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Opposition Leader discusses attempted plane theft at Essendon Airport; and remarks by Senator Heffernan about Justice Kirby.



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

TRANSCRIPT 0F INTERVIEW - NEIL MITCHELL RADIO 3AW, 13TH MARCH 2002.

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

Subjects: Attempted plane theft at Essendon Airport and Senator Bill Heffernan.

MITCHELL: Mr Crean good morning?

CREAN: Good morning Neil.

MITCHELL: Just a quick reaction, we’re just unearthed details on a plane, an attempted plane theft out at Essendon and some real security worries. Who would carry responsibility for that?

CREAN: Well it would be presumably the Civil Aviation Authority, but it’s also the whole question as to what steps the Government has put in place since September the 11th. It’s been talking about enhancing protection and security so the real question is has the Government given any additional requirement to and resources to the authorities to step up their security, but from what you’ve told us this seems to be a pretty lax sort of arrangement, I mean this is almost fundamental stuff so I think it’s a very worrying concern and I’d be very interested to see what the government’s response is.

MITCHELL: So are we. We’ll keep after it. Now Senator Bill Heffernan, the Cabinet Secretary has in the Parliament, under Parliamentary privilege accused High Court Judge, Justice Michael Kirby of soliciting young, male prostitutes and using Commonwealth cars to pick them up and deliver them which he says improper behaviour, with which I agree if it’s right. We don’t know it’s right, I mean surely in this position we’ve got to find the truth and either Justice Kirby’s in trouble or Bill Heffernan’s in trouble.

CREAN: Exactly and that’s why I think the question that has to be asked is, given that these are serious matters, has he got the evidence and if he’s got the evidence has he given it to the police? And if he hasn’t done that

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the Prime Minister’s going to have to be talking to his Parliamentary Secretary that’s after all who this guy is, and demanding he do so.

MITCHELL: Well there are two options, either he’s wrong or he’s right. If he’s wrong he should be dumped, as Cabinet Secretary shouldn’t he?

CREAN: I think that’s right.

MITCHELL: If he’s right what does it say to Justice Kirby?

CREAN: Well again I don’t think one can pre judge these things. If the allegations being made are correct they are serious allegations, and they should be pursued by the appropriate authorities. I don’t think Parliament is the appropriate forum for progressing these things. There are authorities that need to be gone through and Senator Heffernan should’ve pursued those and I would be very interested to know whether he’s in fact placed this information with them.

MITCHELL: But what’s the proper authority, police is it?

CREAN: Well I guess so, I mean you’ve heard the report and I’ve only just, I saw in fact a garbled report last night that said that he was alleging two, one named and unnamed. I’m just in the process of getting the Hansard pulled and going through it but…

MITCHELL: Cause it’s not necessarily illegal for anybody to use male prostitutes provided they’re over the age?

CREAN: Well again I do not know what, well let’s, but isn’t that the argument? I thought he was talking in the context of paedophilia so presumably it’s under the age, I don’t know. This is a guy that has been known to make these allegations before, what he’s got to do is to put up and the Prime Minister’s got to insist that he put up and I think it is a terribly unfair process to be making allegations without pursuing the appropriate course.

MITCHELL: Thank you very much for speaking to us the Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean.

ENDS.