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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 969

Senator DURACK —I direct my question to the Minister for Resources and Energy. I refer him to the question I asked in the Senate last Friday in which I suggested that a new royal commission was needed into all matters raised by the alleged recordings of telephone conversations by the New South Wales police. I ask the Minister whether he recalls rejecting the suggestion I made on behalf of the Opposition in these words in his answer:

There is no need whatsoever to establish any further muck-raking machinery of the kind that is so dear to the hearts of the muck-rakers opposite.

Senator Peter Baume —Did he say that?

Senator DURACK —That is on page 674 of Hansard. Can the Minister now explain how the Government's proposal to widen significantly the scope of the terms of reference of Mr Justice Stewart's royal commission in relation to intercepted telephone conversations in New South Wales will differ in any practical way from the suggestion about which the Minister was so abusive and dismissive less than a week ago and which the Opposition has been proposing for the last 12 months?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I remain of the view that there is no need to establish new muck-raking machinery to deal with these particular matters. The Government has taken the view that an extension of Mr Justice Stewart's terms of reference to enable him once and for all to deal with these particular matters cannot be so described and I, of course, support the Government's decision.