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Tuesday, 4 September 1984
Page: 431

(Question No. 736)


Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs , upon notice, on 8 March 1984:

(1) What have been the total costs of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service Sheraton exercise.

(2) What have been the following costs associated with the exercise: (a) Legal costs in representing ASIS personnel involved; (b) cost of reparations to the Hotel and elsewhere; (c) costs of the exercise itself; (d) anticipated costs of the inquiry of Mr Hermes as a consequence of such exercise; (e) the cost of the Hope Inquiry arising out of the same exercise; and (f) any other costs involved with the exercise.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The total costs to the Commonwealth arising from the Sheraton Hotel exercise cannot be determined at this time, mainly because the final accounts in connection with the High Court proceedings have not been rendered. The estimated costs are as set out below and total $762,473.

(2)-

(a) Private legal representation at Commonwealth expense has been or is being provided for those involved in the incident in three areas: Mr Justice Hope's inquiry; the inquiry by Mr C. L. Hermes into disciplinary action; and the High Court injunction proceedings regarding communication to the Victoria Police of the names of those involved. Legal costs in respect of the first two activities are covered elsewhere in this answer. The High Court matter awaits judgment. Costs of the High Court proceedings, including legal representation of all parties, in December 1983, May 1984 and before the Full Bench of the High Court on 31 July-1 August 1984 are estimated at $190,000.

(b) Claims for damages and costs totalling $365,400 have been finalised, including $300,000 to Sheraton Hotel (Melbourne) Pty Ltd.; $35,000 to the hotel manager; and $30,400 to 15 other hotel employees. There are no outstanding claims.

(c) The cost of the exercise itself, excluding salaries, was $5,091.23.

(d) The total cost of Mr Hermes's inquiry was $36,705 including $7,240 for Mr Hermes's services, $25,803 for legal representation and $3,662 in administrative expenses.

(e) the Special Minister of State has informed me that the cost of Mr Justice Hope's inquiry into the exercise, including legal representation of ASIS members , was approximately $150,700 with some accounts still to be rendered. In addition, ASIS incurred costs of $14,577 for attendance of ASIS members and administrative costs.

(f) There have been no other areas of cost arising from the exercise.