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Tuesday, 5 June 1984
Page: 2558


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(10.21) —I do not want to prolong the agony except to say that this is not a prosecuting body. The Commonwealth will retain fully intact its prosecuting capacity both through me and more particularly now the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is acknowledged by Senator Crichton-Browne, my new found ally on these matters-I do not think that will last too long-that it is highly unlikely to be the case that the inter-governmental committee would ever refuse the Commonwealth a reference, but if it did the Commonwealth would, in a purely Commonwealth matter, retain the capacity to investigate the matter through its own police forces. To the extent that it sought coercive powers it could also, in the time honoured way, create an ad hoc royal commission by way of letters patent maybe vesting those powers in the membership of the Authority for that purpose. But these are artificial ways of securing an objective that it would be much more appropriate all round to do directly. The reality is that the Commonwealth Act will create only a skeleton body, a skeleton which will have to be fleshed out with the co- operation and assistance of State police forces. It is a network of reciprocal co-operative obligations that is hereby created. This proposal is more than anything else, as I said before, a demonstration of good faith by the Commonwealth that it, for its part, is willing to co-operate fully in this enterprise.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Durack's amendment) be left out .