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Air Force surveillance of Franklin Dam site



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P R E S S R E L E A S E

THE SENATE

6/83

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

Senator Evans is following in the bizarre footsteps

of his self-confessed mentor, former Labor Attorney-General Lionel Murphy, with his extraordinary action in asking for

air force surveillance of the Franklin dam site.

In an interview last week, the current Attorney-'

General declared that no one should think that he was "other than committed to continuing along the course he (Murphy) so brilliantly mapped out".

_ How could we guess he meant it so literally?

The only difference in their performance so far has been that the then Senator Murphy was in office for three

months before he led the raid on ASIO headquarters.

Senator Evans has taken only four weeks to at least match and possibly even outshine his idol.

If it were not such a serious misjudgement the

Attorney-General1s actions would be alughable.

How could any sensible person contemplate sending in

one of the nation's front-line fighters to spy on construction workers in South West Tasmania?

We are now entitled to ask what other irrational action may have been set in train by an Attorney-General and

his colleagues who have obviously been unable to resist the surge of their new powers.

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A spokesman for Senator Evans has said that other

Departments are co-operating in the collection of evidence.

The question is what other Departments, who authorised

thejr involvement and exactly what activities are they engaged in?

This incredible action by Senator Evans, obviously with the concurrence of the Defence Minister, Mr Scholes,

illustrates the unbelievable lengths to which the Prime Minister is prepared to go in his bid to extend Commonwealth

powers.

He should tell us now, in this climate of

reconciliation and consensus, what other uses of the military

forces he has in mind.

~ ' Labor's Tasmanian leader, Mr Wriedt, has already

expressed his horror.

The ALP's own federal platform calls for civilian

acceptance of the defence forces role "through the latter's non-involvement in any civil unrest including industrial

disputes".

If it's not right to use the military in this way,

how can Senator Evans, Mr Scholes and indeed the Prime Minister justify their becoming embroiled in a political

argument between the Commonwealth and a State?

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PERTH/CANBERRA

11 APRIL 1983

6/1983

Further Enquiries: Keith Kessell, Perth 09/325 4882