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Friday, 29 November 1985
Page: 2597

Senator CHANEY —I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether the Government agrees that it would be improper for a person believing in the guilt of Mr Justice Murphy to proclaim publicly that belief at a time when a fresh trial has been ordered. Does the Government further agree that proclamations of innocence from public figures, such as Mr Wran yesterday and Mr Hayden some months ago, are also improper? If the Minister does agree, what action will the Government take to prevent such statements, which appear calculated to interfere with the prospect of a fair trial in this case?

Senator BUTTON —If I might offer a personal view to those mentioned by Senator Chaney, I would counsel the wisdom of silence and the fairness of silence. I was asked whether I can, at this stage, express a view about what action the Government might take. I think the answer is probably no, other than to offer that counsel collectively. I will inquire further about that, and advise Senator Chaney in due course.