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Monday, 10 September 1984
Page: 732


Senator MISSEN(8.09) —I would like to say a few words about the letter to the President from the Director of Public Prosecutions. I agree with Senator Chaney that, of course, the letter must go to the Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge and be within its purview. It seems to me that the letter highlights more than ever the folly of this Government in the way it is using Mr Temby. He is constantly being thrown things. He was brought into the matter at an early stage, when he first started his job. He is being diverted from other things that he no doubt should be doing. He is being used, unfortunately, by the Government as an excuse for putting off things and for trying to take away debate in this Parliament. I am not at all surprised that he finds the present suggestion that he should now start acting a pointless exercise at this stage. I think one must applaud the letter as being one of some courage and some sense. His attitude is not surprising in view of the remarks he made a week or so ago when he said that these matters should be determined by politicians. His immediate reaction to the suggestion that he should be brought into it was that this was not a good idea. Yet the Senate has agreed that he should be asked to make inquiries. Amid all the compromises that went on, that was done as a sop to the Govenrment because the Government wanted it to go that way. The matter was to go on a basis that it would not interfere with the Senate doing its own job and appointing the Committee, as it has done.

I think that the letter is further evidence of the Government's misuse of the Director of Public Prosecutions, stopping him from doing the real work he should be doing by reason of its constant intervention, sending him documents and expecting him to do things, when there is a Senate Committee that is actually calling additional evidence. It is not at all surprising that Mr Temby should say that he could not at this stage make decisions and that he would wait until the Senate Committee hears further evidence. I congratulate him on making this forthright statement. I condemn the Government for once again causing embarrassment to Mr Temby. There are desperate situations arising in this country in regard to crime, yet the Government is making a constant effort to distract Mr Temby from his rightful course and his own duty. I condemn the Government for the way in which it is using an important officer in the Administration for political purposes. He is making clear that he is not prepared to be used. I think that the Attorney-General and the Government are to be condemned for using him in this way and trying to stop him from doing his proper duty in the community.