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Monday, 29 May 1989
Page: 2889

Senator JONES —Has the attention of the Minister for Justice been referred to an article in the Brisbane Courier-Mail headed `Asia Inquiries on Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen'? Does this article claim that investigators from the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct have been to Singapore and Hong Kong to probe the financial affairs of former Premier Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen? Has any request been made from either the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct or the team of four Queensland detectives led by top fraud investigator Inspector John Huey for assistance in this matter of the National Crime Authority or the Australian Federal Police and, if so, has it been forthcoming?

Senator TATE —I do not have with me the press article to which Senator Jones referred in his question which has to do with inquiries being undertaken, according to the article, by the Fitzgerald inquiry. It would not be for me to have any knowledge of those inquiries as they are operational matters that are still being undertaken by Mr Fitzgerald in the course of the last several weeks of his inquiry and apparently contemporaneously with his drawing up of his report.

In reply to the part of the question dealing with the particular assistance afforded to him by national law enforcement agencies, let me say that it is a fact that the National Crime Authority has, from the very beginning, partly because it had a reference which coincided in part with areas of inquiry that Mr Fitzgerald wished to follow, been of great assistance to Mr Fitzgerald. Mr Fitzgerald has called upon the Australian Federal Police and several members of it in particular to give him assistance in pursuing certain lines of inquiry and, indeed, in drawing up his report. Commonwealth law enforcement agencies have been extremely helpful at every stage and have responded to every request from Mr Fitzgerald during the course of his investigations which are so important to Queensland in relation to its own law enforcement agencies and the propriety of the conduct of both elected and non-elected public officials.

I would hope that, in acknowledgments that Mr Fitzgerald does make, in the course of his final report, he will pay tribute to the national law enforcement agencies which have been of assistance to him. As to whether any such assistance has been afforded in respect of the particular inquiries which it is alleged are being undertaken in Asian countries, I have no information that I can give to the Senate.