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Friday, 22 March 1985
Page: 669

Senator SCOTT —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Has the Government received any report or other form of advice from Mr Justice Stewart in any of his various capacities on material referred to him from the Age tapes? If so, when was that report received by the Government?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Again, there has been some confusion as to which particular hat Mr Justice Stewart may have been wearing in this particular matter. I make it clear to the Senate that it is not as Chairman of the National Crime Authority but in his individual or personal capacity as royal commissioner inquiring into drug trafficking that his present report, which is the subject of public debate, has been made. This is the royal commission for which letters patent were granted in 1981 dealing with Terence Clark and his associates, including Robert Trimbole. The Age tapes material was referred to Mr Justice Stewart in that capacity in the latter part of last year in order that he might, subject to his ability to first authenticate the material, then apply it for the continuing purposes of that inquiry. Interim report No. 8 of that royal commission dealing with this matter was dated by the Commissioner 12 December 1984 and I believe it was received by the Government either on that day or very shortly thereafter.