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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 1006

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(6.13) —The only further thing I can add is that it is my understanding that this particular set of conditions, and this particular procedure I have outlined, in fact was suggested by Mr Justice Stewart as a way through the dilemma that was created for the Government by his original recommendation. After all, Mr Justice Stewart is the man closest to this problem. He is the one who has been dealing with the prospective police witnesses.

Senator Sir John Carrick —I cannot ask him the question.

Senator GARETH EVANS —That is true, but all I can say is that the sort of consideration the honourable senator has put is obviously one that is in the forefront of his thinking in his approach to this particular problem. He has been very concerned indeed that there be no disincentive to any policeman who knows something about what might have gone on and could testify as to the authenticity of material which may prove to have some evidentiary value in some other criminal prosecution. His primary concern has been to ensure that that evidence gets out in a usable form and that people are encouraged not to tell lies about what they have been doing. All I can really say is that the quite complicated pattern of checks and procedures I have mentioned was in fact, on my understanding, proposed by Mr Justice Stewart as the way though this problem, and was based on all his knowledge of what would be practically necessary to produce the sort of evidence in question. Beyond that I honestly cannot give any better answer.