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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 933

Mr HUMPHREYS (Griffith) - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. A report appeared in today's Courier-Mail under the heading 'Society Hit by Smear'. I shall not read the report in full. It is claimed in the article that there is a smear campaign against the Society of the Helping Hand and that I am part of that campaign. Honourable members will be aware that I spoke in Tuesday's adjournment debate about the Society. I related factually and objectively the allegations that arose from an extensive investigation. In my speech I called for an inquiry by the Australian Federal Police. The story quotes Mr Brian Hawkes, Treasurer of the Society. Mr Hawkes says that, contrary to my statement on Tuesday night, the

State police are not investigating the Society and that Reverend R. G. Griffiths has denied the alleged complaint to the State Government - that is the Queensland Government. Such statements reflect on me and I seek to put them right.

The Fraud and Consorting Squad of the Queensland Police has interviewed persons connected with the Society. There is, without any doubt, an investigation by a department of the Queensland Police. That is the first point. The second point is that I spoke to Reverend Griffiths yesterday and today about the letter which was incorporated in Hansard. He stated his only qualms were these: Firstly, it was not made clear that he was merely writing on behalf of several charitable organisations and, secondly, that the licence of the Society of the Helping Hand to raise moneys was revoked on the same day as the Welfare Services Department received the letter but not following the letter. The facts are that the Society is under investigation at a State level and the Reverend Griffiths did submit a letter to the Minister for Welfare in Queensland, the Honourable Sam Doumany, on behalf of charitable organisations. Those charitable organisations are named in the letter incorporated in Hansard, which is there for every honourable member to read and to come to his own conclusions. Those charitable organisations are Lifeline, Teen Challenge, Brisbane Youth Service, Windsor Youth Emergency Shelter, Queensland Council of Social Service and two other very reputable charities which I understand now do not want any publicity. Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank you for your indulgence.

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