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Secret documents on national safety council



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■ιΛτ " NEWS RELEASE Neil BrOWIl QC, M P Shadow Attorney-General

COMMONWEALTH parliamentary library Mi CAN

SECRET DOCUMENTS ON NATIONAL· SAFETY COUNCIL

14/89

The Government has 12 secret documents on the National Safety Council of Australia (NSC) which it is refusing to release.

This has been revealed by its response to my

request under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

On 30 March I put in a request under the FOI Act to the Attorney-General for all documents:

a) referring to any link between Mr. J . Friedrich, the former Chief Executive of the National Safety Council of Australia, Victorian Division or the Council itself and defence and intelligence organizations;

b) relating to any security assessment made with

respect to the Council.

The Attorney-General's Department, in its response to this request, has now said that it has documents coming within the scope of this request.

But it refuses to release the documents on the ground that they originated with one or other of the

security organisations, ASIS, ASIO, the Office of National Assessments, the Defence Signals Directorate or the Joint Intelligence Organization.

It is certainly a revelation that there are 12 documents from within Australia's security organisations dealing with the NSC; the Government has always downplayed any security connection with the NSC. But it is now clear that Australia's security organisations have had a lot to

say about the NSC.

ENQUIRIES: (062) 77 4028 (03) 842 1700

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The secret documents that the Government refuses to release are:

8 briefs; 2 receipts; and 2 telexes.

The Government should realize that by maintaining secrecy and refusing to release the documents, it is only encouraging mystery and speculation about the activities of the NSC.

The Government should also realize that it now runs the ifisk that the Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSC will demand that the documents be produced.

The Government has also said that it has other documents that it will release, but only after material has been deleted from them.

It claims that the deletions must be made to

protect the names of AS10 officers and to prevent damage to national security.

Again it is clear, from this claim being made, that there has been some security intelligence connection with the NSC.

The Government has a public duty to stop hiding behind its smokescreen and explain the full security connection it had with the NSC.

Until it does this, the NSC mystery will continue.

Editors note: Further descriptions of the documents for which exemption has been claimed are

available from my office.

N A BROWN

15 JUNE 1989

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: (062) 77 4028