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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 1258


Mr YOUNG (Special Minister of State)(3.38) —A couple of things must be said about a censure motion in this House. Firstly, it is a very serious motion; it is the most serious motion that the Opposition can move. Secondly, I refer to the tactics adopted by the Opposition today in moving the motion of censure. I think it can be said that almost without fail a censure motion on the Government is moved as soon as the Parliament meets for the day if the Opposition has matters serious enough to censure the Government. Otherwise, matters come out of Question Time which necessitate the Opposition's moving a censure motion. Nothing came out of Question Time to provoke a censure motion. The Opposition belittles and devalues the forms of the House in moving the censure motion.


Mr Peacock —The Prime Minister has lied once again. The Prime Minister lied about the visit to the Age.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that remark.


Mr Peacock —It is very hard to withdraw it as I am telling the truth.


Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that remark.


Mr Peacock —The Prime Minister--


Mr SPEAKER —I warn the Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Peacock —Mr Speaker, in deference to you, I withdraw.


Mr YOUNG —Mr Speaker, one can only assume that today's operation of a censure motion revolves not so much around the content of what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) and the honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall) have put forward but rather around the fact that the honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard) has spoken twice this week on matters of public importance and they are trying to even up the ledger. I think this censure motion has more to do with votes in the Liberal Party party room after the election than it has to do with this Government.

If members of the Opposition want to play their games about whom they are going to elect as their leader after the election, that does not really worry me. But when they bring a matter of this proportion into the Parliament, especially on an issue such as this, they should have some evidence. They should have just a skerrick of evidence that this Government is being charged with perhaps holding up the law enforcement agencies or the intelligence gathering agencies of this country. Not one shred of evidence was put forward. There were lots of guesses, lots of innuendoes and lots of allegations.

The honourable member for Boothby wants to be the Special Minister of State and Minister for the police in a new Liberal Government. What a sham! I suggest to the honourable member for Boothby that, if he is so loose of tongue, he ought to go and get some briefings from the law enforcement agencies and find out what is happening in Australia; he has access to them. Why does he not go and use them? Why does he not go and talk to the Commissioner of Police? Why does he not talk to Commissioner Costigan? Why does he not talk to Mr Justice Stewart about what is going on in Australia? He does not talk to them because then he would not be able to make the speeches that he has made in the Parliament today. He would be too well informed to be able to make the sort of speech that he made today.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) talked about our holding up the tabling of the Costigan report. We have a legitimate request from Commissioner Costigan to extend the life of the Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union because he cannot complete his report. But somehow we are guilty and we are helping all the criminals in Australia because we accede to his request. What sort of logic is that? What sort of logic can we draw from that? If we had said to Commissioner Costigan 'No, you can't have another month', the Leader of the Opposition would have been up in this chamber saying: 'You are trying to hide something'. When we say yes to Commissioner Costigan we are helping the criminals. What sort of logic is that from the honourable member for Boothby and the Leader of the Opposition? Then they say: 'We want the report straight away. As soon as Commissioner Costigan finishes it and hands it over to the Governor-General, bring it in here and table it'. Let us look at what the Liberal Party of Australia did when it received Commissioner Costigan's reports. It received the first report on 30 March 1981. It has never been made public. It received the second report--


Mr Hodgman —At his request. Misrepresentation, Mr Speaker.


Mr YOUNG —Let me finish. Sit down, you boofhead; you have had your chance. The second report was received on 30 July 1981. It has never been made public. The third report was received on 21 December 1981 and it was tabled on 25 February 1982. The three volumes of the fourth report were received on 27 July 1982 but only volume 1 was tabled on 24 August. Volumes 2 and 3 have never been made public. The three volumes of the fifth report were received on 25 July 1983 but only volume 1 was tabled on 12 October 1983. Volumes 2 and 3 have never been made public. Five volumes of the Costigan Commission's reports have never been made public. I will tell honourable members opposite why they have never been made public. It is because in most cases Commissioner Costigan said: 'I don't want them to be made public'. But all of a sudden the people who served in the former Government and who knew the circumstances of the relationship between the Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union and the Government and what could be made public said: 'To hell with all the investigations that might be going on in Australia. We don't care whether they are successful or not. What we really want is the report of Commissioner Costigan in case there is just a paragraph in there somewhere that might embarrass the Government'. The Opposition does not want us to review and use the same standards as it may have used. What a ludicrous stand for any political party to take on a subject as important as this.

Obviously the reports of Commissioner Costigan will be looked at. Obviously the law enforcement agencies, the Australian Federal Police and the National Crime Authority will look at the reports and recommend to the Government what should and should not be made public. Are Opposition members suggesting for one instant that we would be idiotic enough to answer their request on the material that has already been handed over by Costigan to the National Crime Authority? I ask the Leader of the Opposition: Should we be making that public when investigations are half-way through? Does he want us to throw it up in the air so that all the criminals in Australia can see what tactics and methods the police are using to chase them? Of course not! Members of the Opposition come into this House with this absolutely unreal censure of the Government.

The honourable member for Boothby has said that it is all mateship in the Australian Labor Party and, because that is the way in which we operate, if a person happens to be a mate no matter what that person does the Australian Labor Party will protect him. The honourable member for Boothby, a former Premier of South Australia, has said that we have proved how we look after our mates because we destroyed the special branch files in South Australia. When the honourable member for Boothby was Premier of South Australia we did an investigation of the special branch security records under Mr Acting Justice White. Do honourable members know what he said about these files and the political consequences of them? He said:

Some well-known, moderate figures, often senior Labor members of parliament, have recorded about them scandalously inaccurate opinions about their political standing. The mass of information about Labor organisations and personalities must be contrasted with the paucity of information about the Liberal and Country Parties. The latter parties warranted one card relating to the party headquarters--

this is the Liberal Party of Australia-

and one card about a university Liberal club card.

But there was a card and a mass of information about every Labor person in South Australia. The honourable member for Boothby was the Liberal Premier who put those files together; the most right wing reactionary person that South Australia ever saw. The Leader of the Opposition charges that, while all this has been going on in Australia since we have been elected, someone has turned the tap off on the law enforcement agencies and nothing is happening-the criminals are going wild; they can do whatever they like under this Labor Government. Does the Leader of the Opposition think everybody in Australia is a fool? There are 2,500 members of the Australian Federal Police. I ask the Leader of the Opposition or any honourable member opposite to bring in just one shred of evidence that this Government, or any member of it, has said to any member of the Australian Federal Police: 'Don't do this in terms of that investigation'. All I want is just one shred of evidence. I advise the Leader of the Opposition- -


Mr Peacock —Costigan is not holding any hearings. The Crime Authority is not working. The Crime Authority is not even talking to Costigan.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the Opposition has already been warned.


Mr YOUNG —I will answer all the Leader of the Opposition's charges.


Mr Peacock —Costigan is not even holding hearings.


Mr YOUNG —I listened to the Leader of the Opposition in silence. He should sit there and listen in silence--


Mr Peacock —He was getting too close to your mates.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I warn the Leader of the Opposition.


Mr YOUNG —He will learn a lesson about what is going on in Australia, which is something he does not want to know. It is a pity that the honourable member for Bass (Mr Newman) is not in the chamber today because he could have told the Leader of the Opposition, before he moved the censure motion, not to make a fool of himself. The Minister for police receives regular briefings from the Commissioner of Police or the Acting Commissioner about current investigations in this country; not one or two, but 60 or 80 major investigations that are being conducted at any one time. Sixty-five per cent of the police force are conducting investigations right here and now. This afternoon, as we discuss what we are supposed to be stopping, 65 per cent of the 2,500 members of the Australian Federal Police are out doing investigations on criminal activities. This is the sort of file that the Commissioner of Police brings regularly to the Minister for police about what is happening in Australia. He does not come to the Minister for police and say: 'I want your direction as to which ones we should conclude'. He comes to the Minister to say: 'That is what we are doing'. He does not seek directions because that is not the relationship between the Minister and the Commissioner of Police. The Commissioner of Police comes to tell us what is going on.

We have heard a great deal about what Mr Redlich might have said about the National Crime Authority. Let us have a look at what he said. It is unknown to the Leader of the Opposition that Mr Redlich was visited by the people who did the management review of the Australian Federal Police-the report was published six months ago. He gave the views that he has put in this report about the Australian Federal Police to the management review. The management review has made 124 recommendations, 99 per cent of which will be adopted by the Australian Federal Police. So we did not have to wait for the Redlich report. Let us see what Mr Redlich said about the National Crime Authority. He said:

The National Crime Authority Act 1984 gives genuine emphasis to all three considerations. The Authority has the scope to maintain the initiatives developed by the Costigan Royal Commission. There are substantial safeguards within the Act to protect the rights of witnesses and those under investigation. The States and their investigative agencies are given a voice in the operation of the Authority. The Authority must now be given an opportunity to work.

That is what Mr Redlich said about the National Crime Authority. Honourable members will also see that he paid tribute to the work and the co-operation and his satisfaction with the results of the work of the Australian Federal Police. Opposition members are in cloud cuckoo land when they chase these things.


Mr Peacock —And he said that there was a gross deficiency in resources and that it had got worse.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the Opposition has already made his speech.


Mr YOUNG —I can understand his interjections because he has made an absolute ass of himself today. Instead of picking up points on the honourable member for Bennelong, the Leader of the Opposition has given him more help. He ought to get some political advice about his tactics in the Parliament. Do not be worried about the honourable member for Bennelong; have a look at the polls because the polls still tell us. The figure might not be very high, but the Leader of the Opposition is still slightly more popular than little John, the little dog barking over there. He is up there yapping all the time, running around Australia talking about things, and no one is taking any notice of him. So do not worry about tactics in the Parliament based on his charge at the leadership. Talking about intercepting phone calls, I say to the Leader of the Opposition: ' You ought to tap the phone of the honourable member for Bennelong to see what he is saying to all your mates about the leadership'.

Let me now deal with the Treasurer (Mr Keating). There is a bit of scuttlebutt around the Parliament that the Leader of the Opposition gets. He says: 'I know that at a Cabinet meeting last December Paul Keating said ''Let's get Costigan off our backs''.' That is conclusive evidence that he will bring a prosecution against the Treasurer, based on this mammoth amount of evidence he has that Paul Keating said: 'Let's stop Costigan'. Paul Keating gets up and says: 'I have never said any such thing'. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and other Ministers in Cabinet say that there has never been any such thing. But that is not sufficient for the Leader of the Opposition; he is looking for an issue. He cannot talk about employment, inflation, interest rates or any of the major issues affecting the Australian people. All he can do is to try to throw a bit of mud and hope that some of it sticks.

If Opposition members are going to come into the Parliament on this issue and hope that they are going to be able to present an argument about what this Government is or is not doing in the fight against crime in Australia they are going to find that they did a lot less than we did. The reports of the Costigan Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, the Stewart Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking and the Woodward Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking not only criticise the former Government for what was happening but also are a gross criticism of the previous Government's neglect of what was occurring in Australia during the years that the Liberal and National Parties were in government. I know that the Leader of the Opposition was not taking any notice in those days-he was highfalutin in New York, Paris, London or somewhere-but all the other members of the Opposition were there when all these things were going on.

It is as if they make the charge now that crime started only on 5 March 1983. The real fight against crime in this country started on 5 March 1983. That is when the tax avoiders started to go. The honourable member for Boothby talks about people being guilty because they might associate with criminals. Let me tell the Parliament that the honourable member for Boothby was guest speaker for the representative of the Nugan Hand Bank in Adelaide-a bloke who is now overseas and is being chased because of all the money he flogged out of South Australia-but the honourable member for Boothby, when he was leading the Liberal Movement or some other political party, was guest speaker at the Hotel Australia telling South Australian people how wise they would be to invest their money with this person. Why does not the honourable member tell us where he is if he is a great mate of his? Tell us where Mr Schuller is.

If Opposition members want to talk seriously about these matters and if they think that there is some evidence that this Government is not doing the right thing, let them bring the evidence forward. If they have not got it, let them shut up. I move:

That the question be now put.