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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1141


Senator CANT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question without notice to the Attorney-General. Has the Minister seen a statement attributed to him and published in the West Australian' yesterday? Is the Minister correctly reported in that statement? In the statement did the Minister say that he had evidence which he would present to the Federal Parliament that Western Australian police had been instructed to go easy with draft resisters? When did the Minister receive such evidence and when does he propose to present it to the Parliament?


Senator GREENWOOD - I did not see the report in the 'West Australian' but I did make a statement to a newspaper in Victoria that I would take the opportunity this week to disclose the evidence which I had in view of the fact that Mr Tonkin had challenged me to produce any evidence that an instruction was given. I am happy to say to Senator Cant and to the Senate that when I was in Perth - I think on April 6th - I had a conversation with Commonwealth police officers and I was informed that certain advice has been received by Commonwealth police officers from the Department of Labour and National Service to the effect that the constable of the Perth court of petty sessions would not be able to render any assistance if a national service offender had to be taken into custody. I then sought to have that information verified. I was told it had been verified and that in the warrant room of the Western Australian Police Force there was a notice which was copied by a police officer in that warrant room and given to a Commonwealth police officer which read as follows:

Instructions have been received that Court Process taken under any Commonwealth Act such as Warrant of Commitment in relation to National Service are to be forwarded for execution to Officer in Charge, Commonwealth Police, 214 St George's Terrace, Perth, Western Australia.

Execution of Court Process are to be taken in accordance within the framework of Section 21 of the Police Act 1892-1970 and in particular, attention is drawn to line 7 of this Section which clearly sets out the duties relating to any Act in force in the State of Western Australia and does not relate to Commonwealth or other States.

It is signed G. A. Rowe, District Superintendent, District Police Office, July 19th 1971. I am prepared to table this document. It represents evidence of instructions which were given to the West Australian police officers as to what they were to do with warrants for execution and in particular with regard to national service warrants. The practice in Western Australia with regard to execution of all other Commonwealth warrants has not varied. This direction has been applied only in respect of national service warrants. I have said repeatedly, both in Western Australia and since I returned from Western Australia, that I am unaware who gave the instructions but that instructions do exist is incontrovertible, and it makes the denial of the Western Australian Minister for Police that such instructions exist something I cannot quite understand.







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