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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1697
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Senator Gareth Evans —On 2 October 1984 (Hansard, page 1015) Senator Walters asked me the following question, without notice:

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 has hampered the investigations? 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?

The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question insofar as it relates to the activities of the Australian Federal Police:

Firstly, individuals and companies mentioned in the Age article have been investigated from time to time by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). However, the AFP is not investigating the people or organisations as a cartel or confederation.

In regard to this allegation that distrust or jealousies between agencies has hampered the investigation, I am advised by the AFP that it has not experienced such distrust, jealousies or lack of co-operation by other agencies in the course of those investigations.

The AFP has co-operated fully with the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence (ABCI) during the course of those investigations, and also in regard to the exchange of intelligence. Likewise, the ABCI has co-operated fully with the AFP.

The honourable senator will appreciate from the article in the Age that the Shelly report was compiled by a member of the New South Wales Police Bureau of Criminal Intelligence, and is thus unrelated to the operations conducted in the past by the AFP. It is therefore not possible to comment on whether the report by the New South Wales Police Bureau of Criminal Intelligence corroborates material in the Age tapes.

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