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Thursday, 6 October 1983
Page: 1485

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Leader of the House) —Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to mention a matter of which you are aware. Last evening the honourable member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey) made a number of detailed statements which reflected on a member of the Ministry whom he did not name. Those statements obviously related to tax evasion, deception of the Commissioner of Taxation, and deception with respect to stamp duties and estate duties. Today I understand the honourable member also made further comments in a radio broadcast but again did not name any Minister. Today, at Question Time, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) asked a question of the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) inquiring whether any Minister had been guilty or was liable to be guilty of tax evasion. The answer was no. I can tell you, Mr Speaker, that the Prime Minister then asked the Leader of the Opposition to indicate whether he wished to pursue the matter against any Minister. The honourable member said no.

It is within the knowledge of the Ministry, and certainly within the knowledge of the honourable member for O'Connor, that we feel that he thinks the Minister for Finance (Mr Dawkins) is the Minister involved but the honourable member has not been prepared to name him. We cannot leave that unsatisfactory situation because it affects the standing of the Minister and also defames him to the extent that these allegations have been made and are continuing to be made. Accordingly, Mr Speaker, I have the permission of the Government to suggest to you now that I am prepared to move for the suspension of so much of the Standing Orders as would prevent the honourable member for O'Connor moving a substantive motion. I invite him to indicate to us now whether he wants that done. If he does I will move the motion; but if he does not I shall have to take another course of action.

Mr SPEAKER —This is a rather unusual procedure. Honourable members have heard the Leader of the House speak by indulgence. I ask the honourable member for O' Connor to indicate his intention.

Mr Tuckey —I do not wish to move a substantive motion.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I have already discussed this matter with the Opposition Leader of the House, Mr Sinclair, and I thank him for his co-operation. I now seek leave to enable the Minister for Finance to make a statement to rebut the serious innuendoes and allegations that have arisen from the statements made by the honourable member for O'Connor.

Leave granted.