Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 5 October 1983
Page: 1352

Mr BEDDALL —Can the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs inform the House whether he has received any reply to the allegations concerning the activities of Mr P. Killoran, the Director of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement , in respect of the upcoming Queensland State election?

Mr HOLDING —The question relates to the concern that I expressed in this House with regard to Mr Killoran, the Director of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement, who, according to information I had received from Aboriginal and Islander people, was using his position to canvass support for nomination as a candidate for, and on behalf of, the National Party in the present Queensland election. At that stage, Mr Killoran had not nominated. As I have indicated to the House, I expressed my concern in a lengthy telex to the Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Island Affairs in Queensland, Mr Bird; and I asked for his response. To date, formally, I have not received that response. However, I did see a Press statement attributed to Mr Bird in which he discounted, repudiated and indeed described as disgusting this allegation and also a comment made by an officer of the National Party in Queensland who said that the allegation was false because the National Party had already nominated its candidate for the seat of Cook. Since then, Mr Killoran has nominated for the seat. I do not know whether Mr Bird, the Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Island Affairs in Queensland, was therefore lied to when he made his statement to the Press, because I have always found Mr Bird, in his dealings as Minister, forthright and honourable. I do not believe that he would have made a public statement of the kind that he made unless he had been seriously misinformed.

Since then further serious allegations have been made about Mr Killoran's use of his position as Director of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement in Queensland to use both the resources of that Department and the power of his position to seek, intimidate and coerce votes from Aboriginal and Islander people. I do not make that statement lightly and I would not make it unless it was on the basis of evidence. What has to be pointed out to those honourable gentlemen who perhaps do not realise it is that Mr Killoran's position in the Public Service in Queensland is probably unique. It is not a position which would have an equivalent in any other area of the Public Service. Rather than being Director of the Department he is a virtual dictator and, in that situation, he is able to determine the level of housing, the level of health and the level of education that operate in any Aboriginal community. Allegations have been made because, certainly in that part of Australia, what occurs is fairly public. The resources of the Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement-in the form of a radiocommunications system-have been used by Mr Killoran to seek to advance his candidacy as a member of the National Party.

Mr Ian Cameron —Shame!

Mr HOLDING —The honourable member can say 'shame' but when I visited the Torres Strait Islands last week and particularly the island of Saibai-this was after some--

Mr Sinclair —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Is it appropriate for questions without notice to be a vehicle for an attack on the personality and integrity of an individual?

Mr SPEAKER —The Minister, in giving his answer, is quite within the Standing Orders.

Mr HOLDING —I would not want to attack the dignity or the integrity of an individual. I would like to know what the Deputy Leader of the National Party, and indeed the Leader of the Opposition, say about a situation in which a man who has held a very significant position in the Public Service is now an endorsed candidate. Last week when I was on the island of Saibai-the election campaign was going on-on the instructions that came from Mr Killoran, this notice which I show to the House was on a notice board in that Aboriginal community. If the right honourable gentleman is concerned about integrity, what do he, members of the National Party and the Leader of the Opposition say about this notice which I am happy to table in order to confirm the feelings of integrity of the right honourable gentleman? The notice is in these terms:


I wish to advise today that I have been nominated--

not that he nominated-

for the Cook electorate and would appreciate support from you and your people. Will visit you shortly. Regards Pat Killoran (Director).

If the right honourable member had any decency or honour he would repudiate that action.

Mr Sinclair —Is it signed?

Mr HOLDING —The notice was put up there by an officer, on his instructions.

Honourable members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order. I remind honourable members that they are only reducing their chances of asking questions. I call the Minister-in conclusion, I hope.

Mr HOLDING —I find it interesting to see the gentlemen who want to talk about integrity and honour. The Leader of the Opposition does not regard this matter as a serious breach of the duty of a public servant. This action would not be tolerated in any public service anywhere in Australia, either federally or in the States. I find it fascinating that--

Mr Carlton —There is no evidence.

Mr HOLDING —There is no evidence? The evidence is there. I challenge honourable gentlemen opposite to deny the truth of the allegation that Mr Killoran has calculatedly, wilfully and determinedly obfuscated his position as a candidate on behalf of the National Party with his duties as a senior public servant.

Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I will deny that. I know as much about it as the Minister does.

Honourable members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —I take it that the honourable member for O'Connor raised a point of order. I did not hear one word of it. I ask him to resubmit it.

Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, I raised a point of order. I will deny the Minister's statement because I know as much about the matter as he does.

Mr SPEAKER —That is no point of order. I call the Minister.

Mr HOLDING —The honourable gentleman's relationship with the Aboriginal community would make him a worthy recruit for Mr Killoran in his activities in Queensland.

Mr SPEAKER —Order!

Mr Humphreys —Where is your iron bar?

Mr SPEAKER —Order!

Mr HOLDING —I would suggest that Mr Killoran would even provide you with an iron bar.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the Minister to ignore the interjections and to complete his answer.

Mr HOLDING —I realise that there is a tendency on behalf of certain members of the Opposition to say: 'Oh, well, it happens in Queensland and it does not really matter because its standards are different from everybody else's. If there is an exercise in political corruption, if there is an abuse of procedure, it does not really matter because it is what the National Party in Queensland is all about and we should not make any judgments in this House'. I make it perfectly clear that we regard this matter very seriously indeed. It would be a failure on my part, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, if I did not ensure the right of Aboriginal and Islander people in the electorate of Cook to be able to cast a free choice of vote. I assure the House that, as Minister, I will not adopt the cavalier attitude of members of the National Party opposite and that the full resources of my Department will be used to ensure the rights of Aboriginal and Islander people to cast their votes free of intimidation and free of this kind of political skulduggery. I table the document to which I referred earlier and I hope that it will prompt some feeling of political morality in honourable members opposite.

Mr Cadman —A point of order.

Mr SPEAKER —I call the honourable member for Mitchell on a point of order.

Mr Cadman —Mr Speaker, is this the Minister that Mr Justice Winneke said--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr Cadman —has greater allegiance to his party than to the truth?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I call the Leader of the Opposition.