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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 926

Senator CHAPMAN (3.40 p.m.) —It seems that poor Senator Bolkus really cannot take a trick. We find that in answering the questions which I and my colleagues have asked on this matter over several weeks, he has ducked and weaved all over the place and not provided straight answers. This indicates that either he is deliberately avoiding the issue or he, in fact, does not know what the Australian Federal Police or the National Crime Authority are doing. Now we find in his response to this motion to take note of his answer today that he has been led up the garden path by his South Australian factional opponent Senator Schacht. Of course, as we know, Senator Bolkus is of the left faction in the South Australian Labor Party.

  Senator Ferguson interjecting

Senator CHAPMAN —There are only a couple of them, Senator Bolkus and Mr Duncan. Senator Schacht is of the Centre Left faction. Senator Bolkus indicated in his remarks today that my colleague Senator Ferguson, I and my staff member Mr Nicholls, and Mr Downer were present on a Canberra flight on Sunday night. Also present on that flight were Senator Schacht and one of his staff members. Obviously Senator Bolkus has been led up the garden path because quite categorically I can deny that there was any discussion of these matters and these issues with Mr Downer, Senator Ferguson or anyone else on that flight. I verified that a few moments ago with Senator Ferguson. So we have seen Senator Schacht come in here and tell Senator Bolkus something which was not true to set Senator Bolkus up. He comes into this chamber—

Senator O'Chee —Making a fool of himself.

Senator CHAPMAN —He makes a fool of himself, as Senator O'Chee says, in responding to the issues that we are raising.

Senator Michael Baume —What's new?

Senator CHAPMAN —What's new, as Senator Baume says. What we want is the truth from Senator Bolkus. We want straight answers. We want to know what is going on with regard to this matter and with regard to the investigations in which federal authorities have been involved. We want to know what is going on in relation to the investigations in which Queensland authorities have been involved, and just how far the potential for corruption and political interference goes.

  It is when Senator Bolkus answers those questions that we on this side will cease our questions and interest in this matter. But we will not cease our questions until that is achieved—not until we get straight answers either from Senator Bolkus or from other representatives of this government. We have not had those straight answers yet and, on that basis, I will certainly be continuing to pursue this matter. I am sure Senator O'Chee will be continuing to pursue this matter. We have a lot of other issues to raise in relation to these very important matters which go to the heart of justice in this country.

Senator Abetz —And corruption.

Senator CHAPMAN —And corruption, as Senator Abetz quite correctly interjects. We need some straight answers. We will not be satisfied with the ducking and weaving that we have seen continually on the part of Senator Bolkus and his colleagues in relation to this issue. We want straight answers. We will not rest until we get those straight answers so that we can be assured that there is no corruption evident in these matters. We certainly cannot have an assurance of that on the basis of the answers that have been provided thus far.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.