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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 969


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It also concerns the Attorney's representation on behalf of Mr Stuart John Perry and his reply given this morning. Are we to take it from his answer that he asked the Age not to publish the Perry articles? What was his reason? Did he at any stage attempt to suppress or delay publication of the article in the Age?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I did have a conversation with the Editor of the Age, as I said in my answer, on 19 June. I believe it was the same date as the date of my memorandum. Honourable senators will see the full details of that. In it I said that I thought it was quite outrageous that the material be published. That was a view which seemed to be accepted at the time as a result of that conversation when I put the material in the perspective which I have explained today. I heard in the early hours of this morning that it was proposed to publish the story again at this time from a source which I shall not disclose. I rang the Editor of the Age again in order to see what further developments there had been in the last three months that made the situation any different from what obtained in June. He told me there had not been any. I made a few suggestions as to what might be the developments motivating, which I shall not retail to the Senate on this occasion. We left the matter on the basis that history will judge which of us is right.


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. On what grounds could the Attorney justify an attempt to stop the freedom of the Press to publish?


Senator GARETH EVANS —On the grounds that I articulated very fully and thoroughly, I thought, in my answer to Senator Hill.