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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2010

Mr PEACOCK —I direct my question to the Special Minister of State. I remind him that on Tuesday last, 18 October, the honourable member for Boothby asked him a question or questions which he undertook to answer but which I understand he has not answered to date. I now ask: Do Australian Federal Police tapes show that a Keith Harris, former director of the Sydney Turf Club, named today in the New South Wales Parliament, had developed a covert relationship with the New South Wales Minister for Corrective Services and had several conversations with him concerning the early release of drug traffickers?

Mr BEAZLEY —I think I made it clear in my answer to the honourable member for Boothby last Tuesday that it was not my intention to release the tapes, details of matters on the tapes or anything related to the tapes at any time in this House. I reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions and what has also been said by the Prime Minister: When we were made aware by the Federal Police Commissioner, as a result of intercepts placed in connection with narcotics investigations, of potential breaches of New South Wales law related to the early release scheme, we sought to pass on that information immediately, in the context of the time that was available, to the New South Wales authorities for them to act on. I repeat also what has been said by the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and me: The matters contained in those tapes were of the nature of criminal information from which investigation might proceed and be pursued. As I said, the matters related entirely to questions of New South Wales law, apart from anything of value to the Federal Police in their narcotics investigation, and were placed with the New South Wales authorities in the most proper way. It is a matter for the New South Wales authorities to pursue those investigations to a conclusion.

Mr Peacock —But you will not deny the allegation.

Mr BEAZLEY —I will not establish a practice in this House of confirming or denying aspects related to investigations, be they investigations in relation to tapes that are produced in the way in which these tapes were produced under the relevant Act or other investigations that may be before the Federal Police at any time. I do not say that in an unqualified way. There may be occasions when a person who has been the object of investigations wishes his name to be cleared, but as a matter of practice it is not my intention to release details of investigations or details of tapes and I am not going to depart from that in this instance.