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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3001


Senator ARCHER —I ask the Attorney-General a question. I refer to an article by Marion Wilkinson in the National Times under the heading 'Big shots bugged'. Has the Attorney-General noted the article and particularly the serious allegations made in regard to a Sydney solicitor, a former New South Wales magistrate, a judge and a Liberal politician? Will the Attorney-General assure the Senate that these allegations have been or will be fully investigated to determine whether there have been any breaches of Commonwealth law and, if so, that appropriate action has been or will be taken?


Senator GARETH EVANS —For reasons relevant to the date of commencement of the Telecommunications (Interception) Act, phone tapping by the Australian Federal Police could not have been involved in relation to the subject of this particular story. For similar reasons, I can assert with some confidence that there was no use by the Federal Police of the listening device provisions in the Customs Act. To the extent that the story has any foundation, it is possible that the source may have been a listening device authorised under New South Wales law which could have been used by the Australian Federal Police or the New South Wales police. The Australian Federal Police, I am advised by the Special Minister of State, are investigating whether the leak came from any information supplied by them. I am awaiting further information on this aspect from the Special Minister of State. We will see what it might be possible to put on the public record when we have that information.