Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of interview with Peter Reith MP



Download PDFDownload PDF

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

E&OE

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH PETER REITH HP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND SHADOW TREASURER, PM, FRIDAY, 15 MAY 1992

Q Mr Reith, why isn't it enough for the Prime Minister to try to amend that section 3E of the Tax Act?

A Well, simply because he's not prepared to give the same access to the WA Corruption Commission as he was prepared to give to the Fitzgerald Commission and until he is prepared to treat the WA Corruption Commission exactly

the same as he is prepared to treat the Fitzgerald then we can only come to the conclusion that this is a tactical withdrawal but still fails to meet the test of equality of treatment between the two.

Q But the WA Commission seems happy enough with the changes?

A Well, their comment is a conciliatory one because they've got some backdown from Mr Keating and they are obviously now awaiting to see the details of the amendment. But it's quite clear from what Mr Keating says that he is not prepared to go as far as he was prepared to go with Fitzgerald. And we will certainly not rest until the WA Corruption Commission has exactly the same access as Fitzgerald - particularly an access which allows the WA Corruption Commission to follow the money trail, which on the proposition from Mr Keating today - it certainly is yet to have that power.

Q On PM last night we heard your own leader, John Hewson, discussing the possibility that privacy - personal privacy - needed to be considered in this matter. Don't we risk, if we follow what you suggest, jeopardising

those civil rights?

A Look, the question of privacy has not been an issue with the Fitzgerald Commission. The Fitzgerald Commission was quite capable of taking the information within its terms of reference, which limits its access to that

information. And there was no problem, the system, you know, operated quite smoothly. And to now try and restrict access to the WA Corruption Commission simply leaves Mr Keating open to the charge that he is still treating the Fitzgerald Commission in one way and the WA Commission differently and the reason, of course, is he's

still trying to look after his mates.

. / 2

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600

COMMONWEALTH

P A R L IA M E N T A R Y LIBRARY M IC A H

Q There was some controversy, though, during the time of Fitzgerald about that delicate balance between personal privacy and the public's right to know. Do you think that should be weighted in balance of the Royal Commission?

A Well, the Fitzgerald amendments properly took into account privacy considerations. Privacy considerations were properly looked to and attended to in the conduct of the Fitzgerald Commission and it's a nonsense to suggest

that providing information to a Commission run by Sir Roland Wilson, a former High Court judge, President of the Human Rights Commission, is somehow giving a carte blanche access to the Tax Office. It's not. Privacy considerations are but a red herring put up by Mr Keating to try and defend what is still a limited access.

Q Moving on, if we could, to the matter of Senator Richardson. Have you got any more bombs to drop on him this weekend while he prepares his report for the Prime Minister?

A Well, Senator Richardson's problem is a very simple one and that is that he has clearly misled the Senate. His claim to the Senate was that he sort of knew nothing about his cousin by marriage. Now we find out that he's been touting this bloke around to Sibraa, getting Sibraa to push, you know, references and using the office of the Presidency of the Senate to promote his interests·

Q So he's doomed?

A Well, I think he's still got a lot to answer and we're certainly not satisfied and the correspondence that's been released today simply, you know, exposes the fact that the President of the Senate has demeaned his office and used his office for improper purposes.

Q All right, Mr Reith, thanks for your time tonight.

* * * * *

] Ϊ