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Tuesday, 11 September 1984
Page: 768

Senator DURACK —Will the Attorney-General now abandon the attempts he made last night in interviews with the media to sell the view that the Director of Public Prosecutions is seriously interested in making a report on criminality on the basis of evidence put to the former Senate Committee on the Conduct of a Judge before the new Senate Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge completes its inquiry? Will he now admit that, in a desperate attempt to save face, he has given Mr Temby's letter an emphasis that is misleading? Will he now accept that Mr Temby cannot sensibly make a decision until all the material is available? Why does he persist in trying to influence the Select Committee to adopt a course of action so clearly rejected by the Senate last week, namely, that it should ask for a report from Mr Temby before beginning its inquiry?

Senator GARETH EVANS —As I made clear last night, this morning and on every other occasion that I have been asked about this, I regard the course of action of the Senate Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge as entirely a matter for the Committee and not a matter for any overriding decision by the Government . I maintain that position here, now, in the Senate in response to that question . I was simply making the point last night, and I make it again, that there is nothing in Mr Temby's letter which rules out the concept of a sequential inquiry in which he first, if requested, would in fact review the existing evidence and subsequently, if the Senate Committee was so minded to act, it would then proceed down its investigative track. I say there is nothing in the letter which rules that out although Mr Temby did, of course, express a preference for alternative approaches to this because of the sentence in his letter, which I read again into the record in the following terms:

If the Select Committee decided not to take evidence until I had provided it with a report, I would be prepared to assist in that way.

That is an unequivocal statement, unqualified in any way other than by Mr Temby making it clear that he certainly rejected out of hand the possibility of a parallel or an exactly simultaneous inquiry, in which respect he is simply confirming what the Government has always said to be the case and except that Mr Temby did make perfectly clear his preference for dealing with the matter after the Senate Committee had completed whatever investigation it might have been minded to make. That is a preference which is entirely understandable, given Mr Temby's professional role as a criminal prosecutor and his desire to make decisions affecting criminal prosecutions on the basis of the best available evidence. But there are, of course, many considerations which the Senate Committee will have to take into account, of which now the preference of Mr Temby is one. I repeat: It is entirely a matter for the Committee as to which course it now takes.