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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3273


Mr YOUNG —by leave-The House will be aware that on 14 July I resigned from Cabinet. I did so after the Government lawyers indicated that what I had told Mr E. J. Walsh on the night of 21 April might be said to constitute an offence under the Crimes act. I thought it inappropriate to retain my portfolio or simply to stand aside from it but remain a member of Cabinet while this question had not been settled. It has now been disposed of. On 29 August the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) decided, after consultation with the Solicitor-General, not to proceed. The Commissioner in his report accepts that this is the end of the matter. I should add that my own legal advice from the very start has been that no offence under the Crimes Act was committed. The submissions to the Royal Commission on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies to this effect made on my behalf have been well publicised and I will not canvass them here.

I have acknowledged in the House my mistake in making the comments I made to Mr Cameron on the day of Mr Ivanov's expulsion. I agree there was an error of judgment in relation to my conversation with Mr Walsh the night before. The Royal Commissioner now unequivocally states that there is no evidence that national security was damaged by what I said. As the Commissioner recognises in his report, my future is a political question which must be decided by my political colleagues.

Motion (by Mr Dawkins) proposed:

That the House take note of the papers.