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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 381

Senator KNOWLES —My question which is directed to the Special Minister of State follows on from his answer to Senator Archer earlier today on the closure of the Perth office of the National Crime Authority. The Minister stated that the State Minister for Police is quite happy about the closure, yet it has been stated in today's West Australian that the State Minister has asked for the Office to be reopened. What really is the state of the matter as of today? Has the Minister for Police changed his earlier opinion since more information has come to light about the depth and seriousness of the NCA's investigations that need completion?

Senator TATE —I have no intention of taking a newspaper report as accurately portraying the current state of mind of my colleague the Western Australian Minister for Police. I reported my conversation with that Minister, which I held last Tuesday, at which time he indicated to me that he understood that the office had been closed by the autonomous decision of the National Crime Authority, a matter which I have emphasised and re-emphasised in this chamber. I would have thought that, with support from all sides, there should be no political interference in its decision either to open or to close that office. The Minister also indicated without my prompting that he thought that the Commonwealth had indicated in its resources allocation to the National Crime Authority in the last couple of years a dedication to the fight against organised crime with which he was happy, and its ramification is certainly within his jurisdiction. I would assume and understand that the Minister's comments to me were based on his own consultations which he would have held with his own Police Commissioner. So I have nothing further to add to those several answers which I have given in the course of this week in the chamber.