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Monday, 21 September 1987
Page: 417

Mr BEALE —Madam Speaker, I seek your indulgence to make a few short comments on the matter.

Madam SPEAKER —Indulgence is given but we do not want to enter into a general debate.

Mr BEALE —I understand that, Madam Speaker, and I appreciate the indulgence. Just by way of background I want to remind the House that last Thursday the Minister for Land Transport and Infrastructure Support (Mr Duncan) said that some time in August a minute had been received by the Minister for Transport and Communications (Senator Gareth Evans) or his Department from the Australian Federal Police indicating that the police had some concerns about Amann Aviation Pty Ltd, the successful Coastwatch tenderer. The next day, responding to another question, the Minister said that the documents he referred to yesterday, that is, on Thursday, were part of the tender process and not part of the documents which were tabled this morning. The Minister has now confirmed that the documents in fact were not part of the tender process and the documents to which he referred last Thursday simply do not exist.

We are, Madam Speaker, a long way from last Thursday. Not only was no minute received in August; not only did this minute not indicate police concerns about Amann; but there was no such minute from the Australian Federal Police. This Minister has now completed a disgraceful retreat inch by inch from the answer he gave in the House last Thursday. He has grossly misled the Parliament twice and he has failed to clarify at an early stage what he meant.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Deakin will not suggest that the Minister has grossly misled the House. He is--

Mr BEALE —Madam Speaker, with great respect he has said twice--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will not impugn the Minister or accuse him of improper motives.

Mr BEALE —I conclude by saying that if the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) is prepared to tolerate this gross deceit of Parliament then the Australian people are in for a rough three years.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member must not use the words `gross deceit of Parliament' either. He knows full well what is stated in the Standing Orders.