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Tuesday, 2 October 1984
Page: 1015

Senator WALTERS —I refer the Attorney-General to a report in the Age newspaper of last Wednesday headed 'Companies crime cartel' which reveals that a special police squad's investigation has uncovered a network of about 40 companies allegedly involved in drug importation and distribution, large scale fraud and disposal of stolen property. I ask: Is it true that the group of companies has been or is under investigation by Commonwealth instrumentalities including the Australian Federal Police, Customs, the Department of Taxation and the Trade Practices Commission? Is it a fact that, as claimed in the Age report, distrust or jealousies between agencies have hampered the investigation? What action is the Minister, as Attorney-General, taking to resolve the reported conflicts and jealousies and to expedite the investigation? Finally, is it true that this report by the New South Wales Bureau of Criminal Intelligence corroborates material in the Age tapes and transcripts about which the Attorney has been so dismissive for the past eight months?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not know whether it corroborates it or not. I have seen only the newspaper report. I do not have a detailed briefing, or indeed any briefing, in front of me from the Special Minister of State as to the accuracy or otherwise of that account of that investigation. I will see what information it may be possible to provide to the honourable senator.