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Friday, 19 October 1984
Page: 2084

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(3.31) —Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to move a motion relating to that statement.

Leave granted.

Senator CHANEY —I move:

That the Senate take note of the statement.

I note the part of the statement which points out the long delay there has been in establishing the Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority. It could have been established at the beginning of this session. Of course, that would have given it an opportunity to make some contribution to the very vexed matters which have exercised a good deal of parliamentary time during this session and, in particular, to examine some of the difficult issues of the handover and whether or not there was an effective picking up of the reins of the Costigan Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union by the new National Crime Authority. I simply wish to express the Opposition's regret that the Government was as slow as it was in dealing with this matter, in failing to bring it forward from the House of Representatives until the dying hours of this Parliament.

This is a matter which I know exercised Senator Missen very greatly. He took a very considerable interest in the passage of the legislation through the Parliament and sought to make the legislation as strong as possible. Indeed, I think Senator Missen was the father of the proposition that the Committee should be established. I express not only I think the regret that he would feel but also the regret of the whole Opposition that this aspect of the Crime Authority has been so tardy in being put into place. The Committee, as Senator Missen has said, will not be able to sit at all once the House of Representatives is dissolved. Hence we will have a very long delay in bringing this element of parliamentary scrutiny into effect. The Opposition regards that as a matter of very great regret and as being fairly typical of the lacklustre way that the Government has approached this whole question of dealing with organised crime. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.