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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1109


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy in one or other of his representative capacities, either that of Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs or that of Minister representing the Attorney-General. The question concerns the recent court case involving the former British intelligence operative Peter Wright and his desire to publish a book of revelations of previously secret matters. The question also concerns Australia's arrangements with other countries to share secret intelligence information of common interest. Against that background, I ask: Do sufficient legal safeguards exist in Australia to prevent any Australian intelligence operative, whether active or retired, from publishing or disclosing either in Australia or elsewhere secret information the release of which is judged to be to the detriment of Australia or a country with which information is exchanged? What safeguards operate between countries exchanging such information to prevent disclosure of such information by an agent of a recipient country? In view of the current case, is the Australian Government contemplating any ne-cessary reforms?


Senator GARETH EVANS —As Senator Sir John Carrick has implied in asking his question, this matter impinges on the responsibilities of the Attorney-General, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence respectively, and, in the circumstances, I think it would be appropriate for me to take that question on notice and seek a more detailed reply than I am able to give on the spot.