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Monday, 10 September 1984
Page: 711


Senator LEWIS(4.34) —I rise to support the remarks of my colleagues in regard to the correspondence which has been tabled in the Senate, which is part of the correspondence between the National Crime Authority and the Royal Commission into the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union. I want to sheet home the blame to where it lies-with both the Attorney-General ( Senator Gareth Evans) and the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke). We should go to the beginning of this matter and analyse the techniques which Mr Costigan, the Royal Commissioner, developed thanks to the very credible efforts of the Fraser Government in its attack on organised crime. Let there be no doubt that the Prime Minister of the day, Malcolm Fraser, did not hesitate to plough into the people who needed to be ploughed into as a result of the report. He did not hold back in any way when Mr Costigan asked for further powers or further money to provide his Commission with equipment. There was no holding back on the part of Mr Malcolm Fraser, nothing like what has happened under this Government. Mr Fraser and the Liberal-National Party coalition that he led at that time can be proud of their record in dealing with the crimes disclosed by the Costigan Commission. That stands in contradiction to the efforts of this Government and this Attorney-General to hide and conceal what we do not know. But ultimately it will all be revealed, as it was in the period leading up to the election in 1975 .


Senator Missen —The truth will out.


Senator LEWIS —Senator Missen says the truth will out, and it certainly will. The truth is that this dispute started with the Attorney-General of this country . Mr Costigan developed a large number of expert techniques, under the Fraser Government, to investigate organised crime in this country-techniques involving the use of a very large computer with certain sophisticated software. The result was that material was able to be fed into the computer to provide what is called a database. Experts have worked out certain techniques that enable operators to use the computer to ascertain information which might trace criminals. For example, the computer could be asked what first step relationship exists between A and B. The cheques and other financial information in the computer software could then be analysed and the computer would throw out an answer showing the relationship. But the steps could go to the extent of a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth step relationship showing that ultimately A deals with B even though there might appear to be five or six intermediaries between them. This technique has been worked out over the years and that is why, when we debated this matter in the Senate, we said that the new National Crime Authority must clearly take over.

Senator Evans, the Attorney-General, said right from the word go that the National Crime Authority was not going to be like the Costigan Commission. He would not accept that it would be, notwithstanding the nature of the legislation which ultimately passed through this Parliament. In fact it is very much like the Costigan Commission in the manner in which it is to conduct these investigations. The Attorney-General is the person who, right from the word go, kept telling the National Crime Authority not to be like the Costigan Commission and, in effect, started the dispute between those two bodies. That is why he is partly to blame for this situation. Finally, the Prime Minister is also to blame . Where is this man of consensus? Where has he got the three parties together- himself, the Government and the two people-to sort out this problem? What a lot of rubbish consensus is.