Humphries further points out that the number of immigration officers dedicated to screening for war criminals was halved two years ago to five. Moreover, Australia refuses to follow Britain's lead in backdating to the early 1990s new laws intended to facilitate the domestic prosecution of atrocities committed not in conflicts between states (the old yardstick for war crimes) but within states.
Humphries goes on to give numerous examples where trials exonerated the charged, the information from the former Communist bloc was suspect, age and ill health of those suspected became of more relevance to the courts than the alleged charges.
Those perpetrators of Nazi atrocities that are still alive, assuming they were no older than 20 years of age at war's end in 1945, would now be in their 85th year or older. If they had been 25 years of age, then they would now be 90 years old. Had they been 30 years of age, they would be 95 years old.
These are the perennial questions – has the issue of Nazi war atrocities ever been laid to rest? And, secondly, at what time did murder in 1943 fall off the list of indictments of serious crime? Or, is it a case of it being so long ago, worth all the effort and all the money, to bring such elderly people to justice?
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, a Baptist minister and cricket chaplain is raising these issues as it appears from everything he has read, there is a sentiment aboard that it's so long ago, and these people have so little time left, that to allow such issues to left to the eternal court room.
He gives both points of view and begins by citing a number of problems with a philosophy that says 'just forget it, it's too long ago'.
First, the guilty have been hiding for all these years and have been triumphant in the knowledge that 'they got away with it' and continue that anti-Semitism, if only in their spirit.
Second, whenever did plain unadulterated murder get excised? Was there ever a time when a murderer did not have to bring an account for their actions; even if pardoned afterwards. The heavens cry out for an accounting.
Third, it becomes complicitous to the atrocious actions when any Nation turns a blind eye to murder and the although the Nazi atrocities have been recounted over and over again, it makes them no less serious.
Fourth, when did the cost of justice ever come into it. Prosecution Offices have spent millions upon millions tracking white and blue collar criminals, that is part of the cost of democracy. What parts of democracy are we not willing to spend too much money on, if at all?
Fifth, what message does it send to the survivors of the Holocaust and their families when chasing Nazi criminals is put to one side with a slight of hand.
But there is also another view which some are now espousing which some feel needs to be taken into consideration.
First, those who perpetrated 'war crimes' 60 years ago have since lived law-abiding lives for some 55 of those 60 years, and brought up law-abiding children and grandchildren and worked hard and contributed to our economy and paid taxes that help pay for our Medicare which we all get for free.
Second, the major players have long since been found and punished, those minor players who are left were possibly in the situation of being forced into joining the 'dominant force'. What of those who were forced into such roles, join up - or else - you and your family would have been sent to concentration camp. What would any one of us had done to protect our families?
Third, what of identifying perpetrators' 60 years after the event. Isn't it is better for 10 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be unjustly accused. Shouldn't we give the benefit of the doubt to those who say they did nothing wrong in another country 60 years ago. In so many situations we just cannot prove otherwise.
Fourth, what about the Jewish inmates of the concentration camps who 'helped' the Nazis in various ways ... they were often cajoled or forced to do this either by being given extra rations, or more usually, by being told their families would be spared the gas chambers if they helped (this was sometimes a lie, but if the inmates believed it, what were they to do?) None of us know what we'd do until we are placed in that situation. If you were told 'do this for us, or else your wife and daughters will go to the gas chamber – if you help us, they will live', and you didn't know if it would be for years, it may just be for a few weeks – what would you do?
Fifth, some of these Jews actually helped some of the other inmates to escape, sometimes, because of their favoured positions – but they couldn't do it very often. Should these Jews of now over 85, also be punished? Their crimes in helping the Nazis exterminate other Jews and Christians and gypsies and other minority groups was just as bad as those other Europeans in occupied countries who may have been forced by the Nazis into similar circumstances. What of the Germans that put Bonhoeffer to death on Hitler's orders.
Sixth, many joined the Nazi party willingly, at maybe the vulnerable ages of 15 or 16 or younger through the Hitler Youth movement, they did so because they had been brainwashed into thinking that was the honourable and patriotic thing to do for their country. Just the same way as the marches through country towns in Australia recruited young lads for the First World War – and then sent them over the top in the Somme to be machine-gunned down – in the name of patriotism for Old England and the Empire. There are none of those diggers left now, but should have they been punished, because they are the ones who survived and probably machine-gunned down some poor innocent German lads who were coming over the top in the other direction?
Who said that the victors write the history?
M V Tronson says that when both points of view are placed side by side, at what point do we as a society say that murder is premissable, even when ordered to do so at the risk of our own lives and those whom we love.
What are the implications of such a policy, and in reality, are they to dreadful to contemplate? The recent move 'The Reader' illustrated the mentality of obeying orders in Nazi Germany and the open question of responsibility.
Should chasing Nazi war criminals be put to one side after 60 years? Is the dignity of the Nation at stake and this is too high a price to pay?
You be the judge!