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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 566

Senator ARCHER —I ask a question of the Minister for Resources and Energy as Minister representing the Attorney-General and also as the former Attorney-General. I ask whether he recalls that in the Senate on 28 February last year, in reference to the Age tapes, he said:

We simply have no means, and are unlikely in the future to have any means, of being sure we have a full, untampered with, reliable account of the conversations that appear to have been intercepted.

In the light of the willingness of the New South Wales Police to give evidence to Mr Justice Stewart under indemnity from prosecution, does the Minister now concede that there is a means of authenticating the material? Why is the Attorney-General not prepared to ensure that the truth is established about the tapes and criminals brought to justice? Does it have anything to do with the possibility, as alleged today by Bob Bottom, that a very senior political figure in New South Wales used information on the tapes to head off legal action and would be exposed if police gave evidence?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I will refer the honourable senator's question to the Attorney-General and seek an early reply.