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Friday, 2 March 1984
Page: 324

Senator REID —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I refer him to the answer he gave to Senator Chaney in response to his first question on the Age tapes yesterday, when he corrected his answer of the previous day by referring to the aide memoire and said that he now felt it accurate to say that:

The judge said he may have spoken to the solicitor about the appointment.

As in his answer of Wednesday, he indicated that the judge not only referred to the possibility of such a conversation but also indicated the content of such a conversation. Is it not clear that such a conversation did, in fact, take place?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I really believe that the Opposition has drained the last drop out of this matter concerning the judge. The truth of the matter is that what we have here are transcripts and summaries of what are, if they are authentic, private conversations illegally monitored which, even if they are authentic and accurately reported down to every last detail in them, in the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the basis of the statement of the law of the DPP designate and the Solicitor-General, which largely agree with each other, are not such as to establish or point to criminal misconduct and are not such as to be related in any way to the judical activity of the judge in his judicial role. As such, they are not something which could properly, under any circumstances on whatever assumptions or even ultimately proof of authenticity, amount to misbehaviour such as would justify the attention of this Parliament. Under those circumstances--

Senator Chipp —Does it compromise the judge in any way, or could it?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Not in any way that could bear upon the performance of his judicial office, nor upon anything which could remotely be described as criminal -on the assumption, that is, that it is authentic and on the assumption, which is not accepted, that every element in that conversation, to the extent that it may have occurred, was accurately reported. What I am saying is that even on the worst possible case assumptions, even on the assumption of complete authenticity , which is denied and certainly not established, and even on the assumption of complete accuracy as to every point of detail in it, there is absolutely nothing that justifies the scrutiny or the attention of this Parliament. We have here an Opposition going around like a collection of half-starved political Micawbers waiting for something to turn up to rescue them from their present impossible dilemma of their incapacity to make any impact on this Government. There is nothing here except political adventurism combined with malice, and I do not propose to answer further questions of this kind.