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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 2


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Leader of the House) —May I have your indulgence , Mr Speaker, to say a few words on this matter?


Mr SPEAKER —Yes. I will allow the Deputy Prime Minister to proceed.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I would like to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your statement . I note that my predecessor agreed that the Hansard report should be made available to the Royal Commission on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies. At the same time you have appropriately set out the balance that has to be maintained between what are the privileges of a house of parliament as against the rights of any royal commission or judicial authority.


Mr Ewen Cameron —What are you preparing for, Lionel?


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I am preparing to answer any remarks the honourable member wants to make. The question at the moment is that something improper was done by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke). I think that was quite out of character. I think we ought to await with interest the findings of the Royal Commission in respect of all matters which may well include the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock). However, the point that is of interest in your statement is that there always has to be vigilance by Parliament in respect of what can happen. This is not the first time that an attempt has been made to make statements given in this House the subject of cross-examination in a court of law. Such an attempt was made in respect of my colleague the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). It has happened in the past. Whilst we fully appreciate what has happened, Mr Speaker, we applaud the action you took, with the safeguards you have indicated. We thank you for your statement. The Government supports the action that you took.