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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2095

Mr PEACOCK —Will the Special Minister of State confirm that Australian Federal Police information on the New South Wales early release allegations is much more comprehensive than was previously acknowledged by the Federal Government, the New South Wales Government or, indeed, Police Commissioner Abbott-for example, that extensive photographic surveillance exists? Would he also confirm that a number of Federal Police drug targets were tipped off that their telephones were being tapped in the course of the investigations? Do these facts not undercut claims that a judicial inquiry or a full police investigation of the early release scheme would jeopardise the Federal Police drug investigation?

Mr BEAZLEY —The answer to the honourable gentleman's question is that we have reiterated on several occasions in this House, and I am pleased to reiterate it here again, that all materials that we had in our possession relating to the early release scheme have been made available to the New South Wales authorities at the times they came into our possession since the initial passage of information on, I think, 16 May. That material has been available to the New South Wales authorities to use in whatever investigations they see fit to conduct into any possible breaches of their State laws. I do not think any Commonwealth obligation extends beyond the actions we have already undertaken in this matter.

I have said before in this House that I will not engage in speculation into what may or may not be in the transcripts or in any of the material that has been handed on to the New South Wales Government. It would be completely inappropriate for me to do so both in terms of the specific investigation and the general principles in relation to investigations. As we have said before, these are important matters related both to the security of such investigations, which in themselves are important, and to the civil liberties of the people involved. If there are further questions along these lines which attempt to elicit bits and pieces of information which may or may not be within the transcripts and the materials handed on, the answer will be exactly the same.