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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 687

Mr CONNOLLY (BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I refer to the Prime Minister's reply to a question without notice on 21 August from my colleague the honourable member for Mackellar regarding the Woodward Royal Commission's second report on illicit drug trafficking in New South Wales. Is the Prime Minister able to advise the House whether the Government has initiated any further action in this matter?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - The Government has considered this matter and has considered the report of its own officials in relation to the Woodward Royal Commission, especially in relation to Nugan Hand Ltd. It has considered not solely that but also the broad aspects of the report. A number of matters in that report are clearly matters of Commonwealth concern and responsibility. As a result I have this day written to Premier Wran. I think 1 can say on behalf of all honourable gentlemen in this House that we are glad to see that he has his voice back. He has been through a difficult time and, however much we intend to beat him politically and in whatever environment, we would not want to win by default.

Mr Kerin - You get two out of ten for that one.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - It is the only way that the Opposition could ever win. Drug trafficking is clearly a great threat to any modern society. I think that is agreed by all governments and by all political parties. Mr Justice Woodward's conclusions about the involvement of known criminals are a cause of very grave and serious concern. The report points to offences against Commonwealth laws, to criminal involvement in foreign exchange transactions, to importation of narcotics and to passport and immigration offences. He also refers to Commonwealth-State co-operation, access to and security on wharves, for example, and to the enforcement of laws against drug trafficking where clearly the Commonwealth and State governments must co-operate in a very close and very real way. Today I wrote to Premier Wran proposing, on the first hand, an investigation of Nugan Hand Ltd and persons associated with it by a joint police task force. Recommendation 5 of the Woodward report is relevant to that. It recommended:

That evidence concerning Harry Wainwright; Nugan Hand Limited and its associated companies; and the affairs of Murray Stewart Riley (and in particular his associates as revealed in evidence) be referred to appropriate law enforcement bodies for further investigation.

That is part of recommendation 5 which clearly has some consequences for the Commonwealth. We are proposing, therefore, an investigation by a joint police task force in relation to it.

We are also offering assistance to the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission in its investigation of Hugan Hand. I hope very much that that assistance will be warmly accepted by the Corporate Affairs Commission and by the Minister responsible for it. We are proposing that other recommendations, namely, the first recommendation, which concerns security on the wharves and other related matters, and recommendation 6, which recommends that 'special steps should be taken to ensure, insofar as possible, adequate and proper co-operation between the New South Wales Police Force and relevant Commonwealth authorities'- that is how that recommendation begins - go to Police Ministers this Friday and then to the Commonwealth-State Ministers Committee established on 27 June by the Premiers Conference. We hope that these matters can be expedited. I would hope that I would receive an urgent response from Premier Wran in relation to our co-operation in these matters.

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