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Hope Royal Commission



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PRESS R E L E A S E 20/83 -l,x A U S T R A L I A ,cu THE SENATE

STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER IN THE SENATE AND SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL, SENATOR PETER DURACK, Q.C.

The Government should let the Hope Royal Commission get on with the job of ascertaining all the facts relating to

Mr Young. It should then appoint a Special Prosecutor to

decide the twin issues of whether Mr Young breached the Crimes Act with his disclosures over the Combe/Ivanov affair and, if

so, whether the public interest requires that he should be prosecuted.

The stage has been reached where such decisions should be taken out of the hands of the Attorney-General, Senator Evans, because he has played a key role in the matter from the beginning and will himself be giving evidence to the Royal Commission.

In these circumstances Mr Hawke should follow the lead of the previous Government which appointed a Special Prosecutor to consider action against bottom of the harbour tax evasion

schemes at a time when I, as Attorney General, was under public criticism.

Last night's extraordinary action by the Prime Minister

in releasing the Attorney-General1s totally inconclusive letter

regarding Mr Young is but the latest episode in this bizarre affair.

Without consultation or even notice to his colleagues he set up a Royal Commission to investigate, among ocher things, the Government's handling of the Combe/Ivanov business.

Both he and the Attorney-General repeatedly assured

Parliament that the Royal Commission would have the full power

and resources to investigate all aspects of the matter including leaks by ministers.

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In these circumstances the Attorney-General should not have been asked to give his opinion on totally inadequate information about whether Mr Young had committed a breach of

the Crimes Act. By the same token the Attorney-General should

not have used his authority to raise "the possibility" that Mr Young had committed any crime before all the facts have come

to light at the Royal Commission.

For him to then emphasise that "a further question will

arise" whether the public interest requires that Mr Young should be prosecuted, moves the Attorney-General into even more dangerous ground.

It is clear that the question should be decided by a

special prosecutor of the highest integrity and competence.

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CANBERRA/PERTH

19 JULY 1983 20/1983

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