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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1985

Senator MISSEN(6.14) —I want to say only a few words on this matter. Having seen this document for the first time a few minutes ago I have done no more than scan it briefly. I have not seen the amendments. I thank Senator Durack for his kind remarks about my minority report which does not get the slightest mention, as far as I can see, in the document of the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans). No doubt he does not want to have any of the strengthening measures in the National Crime Authority Bill which I have suggested are necessary. When one gets up, as the Attorney-General does and cites the number of recommendations that the Government has accepted, the number it has partly accepted and the small number, only 10, that have been rejected, one gets suspicious straight away. One has only to read the 10 at the end to realise that the important things which the Committee is recommending have been rejected. I have plenty of criticism for the weakness of many of the recommendations but most of them were valuable. Consequently, it will be very interesting to see the attitude of the Australian Democrats who have already gone to water so far as the Committee is concerned, in my opinion. It will be very interesting to see whether they are prepared to swallow this further insult by the reduction further by the Attorney-General and his Party of recommendations of the Committee. I feel greatly strengthened by what I see as the continued erosion of the determination of the Government. I am strengthened in thinking that we on this side should be able to put a very strong case against this and, I hope, take it to the people to ensure that at some time we will be in a position to have a crime commission which will do something effective and will not mislead and defeat the purposes of the Australian public by allowing organised crime to continue to run rampant in the community. We will study this matter very closely over the next couple of weeks before it comes on for debate.

Senator Gareth Evans —I hope you do, preferably before you open your mouth again .

Senator MISSEN —The Attorney-General should not tell me about opening my mouth. He has the widest mouth in the Parliament. He shoots from the hip all the time. He should not criticise someone for opening his mouth.

Senator Gareth Evans —You could not even get the Committee to agree with you, let alone anyone else.

Senator MISSEN —I am not very unhappy about not getting the Committee to agree. I do not feel any weakness by reason of the fact that others have not seen it as clearly as I have. All I need to do is get my party colleagues, when they make a decision, to agree. It is pretty obvious that they agree that this is a highly inadequate document and a highly inadequate Bill. Unless we have a decent and strong Bill it is not worth putting it through and deceiving the Australian people. I look forward to the debate on this matter in a fortnight, more than ever when I see the weakness and the idiocy of the Government's response.

Debate (on motion by Senator Robertson) adjourned.