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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 780

Senator TEAGUE —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer him to Premier Wran's disclosure of the possibility that the New South Wales police tapes extend back to 1967. If, as now seems to be indicated, the Government after months of indecision may at last agree to indemnify the New South Wales police involved, will he give the Senate an unequivocal assurance that Mr Justice Stewart's terms of reference regarding the tapes and the powers available to him are sufficient to investigate all aspects of the tapes and effectively to explore all aspects of organised crime that they disclose, including crimes which fall outside terms of reference of the National Crime Authority?

Senator BUTTON —The answer to that question is no, of course I will not give the Senate an unequivocal assurance on that matter. Senator Teague floats into Question Time in this chamber with a bit of ad libbing from the Premier of New South Wales, as I understand it-it is not much more than that-that the tapes go back to 1967. I do not know of any formal statement that has been made to that effect. However, if that is so, it is a matter which the government would want to consider. It is probably a matter which the Opposition's former government would have wanted to consider in a great deal of detail.

Senator Chaney —That even covers your former government and the former Attorney-General.

Senator BUTTON —That is absolutely right. I certainly do not give any unequivocal assurances about that, but it becomes a sensible and necessary step. The Government will consider it and consider it favourably.