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Wednesday, 7 September 1983
Page: 475


Mr PEACOCK —Talking about protecting people, I ask a question of the Prime Minister. I refer him to an article, appearing in the current issue of the Bulletin and written by Mr Richard Farmer, a journalist who appears to have remarkably good access to Cabinet information-indeed, sometimes even before Cabinet itself. I put to one side the question whether there was yet another telephone call.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the Opposition should ask his question.


Mr PEACOCK —The article claims that the Cabinet is considering dispensing with the services of Sir William Cole, who is the Chairman of the Public Service Board, against Sir William's wishes and replacing him with Dr Peter Wilenski. I ask the Prime Minister: First, is this correct? Secondly, is the Government displeased with Sir William's performance in the position?


Mr HAWKE —The quality of the question from the Leader of the Opposition can be judged by his pathetic introduction which, again, goes to issues which he knows are the subject of consideration and decision by the Royal Commission on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition and all other members of this House that I am looking forward to the report of that Royal Commission infinitely more than the Leader of the Opposition should be. In regard to the substance of the question, it is the case that the term of the Chairman of the Public Service Board expires later this year and, as a responsible Government, we are examining what should happen at the time of the expiration of that appointment.