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Wednesday, 1 October 1958

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - It is obvious that the committee of the Senate has done a conscientious and painstaking job of work in relation to this matter. But having regard to other matters before the Government during the last 24 hours or so, I have not yet had an opportunity to do more than skim through the concluding pages of the report. However, I have already arranged for my own department to begin a close examination of it. I shall take the first opportunity to do so myself, and I have no doubt that it is being examined also by my colleague, the Attorney-General, and by such Government departments as may be concerned.

When this matter was before the Government earlier, I arranged for such facts as were in the possession of my department to be submitted to the Attorney-General for advice as to whether there was ground for legal action by way of prosecution under Commonwealth law. My department was advised by the Attorney-General at that time that no ground of action on which a successful prosecution could be based had been disclosed. If the inquiries of the Senate committee have elicited facts additional to those that the Government had before it earlier, or if they reveal that offences against Commonwealth law have been committed, then I have no doubt that the Attorney-General will recommend to the Government that appropriate action be taken.

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