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Royal Commission on Security & Intelligence Agencies



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PRESS R E L E A S E 16/83

THE SENATE <24/6)83

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

There must be grave disquiet about the way the Government is treating the Royal Commission on Security and

Intelligence Agencies being conducted by Mr Justice Hope.

From the very beginning of the Inquiry Counsel

for the Commonwealth and for A.S.I.O. have resisted efforts by Mr Combe and his Counsel to obtain full access to the Government1s documents.

This is in stark contrast to the Prime Minister's statement on May 12 when he said: "this Government moved

to do everything immediately within its power to see that Mr Combe had every opportunity to look at the facts as we the Government knew those facts". (Hansard, Page 506)

Now we have the Royal Commissioner himself

criticising the Terms of Reference which he says "are difficult to construe" and has led to the Royal Commission "stumbling from day to day not knowing in which direction we

are going". (Australian, 29 June 1983)

It is imperative and urgent that the Government take

steps to straighten out the terms of reference to the satisfaction of the Royal Commissioner.

It is just as important that the Government should

stop taking legal objections to evidence being made available

to the Royal Commission.

There is an ever-widening gap between statements

made to the Parliament by the Prime Minister and the Attorney- General about the purpose and procedure of the Royal Commission

and the way the Government is conducting its case at the

Royal Commission.

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2

In answer to a question by Mr Anthony on 24 May the Prime Minister said: "I hope that anything I or the Government

has done will be examined in full by the Royal Commission on

Security and Intelligence Agencies. I repeat that nothing will be done b^ the Government to prevent a total examination of anything that I have done or the Government has done".

In answer to a question by me on 26 May the Attorney- General said: "It is perfectly open to Mr Justice Hope, under his very wide terms of reference to deal with these matters,

as indeed all the others that are in issue in relation to this affairs". -

If the Government genuinely means what it told Parliament in answer to numberous questions during the May sittings it should

dramatically change its tactics before the Royal Commission and

give Mr Justice Hope all the help he needs so that he can pursue the whole truth in regard to the Combe Affair without the

Government putting road blocks in his path.

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CANBERRA 29 JUNE 1983

16/1983