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Monday, 25 March 1985
Page: 776

Senator KILGARIFF -Mr President, I seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT —Is leave granted?

Senator Grimes —Is it a personal explanation?

The PRESIDENT —Senator Kilgariff, do you wish to amplify your reason for seeking leave?

Senator KILGARIFF —Yes, Mr President. It is to answer the charges that Senator Grimes has made.

Leave granted.

(Quorum formed)

Senator KILGARIFF —In the last few minutes of the adjournment debate Senator Grimes invited people from this side of the House to respond to the very offensive remarks that he had made. Senator Walters has every reason to stand in this place to complain about various things that happen within Tasmania. She indicated that perhaps there was something wrong within Australia Post and Telecom when constituents of hers paid for telegrams which were not delivered. She heard nothing from either Australia Post or Telecom as to why those telegrams had not been delivered and she has not been told what happened to the money that had been paid. When Senator Grimes was attacking Senator Walters very offensively I asked: 'Did they pocket the money?'. Senator Grimes then made some very offensive remarks to me.

Everyone has the right to query the non-delivery of a telegram. The reason I interjected at that stage was that at present within Australia Post-and this can happen in every business; I am not blaming Australia Post, nor am I singling it out-money is being misappropriated. To back up the thought that perhaps Senator Walters's constituent's money was misappropriated, I point out that at present there are cases before the court in which employees of Australia Post have tampered with the mails-

Senator Robert Ray —That is sub judice. Let us not go into that.

Senator KILGARIFF —If you want evidence I will give it to you. Employees have tampered with the mails to the extent that many thousands of dollars of ordinary Australians' money has been stolen from the post.

All I have said is that Senator Walters's complaint is legitimate and that she has every reason to ask the Minister responsible to give some explanation. I find it very strange that Senator Grimes should take it upon himself possibly to protect some situation in which money is being taken illegally.