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Monday, 25 March 1985
Page: 807

Mr PEACOCK —My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. What was the substance of the conversation with the Federal Labor politician whom he referred to a short time ago? Did it cover questions of any breach of both Commonwealth and State law? Did the Labor politician indicate why he was so concerned to ring the Attorney-General? Did he deny the substance of any allegation made against him in the letter?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The person rang me because he had been apparently contacted by the Age newspaper to say that it had a copy of a letter in which he was named and asked him to comment. He rang me to ask whether there was an anonymous letter about and I said yes, that there was. That is about the extent of the conversation, because he made the point--

Mr Howard —Was that the first contact?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Yes, that was the first contact.

Mr Howard —That was the first contact---

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Yes, the first contact. It just shows honourable members how Mr Greiner did not bother to use it and the Age newspaper did.

Mr Howard —I am not worried about it.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I know that the honourable member is not worried about it. I make the point that it was within the knowledge of the New South Wales Liberal Party for a long while. The fact that it was not used, I think, is to that Party's credit, and this detracts from the credit of honourable members opposite.

Mr Howard —Is that all he said?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Of course it was.

Mr Howard —Greiner has no problem.

Mr Peacock —No. You introduced the letter into the Parliament.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The Leader of the Opposition should not try to point his way out of trouble.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the Acting Prime Minister to ignore the barrage of questions from across the table and to answer the question, which has been asked in order.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I note the flexibility of the minds of members of the Opposition. The reference I made related to what was happening in the New South Wales Police Force. We notice that today's question asks: Is a person named in the letter? Can we pillory that person?

Mr Howard —Get back to the Leader's question.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Get back to anything! The honourable gentleman wants to get away from it; I know.

Mr Sinclair —Why did you raise it?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I raised the matter on the basis of indemnities being sought by police. They are entitled to seek them, but there had been previous answers to questions to say that there had been no interception.