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Thursday, 29 March 1979
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Mr BIRNEY (Phillip) -Further to what I was saying earlier: From what the Chief Justice has said, he has deluded himself into believing that the letter's intended destination was, first, for his own eyes and thence into his own back pocket. Reading the grossly excessive and uncalled for verbiage to which I have referred, the ordinary reasonable man in the street could easily come to the conclusion that the Chief Justice was severely castigating the honourable member for an alleged attempt to pervert the course of justice. That is inherent in the words he used. I quote from the telex:

Sir Laurencesaid the MP, Mr Reg Gillard, Federal member for Macquarie, had written to him personally, presumably to 'influence the outcome' of a case concerning a Bathurst solicitor who was struck off the roll.

To attempt to pervert the course of justice is a crime well known to the law, and indeed ranks high on the criminal calendar. As a consequence of these unfortunate utterances, the Chief Justice himself has more than likely committed contempt of the Federal Parliament- an institution to which, despite his exalted position, he is accountable and from which he has no immunity. It is my earnest wish that the Chief Justice should now appreciate that he has utterly and completely misdirected himself as to the totality and intention of the letter to which I have referred. He should apologise to the most honourable member for Macquarie and to the Parliament.

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