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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1824

Senator MESSNER —My question is addressed to the Attorney-General, both in his own capacity and as Minister representing the Special Minister of State. Was an auction sale held at an Australian Labor Party meeting in Melbourne in November to help cover the costs of those people who went to Alice Springs to demonstrate against the Pine Gap defence facility? Were signs stolen from Pine Gap auctioned at the meeting? Was the Attorney-General invited and did he attend that meeting? What action is the Government taking to prosecute those who benefited from the proceeds of the sale of stolen Commonwealth Government property?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have some vague recollection of a point being made by the Opposition in one of its more adventurous policy-innovative moments about a sign coming from Alice Springs. I have no knowledge of the particular meeting at which signs or anything or anybody were auctioned off. In the context of the Pine Gap demonstration, to the extent that it is any of Senator Messner's business, I will endeavour to find out--

Senator Messner —It is the nation's business.

Senator GARETH EVANS —To the extent that it is the honourable senator's business or the nation's business I will endeavour to find out. To the extent that it is Party business I will not accommodate him further, but to the extent that there are any issues involved about government property--

Senator Messner —You are the First Law Officer.

Senator Chaney —Is the Labor Party exempt from the law?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I hear the bellowings and the squeakings opposite. I have indicated that the internal affairs of the Labor Party are not Senator Messner's business, not Senator Chaney's business, nor the business of any of the other denuded purported politicians opposite. To the extent that a question has arisen , whether frivolous or otherwise, about possibly stolen Commonwealth Government property, I will endeavour to find out what the truth of the matter is and advise Senator Messner accordingly.