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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1442

Senator DURACK —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I remind him of his answer yesterday in which he expressed concern at the timing of Mr Wran's attack on Chief Magistrate Briese when Mr Briese was still giving evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge. Has he now seen the statement issued yesterday by Mr Wran in which he rejects the view that '. . . any comments relating to the Senate Committee inquiry are inappropriate at this time'. He further states:

I will not be muzzled or intimidated at what I perceive is my duty in respect of matters which relate to the administration of the State's affairs.

Does the Attorney agree that, in ignoring the substantive point that Mr Briese was, at the time, still in the course of giving his evidence, Premier Wran has served only to compound his original error?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have seen Mr Wran's Press statement issued yesterday along the lines indicated by Senator Durack. I have also seen the transcript of his comments to the radio program AM this morning, in the course of which he said:

I must confess that I thought Mr Briese had finished his evidence some time ago.

That clearly indicates a state of mind on the part of the Premier which cannot possibly be construed as one of intending to influence the evidence given by Mr Briese to the inquiry. I believe that the Premier's remarks ought to be looked at in that light. Beyond that I have nothing to add to what I said yesterday.

Senator DURACK —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. What would be the position if Mr Briese was re-called to give evidence?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am not in the business of dealing with hypotheticals.