military units.
These measures, the greatest expansion of the powers and resources of the police-intelligence apparatus since World War II, helped lay the foundations for the even more draconian police-state provisions introduced since on the pretext of combating terrorism. The coming to power of the Rudd Labor government will in no way alter this agenda. World Socialist Web Site wsws. Get Involved! At this time, the Hilton Bombing provided the means whereby the Australian political police redefined their role from being anti-subversive to being anti-terrorist.
The release of this report would have catastrophic repercussions for security police throughout Australia. The report demonstrated the extent of political police surveillance of "subversives". More importantly, it showed that this concept of "subversive" was extraordinarily broad.
Files were maintained on all ALP candidates and elected members; on all members and activities of the ACTU; on demonstrators and participants in peace movements even prayer meetings for peace were watched and recorded ; and on all members of the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties.
Long before the Council was formed, the public utterances of prominent citizens who advocated any form of civil rights and liberties were recorded and indexed. In all, files had been established and built up on a staggering 40, people. According to Justice White, the concept of "subversive" covered everyone with opinions to the left of an arbitrary centre point chosen by someone in Special Branch. Another aspect that disturbed Justice White was Special Branch's complete lack of skill in intelligence gathering.
They collected gossip and rumours, and after a while this gossip became accepted as fact. Justice White referred to the files as "a mass of records.
The South Australian Commissioner of Police, Harold Salisbury, strongly urged that the Government not publish Justice White's report as the effects of publication would be "volcanic", with ramifications that would extend to all state Special Branches, ASIO, and foreign intelligence sources.
However, on 17 January , Don Dunstan sacked Police Commissioner, Salisbury for misleading him on the extent of Special Branch files, and published the report. This event, one month before the Hilton bombing, sent the intelligence community into convulsions.
All but two of South Australia's Special Branch were transferred to other units, and those two were retained to help with the destruction of all records that were not to do with genuine security risks. The ramifications of these events were exactly as the sacked Police Commissioner Harold Salisbury had predicted: they shook the secret police in Australia as no other events had.
On 20 January , the West Australian opposition called for an Inquiry into its Special Branch, and the next day, the Melbourne Age echoed this concern editorially. In an editorial on 19 January , the Australian commented on the South Australian affair: "It is the size of the surveillance that is disturbing.
Clearly the latitude given to Special Branch has been immense. It is worthy of a banana republic. It is not worthy of an Australian state. The issue had assumed such importance that in the week following Salisbury's sacking, The National Times devoted a special issue to the South Australian controversy and the role of the Special Branches in Australian politics. Federally, ASIO was now embroiled within the burgeoning crisis; there were calls for it to destroy all files no longer relevant to security; and federal cabinet decided to appoint a committee to investigate the relationship between ASIO and the state Special Branches.
Strong laws were proposed to curb ASIO's excesses. A Sydney journalist claimed that ASIO files on five prominent left-wingers had been made available to him by Coleman in These files were to be used in a magazine called ' The Analysis ' which was to prepare articles on the basis of information supplied by ASIO to discredit radical individuals, in particular members of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee. One of the files had been prepared by South Australian Special Branch for purely political purposes.
This seemed to be a damming example of the political misuse of intelligence information: Secret Police files were to be used as a party political weapon. It confirmed deeply held left-wing and ALP fears that the secret police were a secret arm of the conservative parties.
The inquiry was to investigate the allegations that Coleman was involved with a scheme to use ASIO documents to discredit people. It threatened to become a major political scandal.
The establishment of this Inquiry was due to be announced on February 14, the day after the Hilton Bombing.
It was on this day that the sniffer dog squad was called off. It seems it was at this stage that the Hilton Operation began. Someone very high up in the security forces decided that the political police could rescue their position with a publicity stunt. It was to be planted Saturday morning before the heads of state arrived. It would be discovered after a warning phone call on Monday morning. The press were to be alerted too. A blaze of pro-political police publicity would follow.
All that had to be done was to keep people away from the garbage bin. The Hilton Operation ran strictly according to plan up until Two garbage pick-ups were prevented by the NSW police. Whoever planted the bomb was well aware of the garbage collection times. Another garbage collection was due at 1AM Monday morning. At Terry Griffiths says another police officer told him the warning phone call was made by a Sergeant in Special Branch who had been observing the scene outside the Hilton in a red torana, a police observation car.
The warning phone caller rang the police switchboard and asked to speak to Special Branch. It was Normally, Special Branch would not be there at that hour, though the phone caller seemed to believe they would be. Indeed, the same person called back an hour later at 1. After the phone rang a few times, the police telephonist transferred the call to the sergeant in charge of the CIB, Cec Streetfield. The Hilton Operation had begun to unravel. What Streetfield did on being informed of the bomb, is one of the mysteries of the Hilton.
What he did not do is notorious: he did not warn the police outside the Hilton over the police radio. Streetfield testified before the Hilton Inquest in According to Terry Griffiths, he told a pack of lies. According to Streetfield, the phone caller said: "Dere is a bomb in der bin outside der Hilton Hotel. Landers argues that the mess and noise has distracted from a mountain of circumstantial, though arguably very strong, evidence pointing to Ananda Marga and its globe-hopping Australian leader Abhiik Khumar, who denies involvement.
Landers has sympathy. Join 1. Stephen A Russell Sarussellwords. Follow Us. View Comments. Trending Now. Cricket world mourns the sudden death of Australian great Dean Jones.
Qantas drinks trolleys fly out the door as airplane memorabilia hits fever-pitch.Image: Journalist Imre Salusinsky is the first person to tell Hilton bomber Evan Pederick's story in detail and with his scorenabmespocapp.reidrexlicilimalindisctextdersticon.co to larger image. So much has been written about the Hilton Bombing – Australia’s first terrorist attack.