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Thursday, 14 November 2002
Page: 6380

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3:04 PM) —On Monday, 11 November, and Tuesday, 12 November, I was asked by Senator Faulkner, in relation to the COT cases issue, whether I had spoken to Detective Sergeant Rod Keuris from the Victoria Police. On 12 November, Mr Tanner put out a media release asking the same question. In answering Senator Faulkner's questions, I indicated to the Senate that there was nothing to suggest that I had contacted Detective Sergeant Keuris and that I had absolutely no recollection of speaking to Detective Sergeant Keuris.

I wish to inform the Senate today that I have indeed spoken to Detective Sergeant Rod Keuris—today, for the first time in my life. This morning, Sergeant Keuris rang my office. The record of conversation taken by my office states:

Rod Keuris called reception saying that he wanted it to be on record that he has never spoken to Senator Alston in his life. He said the reason Senator Alston could not remember the conversation was because it never happened. He was also not very happy that Labor had put out a press release with his name on it. He left his mobile number ...

After being informed of that conversation, I rang Sergeant Keuris to ask him whether he was happy for me to mention this matter in the Senate, given that it had been the subject of questions earlier this week. He indicated that he was happy for me to do so and strongly reiterated his concerns about the behaviour of the Labor Party regarding this matter. Some of us in this game are required to have thick skins, but innocent people like Sergeant Keuris do not deserve to be the playthings of the Labor Party. They should not be subjected to such behaviour, and both Senator Faulkner and Mr Tanner owe Detective Sergeant Keuris an apology. I suspect, however, like the Bailleau family, he will have to wait a very long time.