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Thursday, 19 September 1985
Page: 761


Senator HAINES(11.30) —Mr President, I support the comments that Senators Tate and Durack have made with regard to the request that we have received. Like them, at the moment I am not at all happy about agreeing to the request that was made, given that we still have an unresolved judgment quite recently put down by Mr Justice Cantor and given the comments too that honourable senators have made in this place pursuant to your statement on Mr Justice Cantor's decision. I, like Senator Tate, am concerned, as I think we all are in this place, about the need to protect witnesses. Until we sort out the problems that we perceive as having arisen from Mr Justice Cantor's judgment and the unresolved matter of article 9 of the Bill of Rights, to say nothing of section 49 of the Constitution, we will have to tread very carefully.

I think matters are not helped by the fact that I found the request made to us rather open-ended, not to say somewhat vague, about just how far the Royal Commission of Inquiry into alleged telephone interceptions intended to proceed in gleaning and using information from what was, in effect, an in camera series of hearings by the first Senate Select Committee on Allegations concerning a Judge. Like my two colleagues, I would hesitate for a very long time before agreeing to any resolution of the Senate to make available the material that was asked for in that letter.

Debate (on motion by Senator Robertson) adjourned.