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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2293


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(9.57) —I refer to division 577, dealing with the Australian Federal Police. First of all I commend the Australian Federal Police for the work they have done in recent times and the significant successes they have had recently, particularly in relation to drug trafficking. I am aware that they are still a relatively small force which has had only a limited time to receive expert training. I pay my personal tribute to a force which is growing in efficiency and in achievement. When I look at the estimate I see that the amount of money allocated to the Australian Federal Police is up by barely 5 per cent. If one were to apply to administrative expenses and other things the ordinary consumer price index increases in fact there would be no growth at all.

I make a number of general remarks concerning the Australian Federal Police and subdivision 582, dealing with royal commissions. Recently a former royal commissioner, Mr Justice Athol Moffitt, has written a book. His report in the 1970s was virtually the first of the royal commissions into gambling, drugs and general vice. Subsequently there have been the Woodward, Williams, Costigan and Stewart royal commissions-indeed I may have left out one or two-and a great volume of evidence of organised crime has emerged. I hope that the Government and the authorities within the operations of the Government-the police, the Stewart Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking and the National Crime Authority-will seek to investigate the key findings and the key comments of each of those commissions. One tends in politics to deal episodically with things as they arise. I am suggesting that here now is, probably uniquely, a collection of experience, evidence and facts from five royal commissions. Here too now is a book published by a very distinguished Australian, a man who has deliberately not sought to write headlines in his book but has pointed to events and trends of events rather than name individuals just to chase headlines.

I commend to each of the authorities concerned not only an examination of the book but also a willingness on its part to seek out persons such as Mr Justice Athol Moffitt, interview them and seek from them the magnificent wealth of experience that they have gained. I know the kind of people they are and they would be very willing to be forthcoming. I would like to see a study done by the Government and its authorities of the whole of these reports, not in detail of individual alleged villains or, indeed, of individual events but to establish a pattern from which we can get a blueprint of what is happening in Australia. The Moffitt Royal Commission first drew attention to the fact that there was an emergence of organised crime, particularly of blue collar crime, of a magnitude quite different from anything we had seen before. I am not sure that governments of all persuasions have been alert enough to deal with it.

I rise tonight to commend the Federal Police, to draw attention to some new information and to invite the Government to look at the information, from wherever it may come, and extract from it the key evidence. This would be helpful to all honourable senators in contemplating the future, in contemplating for example the work which the National Crime Authority should undertake. It would be helpful not simply to look at individual cases, but to look at patterns as they have been drawn up by the Royal Commissions. I invite the Government to do so.