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Tuesday, 25 September 2001
Page: 31446


Mr Murphy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 4 June 2001:

(1) Further to his answer to question No. 2376 (Hansard, 22 May 2001, page 25779) did both the Professor of Medicine and the Professor of Surgery conclude that former Senator Colston's life expectancy was months; if not, which professor reached an alternative conclusion about Dr Colston's life expectancy and what was that conclusion about Dr Colston's life expectancy.

(2) Is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) able to confirm that at least one eminent medical specialist who examined Dr Colston on 14 or 19 May 1999 concluded that his life expectancy was months.

(3) Did the DPP not have Dr Colston further medically examined until approximately 13 December 2000.

(4) On what dates did the examinations of Dr Colston by the two independent eminent specialists take place which led to their respective reports of 13 December 2000 and 9 February 2001.

(5) Were the medical examinations which led to the reports of 13 December 2000 and 9 February 2001 conducted by a Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Surgery who were the same independent medical specialists who examined Dr Colston in May 1999.

(6) Do the Professors of Medicine and Surgery hold their chairs in Queensland.

(7) Is he able to say whether, prior to their examination of Dr Colston on 14 and 19 May 1999, the Professors had prior personal contact with Dr Colston; if so, when.

(8) What is the precise nature of the current medical condition of Dr Colston.

(9) What is the exact prognosis contained in each of the reports identified in his answer to parts (7), (10) and (13) of question No. 2376.

(10) What are the exact medical specialisations that are required to define the prognosis of Dr Colston's medical condition.

(11) In light of the qualifications, chairs and fellowships of the independent medical specialists identified in part (6), is he confident they hold the exact medical specialisations necessary to express an accurate assessment on the state of health of Dr Colston and prognosis of Dr Colston's medical condition; if not, can he identify alternative competent, eminent, independent medical specialists who can express an accurate prognosis on the current medical condition of Dr Colston; if not, why not.

(12) In light of his answer to part (19) of question No. 2376, will he now obtain the medical reports of Dr Colston from Wesley Private Hospital.

(13) In light of his answer to part (11) of question No. 2376, has the estimation of Dr Colston's life expectancy as expressed in terms of months now been disproved; if not, why not.

(14) Is he prepared to have Dr Colston re-examined by appropriately qualified medical experts, other than the independent eminent medical specialists who examined Dr Colston on 14 and 19 May 1999, to assess whether Dr Colston is now capable of standing trial on the twenty-eight charges of defrauding the Commonwealth through travel rorts; if not, why not.


Mr Williams (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) On 4 October 2000 the DPP requested updated medical evidence of Dr Colston's condition from his legal representatives.

(4) The two independent specialists did not further physically examine Dr Colston.

(5) Yes.

(6) No.

(7) The independent specialists had no prior personal contact with Dr Colston.

(8) This is sensitive personal information. I refer to my answers to Questions on Notice No. 1154 and No. 1573.

(9) See (8).

(10) I refer to my answer to Questions on Notice No. 1154 and No. 1573.

(11) Yes.

(12) No.

(13) Yes, however the prosecution of Dr Colston was discontinued because Dr Colston was not fit to stand trial and there was no prospect that he would be fit to stand trial in the future.

(14) No. The DPP discontinued the prosecution of Dr Colston because in the light of the medical evidence there was no prospect of this matter proceeding to trial. The DPP review confirmed this remains the position.