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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 594


Senator HAINES(5.17) —by leave-I move:

Paragraph (3) leave out 'three', insert 'four'.

Sub-paragraph (3) (a) leave out 'one', insert 'two'.

Paragraph (5) leave out 'the member', insert 'a member'.

Paragraph (8) leave out 'one member', insert 'two members'.

I thought I had talked myself out on all the ramifications of the last few days but, given that a learned colleague opposite does not understand what this is all about and seems to believe that in some way the course of natural justice will be perverted, perhaps I ought to make it clear to honourable senators why some of us are looking slightly haggard. First of all, as the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Chaney, has pointed out, the Government had the opportunity to put this matter into a totally independent arena, to take it right out of politics, to make it a perfectly simple and straightforward inquiry. It refused to provide us with the legislative protection that was required for the witnesses. There was hardly any way that a responsible House of Parliament could proceed under that set of circumstances.

Instead, in an attempt to get the greatest amount of consensus possible, honourable senators on this side of the chamber at least have done everything possible-I think far more than could have been expected of them-to achieve as much as possible for as many people as possible. For example, counsel for Mr Justice Murphy has always made it perfectly clear that the reason he could not appear before the Senate Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge was that his counsel had no right to cross-examine witnesses. This motion gives him that right. Furthermore, Mr Justice Murphy demanded that he have the right to choose, after his counsel had cross-examined, whether or not he would appear. This motion gives him the right. It invites, rather than demands his presence. We could not have been fairer to Mr Justice Murphy than we have been in the paragraph of the motion that pertains to him.

Furthermore, we have done everything possible to accommodate the constitutional niceties, not to say the constitutional hang-ups of the Attorney-General ( Senator Gareth Evans). In doing so, I think it only fair to acknowledge the tremendous amount of assistance we have received from the parliamentary officers , without whom none of us, particularly the Attorney-General, could get by. Furthermore, again in a spirit of attempting to placate, as it were, the Government and to indicate that we were not on any sort of hunting expedition, we accommodated the Temby reference as long as it was what we had always demanded and not the only, the final or even the outright first direction. We achieved that in the previous motion. We are about to give the Government its demand for four senators on the Committee, not three. We have given it the chairmanship and at some-


Senator Georges —Great news!


Senator HAINES —We did not need to. There are recent precedents in this place to indicate that that is not necessary. Those opposite were party to such an arrangement some years ago. Furthermore, the Government has the casting vote. That brings us to the absurd debate that the Attorney-General has been conducting about the wording of paragraph 11. We are confronted with a committee over which the Government has control and yet the Attorney-General is still prepared to talk about capital Cs and little Cs and whether the counsel should be special or just ordinary. He is behaving like a little boy. We have done everything we could to make sure that Mr Justice Murphy's request, indeed his demand, that the requirements of natural justice be complied with, has been met. It has been met in paragraph 17 of this motion, amongst other paragraphs.

As I said before, we have attempted in every way to meet the requirements of all sides of this place and the needs of Mr Justice Murphy. I remind honourable senators that it was not necessary to do that. But in an attempt to keep as far as possible away from overt politicism-although how we can expect to do that with the Attorney-General I am not sure-we have accommodated as many of those needs as possible. We now have counsel assisting the Committee. We have included learned outsiders. We have accommodated Mr Temby, provided that he runs in parallel with what we want. We have done as much as we can to ensure that Mr Justice Murphy will feel free to appear in front of the inquiry. More than that, I believe, it has been impossible to do.