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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 593


Senator BOLKUS(5.14) —I am bemused by all this. I cannot understand what is going on in the Senate at the moment. What we have is a proposal which, in essence, gives us a rerun of what we have had already. What have we got? An argument has been put to us for the last week that it is important to get evidence from the judge and that, as a consequence of that importance, we should set up another committee, another commission, another inquiry or whatever, to get that evidence before us. From reading this motion one gets an assurance that Mr Justice Murphy will not be summoned. We have that particular problem. We also have the problem that the Senate Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge had. There is no provision at all in this resolution for Mr Justice Murphy, if he chooses to participate in this farce, to lead witnesses as a counterbalance to the evidence against him.

In essence, paragraphs 2 (a) and 2 (b) say to the proposed Committee: 'Go ahead . Do not make any determination on what the accurate law is because you have an option on what you believe is misbehaviour. Do not make any accurate assessment of the burden of proof that is relevant because you have an option-it can be either beyond reasonable doubt or on the balance of probabilities. Come back with a report on any one of those four combinations. If you do not find the judge guilty on one of those four combinations, none of you are doing your job'. What else does the Opposition want?

Also we have a provision that the hearings will be held in public unless the Committee, by absolute majority, otherwise determines. If the whispers around the place are true, Senator Missen is the Opposition senator who will be on this Committee. We all know Senator Missen's approach to these sorts of hearings. We have the National Crime Authority investigation and report to substantiate it. What we will have is a full open hearing subject to no restriction on what the pertinent law will be and where all sorts of evidence can be dragged forward, relevant or irrelevant, arising out of the allegations of Mr Briese without any specific allegations being defined, as the laws of natural justice demand. We are being asked to support such a motion. When I said at the start of my remarks that I could not understand what is going on here today, maybe I should have refined that. I can understand what is going on here today. I said it earlier. It is a public persecution of the judge and all honourable senators opposite ought to be ashamed of themselves.