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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 915

Senator WILLESEE - I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Did he see a report that Mr Athol VVedd, the Commissioner of Police in Western Australia, had stated that he had advised the Commonwealth Police some time ago that he would not be able to handle any Commonwealth work, that he was not under instructions from a political source and that, after giving the advice to the Commonwealth, he had not received any complaint at all from that source?

Senator GREENWOOD - I saw a statement in one of the Western Australian newspapers attributed to Mr VVedd in which he stated that sometime last year it had been decided - I will paraphrase this because I do not recall the exact detail - that national service warrants would be executed by the Commonwealth police in future and not by the State police. He said that this was because of the workload. In fact, 8 national service warrants were issued in Western Australia last year. Also, I saw a statement attributed to Mr Wedd suggesting that this was merely an office matter. I must say that my concern in this area arose-

Senator Willesee - Would the AttorneyGeneral answer the other part of the question.

Senator GREENWOOD - I am not sure which part of the question I have not answered. Possibly the honourable senator will let me finish my answer, and if I do not answer the question he may be permitted to ask the balance of it and I will do my best to answer it. All I will say is that I was concerned, as was the Commonwealth police officer in charge in Western Australia, about a situation which arose late in March this year when information was conveyed to the Commonwealth police that if any national service offender was to be brought before the Court of Petty Sessions who was not likely to enter into his recognisance, there should be Commonwealth police present because the State police had been instructed not even to take him into custody. That was information received from a Western Australian police constable and confirmed by officers of the Commonwealth police. It was that which excited my concern. I should say that the Western Australian Premier subsequently, following these statements which I made, indicated that in future the Western Australian police would co-operate with the Commonwealth police.

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