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Tuesday, 23 October 1984
Page: 2272


Senator KILGARIFF(11.09) —Senator Townley has implied certain things. One has to guess what he was actually referring to, but it sounded as if he was questioning the ability of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to do certain things. If that is the case, the matter is extremely serious. One matter that concerns me on the issue of security is a matter that has never been cleared up satisfactorily, despite questions and statements in the Senate. Senator Messner particularly asked questions about what happened to various Commonwealth property that was taken by demonstrators last year from the gates of the joint defence facility at Pine Gap, west of Alice Springs. There was a report in a Melbourne newspaper that the signs and Commonwealth property were taken to Melbourne and were raffled or auctioned one night by an organisation to raise funds to pay for fines and various other expenses that were incurred by the demonstrators at Pine Gap because of their various activities. On the night in question-and I believe it has not been refuted-one, two or perhaps more Government Ministers were at the house where these sales of Commonwealth property took place.


Senator MacGibbon —Stolen property.


Senator KILGARIFF —It was stolen property. The question which has never been answered-it is too difficult-is why action was not taken by the Australian Federal Police, who had full knowledge that the signs and other property were stolen from Pine Gap. It was reported and the Australian Federal Police knew that the property was raffled or auctioned at that house. It has been implied that because one or two people from the Government were present at the house--


Senator MacGibbon —Who was there?


Senator KILGARIFF —The Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) said some months ago when I asked him a question in this chamber and when debating the situation that he was there. The issue of security which Senator Townley raised has recalled this situation. What is happening and why has action not been taken on this matter? I have asked-and there has been correspondence with the Australian Federal Police-what the Federal Police are doing about that matter. One wonders why the Australian Federal Police have not taken some action. Have they been instructed not to take action? This issue, like that raised by Senator Townley, is also a matter of security. It is a matter that concerns me, as the matter of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation concerns him. If there is a link between such matters, if certain things are not allowed to be done by those responsible for surveillance, there is something very radically wrong in the system. I too would like the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator Button, to look into the situation and give us some assurance that things are all right. I would like to know why this left wing organisation in Melbourne has not been charged with stealing Commonwealth property from Pine Gap and using it to raise funds.