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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1934

Senator CHANEY —Mr President, my question is addressed to you and it follows the question which I directed to the Attorney-General a few minutes ago. In view of the Attorney-General's cautionary advice to honourable senators about the reliability of ministerial telephones, I ask you, Mr President, in the interests of senators and members, whether you can give us any assurance about the telephone services within this building and their security.

The PRESIDENT —When Senator Evans's complaint about his phone was drawn to my attention I discussed the matter with the parliamentary security officers who in turn advised that the parliamentary electronics technician examined Senator Evans's phone. As I understand it, that was done with officers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. The report given to me by the parliamentary security officers was that, as a result of that investigation, no evidence could be found of interference with the Parliament House exchange and that, if there were interference, it could have been in the Barton telephone exchange. Since that time the Minister for Veterans' Affairs called at my office last Monday evening, when unfortunately I was at Government House, to lodge a complaint that his telephone was being interfered with. I have referred that matter to the parliamentary security officer and I have not yet received a report on that incident. I assure honourable senators that if they have any suspicion of their phones being interfered with in any way it will be taken up by me immediately with the parliamentary security officer.