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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 555

Senator WATSON —Does the Attorney-General agree that Mr Commissioner Costigan and his staff have made a major contribution to the fight against organised crime in this country? If so, why was the Costigan Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union terminated before the National Crime Authority began investigations-in fact, before two of the Authority members were even appointed? What justification could there possibly be for allowing a hiatus to develop in the fight against organised crime? Why was Mr Costigan not asked to continue until the Crime Authority was ready to begin investigations?

Senator GARETH EVANS —As I have constantly indicated, I have a high regard for the work that has been done over the years by the Costigan Commission. I and other members of the Government have put that on record on numerous occasions.

The rest of the question is based on a false premise, insofar as it talks about the termination of the Costigan Royal Commission. The reality is that the Costigan Royal Commission still has not been terminated. It is still in existence. We are experiencing a transition period which involves the handing over of on-going investigative activity together with the writing of a report. In the last few days I have answered questions on this subject at considerable length, and I do not believe that there is anything useful that I can add.