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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 968

Senator MICHAEL BAUME (6.48 p.m.) —This report causes me a great deal of concern, and I have only three minutes in which to express that concern. I just looked at this report and the statement by Councillor Samaras denies allegations that I did not make about him. This is an absolute nonsense. The fact is that in a notice of motion I had talked about the involvement in a fraud. In other words, there was a fraud case in which Mr Gino Mandarino, President of the Illawarra Branch of Young Labor, was fined $800 for his involvement in forging an electoral form. I said that there was no doubt that Councillor Michael Samaras was involved in this whole procedure. We can see that from the Australian Federal Police evidence. Councillor Samaras, a prospective left wing Labor candidate for the New South Wales Legislative Council, at the time was also a staffer of a former left wing member for Cunningham, Mr Stewart West—we should note that—whose office was advised of the completion of this fraudulent form, a copy of which was sent by facsimile.

  The Australian Federal Police in the court alleged that Councillor Michael Samaras, a Wollongong councillor at the time, and staff member of Federal MP for Cunningham, Stewart West, called the Commonwealth Electoral Commission, Wollongong Office, to inquire about an enrolment form in the name of Arne Cambourne. Councillor Samaras was advised that no form had been received, the Federal Police said. Later that morning the form was found in the mail. In the meantime, a false forged return was put in.

  During an interview with the Federal Police, Mr Mandarino admitted filling out the form and faxing a copy from Stewart West's office in Sydney with Councillor Samaras's approval. Councillor Samaras was involved in this procedure. I said he was involved. In this statement he is denying that he has ever breached any provision of the electoral act. I did not accuse him of that. He said, `Nor have I ever asked any—

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Childs)—Order! The time for this discussion has concluded.