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Tuesday, 2 October 1984
Page: 1017


Senator TEAGUE —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I refer to the representations made by the Attorney-General to the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs on behalf of Mr Stuart John Perry following approaches to the Attorney's office by Mr Ron Chadwick of the Federated Storemen and Packers Union of Australia. Did the Attorney or anyone from his office advise either Mr Perry or Mr Chadwick of the approach to him by the Age newspaper on 18 June when a list of questions concerning Mr Perry was submitted to the Attorney? Is the Attorney aware of whether Mr Perry made any approaches to any employee of the Age newspaper concerning the story which ultimately appeared in that newspaper on the thirteenth of last month? Did the Age, as a consequence of any such visit , change its security system?


Senator GARETH EVANS —The attempt to beat some life into the Perry story is one of the less attractive and certainly less productive features of the Opposition' s current campaign. I have said as much as I usefully can say about the role that I played and my staff played in that particular matter in my detailed statement to the Senate on 13 September. I regard it as grotesquely despicable that the Leader of the Opposition in particular should continue to beat the drum on this particular matter indicating that there are associations between me and organised crime, continue to get the facts of the representation wrong, continue to imply that there is some sort of personal reference written on behalf of the citizenship application and generally continue to smear the buckets of mud for which he has become, with his pretty face, his empty head and his morals of an alley cat, so downgraded in public esteem over the last few weeks.

That apart, I understand Senator Teague to be introducing some new element into the equation by making some reference to an approach by Mr Perry to the Age. I have seen some reference to that in the Age story, I think, suggesting that some personal approach was made by Mr Perry. I do not know on what basis that approach was made. It certainly was not, to my knowledge, as a result of any information communicated by me or anyone on my staff to Mr Perry about the circumstances in terms of the Age's approach to me. I have had no communication with Mr Perry of any kind during the whole course of this matter, and I do not believe anyone on my staff has, other than staff member Mr Gardner whose role was fully explained in the material that I put down. Any information Mr Perry might have obtained about the Age's desire to defame him as well as me in this matter is something which the honourable senator will have to, by whatever resources are at his disposal, find out about from him. I cannot give the honourable senator any further information on that.


Senator TEAGUE —I ask a supplementary question. I will just repeat the first part of the question that the Attorney did not address and which relates to a matter which was preliminary to any approach by Mr Perry to the Age. I asked: Did the Attorney or anyone from his office advise either Mr Perry or Mr Chadwick of the approach to him by the Age newspaper on 18 June when a list of questions concerning Mr Perry was submitted to the Attorney?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not know what the honourable senator has been doing for the last two minutes, but that is exactly the question that I was seeking to answer. The answer is no, I did not advise Mr Perry about any approach made to me by the Age, nor to my knowledge did anyone on my staff; nor has there been any communication at all with Mr Perry about this matter.