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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2384

Senator DURACK(3.25) —If the Attorney-General wants to trade insults I remind him that there was a perfectly good National Crimes Commission in existence when he came into office, with a Chairman already designate and about to take up the position. As a result of the attitude that he and his Government adopted, that Chairman was lost. Of course, we know the sorry history of the whole matter ever since then. I suggest that if the Attorney-General wants to trade insults in this debate I am happy to deliver blow for blow.

Senator Evans —You will have to lift your game.

Senator DURACK —I turn to another matter and much on the same theme but in relation to another appointment by the Attorney-General.

Senator Walters —He is just being so rude. Why does he do it?

Senator DURACK —I do not know. Perhaps Senator Walters can ask him next week and we can discuss it further. The Attorney-General seems to be very proud of his appointment of Professor Harding as Director of the Institute of Criminology. The Attorney-General has already been gravely embarrassed by Professor Harding, of course, in one notable speech that Professor Harding made and apparently he has had to be admonished. I hope he has been admonished by the Attorney-General although the Attorney-General is not as forthcoming about that as he is abut many other matters, except his Bill of rights, referendum proposals and other things that he is keeping quiet about. But in relation to the appointment of Professor Harding, I asked some questions at the Estimates Committee about the travel entitlements of Professor Harding in the event that he wants to make further speeches of the kind that we protested about. Perhaps he has learned his lesson, although I doubt it very much, knowing Professor Harding as I do. In relation to the questions I asked, the answer I received, also in a schedule from Mr Glare, is that there is an item of transport for Professor Harding as Director designate for travel to Canberra from Perth for consultations on two occasions. I have no complaint about that. But the information then goes on to say that pursuant to his terms and conditions of employment the Director travelled to his home in Perth. The cost of four journeys including that proposed for May amounts to $4,105.

I wish to ask the same question that I asked in relation to Mr Temby. Is there an arrangement in the terms and conditions of Professor Harding's appointment that he has the right to travel to his home in Perth? If so, how long does that arrangement last? Is Professor Harding based in Perth or in Canberra? There is mention of a journey in May. I presume he has now done that. The date of the covering letter here is 24 May. I would like to be assured that it is up to date as of today or told whether there has been any further journey to Perth, how long this arrangement is to continue and whether it will be formalised or whether it will be another of these nod and wink situations. If Professor Harding is in fact maintaining a home in Perth, is that to be a permanent arrangement? Indeed, how long is it expected that he will occupy the position of Director of the Institute?