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Thursday, 20 May 1993
Page: 980

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —by leave—Let me clarify this so that we do not have another argument later on. The terms of the motion that we have been arguing about, and in respect of which I gave the undertakings, are really quite narrow. The motion concerns copies of requests and documents relating to such requests made by the Minister or his office between January and May for technical, legal or other advice, and copies of legal, technical or other advice rendered to the Minister or his office during the same time frame. That is a very narrowly cast request, and it may well be that, construed narrowly, there are no more than two documents that satisfy that description. I was assuming that the field was wider than that in relation to satellite. A further question has been raised which is not directly subsumed by the terms of this motion, and that concerns all the documents that Professor Pearce may have looked at. Do I understand it that Senator Collins is said to have made some undertaking on some previous occasion or now in relation to all the documents that Professor Pearce looked at?

Senator Alston —Yes, and he acknowledged that.

Senator GARETH EVANS —Let me now clarify that. Subject to the normal scrutiny that will have to be given to any document, the kinds of grounds that Senator Collins has mentioned—and they are not exhaustive, despite what my learned friend has said; there may be others as well, I make that clear for the record—all the documents that Professor Pearce looked at will then be tabled or presented in accordance with the timetable and undertakings that I laid out before. Is that absolutely clear?

  Question resolved in the affirmative.