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Thursday, 4 May 1989
Page: 1874


Senator TAMBLING(11.50) —The issues that have been raised very rightly tonight by Senator Bishop reflect on a question asked of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Senator Gareth Evans) on 3 May. In the answer that Senator Evans gave on that day he made this point:

My Department has told me that Mr Michael Davis commenced employment with the Embassy in Washington in the locally engaged staff position of research officer to the Ambassador on 25 October 1988. It has no record of any request or requests by Senator Graham Richardson to terminate the employment of Mr Davis. Senator Richardson has assured me-and he is an honourable man-that he made no such request.

The document from which Senator Bishop quoted today gives a different account and names officers of the Embassy. It states:

The officers of the Embassy with whom I have dealt on this matter, Mr Max Hughes and Mr Bill Rowe, Consul-General, have been decent about this. They can tell the name of the Canberra official who gave them their instruction.

That is a most serious allegation and it is one that should be pursued. Of course, it is strangely coincidental that Senator Richardson was in Washington in December. He has said that he calls into question the credibility of Mr Davis who signed the facts from which Senator Bishop has quoted. But, of course, he is also, therefore, impugning the credibility of Mayor Fitzgerald of Drummoyne and Mayor Hoenig from a municipality within the Kingsford-Smith electorate. These are serious matters that I think should be taken into account and, no doubt, they will require further investigation. I seek leave of the Senate to table the documents and the facsimile from which Senator Bishop quoted.

Leave granted.