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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2331


Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce) —Last night during the adjournment debate Senator Townley and Senator Jessop raised the question of whether the coverage of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation had been restricted in certain areas with a consequent reduction in the security of Ministers and members of parliament in the period leading up to the election. In the course of that debate last night, if I can dignify it with that description, there was also the suggestion that somehow ASIO was on strike. I have had inquiries made about this matter. The extent of ASIO coverage in relation to the security of Ministers and members of parliament in the period leading up to the election was raised recently by ASIO with the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans)-that is in terms of the methodology, if one likes, of what ASIO would be doing. The present position is that the Attorney-General is awaiting further information from ASIO. Any suggestion that ASIO members are on strike, either literally or in some subliminal sense, is totally incorrect.