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Wednesday, 29 February 1984
Page: 138


Senator JESSOP —I ask the Attorney-General whether at either of his interviews with the judge referred to in the Age tapes the judge specifically denied that during a conversation with a Sydney solicitor he had proposed a court action, the aim of which was to 'get plenty on' someone described as a former leading Federal Government figure? If he did not deny the conversation, what explanation did he give, to quote the Attorney's statement yesterday, to 'put these allegations in a rather different context than that evident at first sight'?


Senator GARETH EVANS —The matter to which Senator Jessop referred was the subject of extensive newspaper gossip and speculation. Accordingly, I mentioned it to the judge to see what reaction he might have. Apart from expressing as he did on every occasion and in relation to every matter doubts as to and, indeed, rejection of the authenticity of the reports of the conversations in question contained in the newspaper and outrage at the privacy invasion that was involved , to the extent that there was anything authentic following from the reports, he made the point that there had been a series of conversations with a solicitor relating to the initiation of possible litigation by himself and certain others which placed, of course, the subject of the conversations in question properly within the scope and ambit of legal professional privilege. In those circumstances he would regard, quite properly in my view, anything transpiring in those conversations as not in the slightest bit appropriate in any circumstances for release, by court action or otherwise, in the public domain.