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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2409

(Question No. 965)

Senator Primmer asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 14 June 1984:

(1) Will the Attorney-General make arrangements for Mr Don Witheford's excess legal costs over those awarded by the Court to be met by the Commonwealth.

(2) What is the total cost to the taxpayer, including salaries, of the prosecution of Mr Don Witheford.

(3) Will the Attorney-General agree to receive a delegation from the Committee Against the Victimization and Discrimination in Employment in the Australian Capital Territory to discuss the various ramifications of corruption in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

(4) Does the Attorney-General agree that Mr P. G. F. Henderson wilfully misled Senate Estimates Committee E on 3 May 1984.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) On 24 October 1984, a duly authorised officer of my Department determined that-

Commonwealth financial assistance be authorised to Mr Witheford to cover his reasonable legal costs and related expenses in respect of his defence of informations numbered 634, 635 and 636 of 1984 laid against him on 27 January 1984 other than those costs covered by awards made by the Court;

the amount of financial assistance be assessed, as appropriate, by the Attorney -General's Department.

(2) $8,967.56.

(3) No. The question assumes corruption in the Department of Foreign Affairs. That matter has been the subject of four inquiries, namely, by the Department of Finance, the Australian Federal Police, the Ombudsman and a retired permanent head appointed by the Public Service Board under Public Service Board Regulation 33, and each of those inquiries has not found any allegations of corruption in the Department to be established.

(4) No.