A NEEDED GOAD
|After battling for 34 years Mr Alexander McClelland, a former Maitland man now living in Britain, has at last forced the Australian Government to accept that during World War II, while a prisoner of war, he was illegally imprisoned in a German concentration camp. This long delayed acceptance opens the way for Mr McClelland and other Australian and New Zealand ex-servicemen who were similarly imprisoned to seek compensation from the West German Government.
The Federal Government Departments concerned, with one notable exception, have behaved disgracefully throughout this case. Through the years they have persistently denied that any Australian Servicemen had been held in any german concentration camp. Not until the Newcastle Herald took up Mr McClelland's case last year with the national president of the Returned Services League, Mr Keys, and he in turn sought the help of the Commonwealth Ombudsman was there any sign of action. Had the Herald not publicised the case it is likely that Mr McClelland and others would still be vainly seeking justice.
The case shows above all the value of the Ombudsman. Without his goad and Mr McClelland's remarkable determination, a demonstrably unconcerned bureaucracy would hardly have changed a story it had persisted with for more than three decades.
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate
Thursday, August 2, 1979