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Friday, 22 March 1985
Page: 779


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Attorney-General) —Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented.


Mr SPEAKER —The Acting Prime Minister may proceed.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The honourable member for Menzies (Mr N. A. Brown) has made the point that I was wrong in suggesting that the person concerned had not had to face a charge of forgery even though it was one of the initial charges on which a committal for trial had taken place in March 1982. The record shows that representations were made over a period, as the honourable gentleman would know, not to have any bill filed against that gentleman. On 24 September 1982 a submission was made to Acting Attorney-General Brown indicating that the latest representations did not change the earlier recommendation; that is, that the two charges stand. The Acting Attorney-General obtained the Solicitor-General's opinion that the trial should proceed. On 1 November 1982 the Acting Attorney-General decided that the trial should proceed on the conspiracy charge-one charge, not two.


Mr N. A. Brown —It was the only matter before me. Can't you understand that?


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I do not know how that was the only matter before the honourable member when as a matter of record-


Mr SPEAKER —Order!


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The representations are quite serious.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! So far the Acting Prime Minister has stuck to the matter of fact in respect of where he was misrepresented. I invite him not to extend his remarks into debate.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Just for the benefit of the lapse of memory by the honourable gentleman-


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I seek the assistance of the Acting Prime Minister. There has been a growing habit in the House of trying to extend personal explanations into a debate. I ask for the assistance of the Acting Prime Minister.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Well, I am answering an interjection which I guess was out of order.


Mr SPEAKER —Interjection is out of order and you should not respond to it.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The point is that the committal was on two charges and the trial was on one. The discretion not to proceed on the other was the decision made on 1 November. As a matter of record-


Mr N. A. Brown —It was not a decision by me; you know perfectly well.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Well, it says here that the Acting Attorney-General decided that the trial should proceed. I make the point, though, on the question of the trial, that the person concerned was not brought to trial in the period when the Fraser Government was in office; he was brought to trial in the period of the Labor Government.


Mr N. A. Brown —Mr Speaker, I ask the Attorney-General to table the document from which he was quoting.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The whole document completely which will show the earlier submissions made? The whole document?


Mr N. A. Brown —Yes.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Yes, I am quite happy to table it. You are not going to bluff your way out of that.


Mr N. A. Brown —You are a liar.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Mr Speaker, you would have heard the interjection.


Mr SPEAKER —No, I did not.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Well, I was accused of being a liar.


Mr N. A. Brown —That is right.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I ask for that accusation to be withdrawn.


Mr N. A. Brown —I will not withdraw it.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Well, you ought to be thrown out this House. What sort of a weak character are you? What sort of rubbish is that?


Mr SPEAKER —Order! If the honourable member for Menzies referred to the Acting Prime Minister as a liar he will withdraw.


Mr N. A. Brown —Yes. I know there is one rule-


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I ask him to withdraw it without reservation.


Mr N. A. Brown —I withdraw. I will withdraw and I ask the honourable gentleman to repeat the allegations outside the House.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —It is tabled; it is a matter of record.