Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 2 November 1983
Page: 2192

Mr PEACOCK —My question is directed to the Special Minister of State. I refer to the allegations made by Mr Bob Bottom that Australian Federal Police information indicates that a New South Wales magistrate was induced to dismiss certain charges and that another person is confident of being similarly discharged. I refer also to Mr Bottom's allegations against a senior officer of the New South Wales Police. Is the Minister aware that New South Wales magistrates have invested in them the authority to hear charges on behalf of the Commonwealth? Has the Minister requested the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police to make available to the New South Wales Police Commissioner and the special judicial authority all information suggesting possible corruption in New South Wales by New South Wales State Government Ministers and officials and not just that relating to the early release scandal? If the Federal Government refuses to make the information available to the New South Wales Police Commissioner and the special judicial authority, as has been reported today, will it be independently investigating allegations against any magistrate empowered to hear Federal charges?

Mr BEAZLEY —On the question of the allegations made by Mr Bottom on Friday, which were not related to the other matters that have been raised in this place and elsewhere, when they were made I requested the Federal Police Commissioner, and I received a request from the Attorney-General to approach the Police Commissioner, to find out whether in his knowledge there was anything in any Federal investigation which could sustain what had been claimed by Mr Bottom. At that stage the Federal Police Commissioner quickly conducted an inquiry of his officers and advised me that as far as he was aware that was not the case. He has subsequently looked at the matter in more detail and as far as he is concerned that continues to appear to be not the case. I am advised by him that no material is in the possession of the Federal Police which would sustain the type of suggestion which was put forward by Mr Bottom. I am aware of reports that Mr Bottom has discussed his allegations with the New South Wales Police Commissioner and also that Mr Abbott is reported as saying that Mr Bottom was not able to provide him with any concrete evidence to substantiate the allegations. However, Mr Abbott has not indicated that the allegations involve Commonwealth offences which would fall within the investigative jurisdiction of the Federal Police.

On the other matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition-the question of the extent of the Commonwealth co-operation in any public inquiry or judicial inquiry set up by the New South Wales authority-it would be our objective to co- operate as fully as we possibly could within the framework of our own legislation, with such an inquiry on any of the matters that come before it, where there is an appropriate Federal involvement and where we have information to provide. We would also do so, as I said, within the framework of the constraints imposed upon us by our own legislation. We will not know whether there is a requirement for us to do so until we have full details of what exactly is the nature of this judicial inquiry, what it is considering and what type of information it may wish to get from us. Should we find that there are impediments in our legislation, to the extent to which we could co-operate with the inquiry I would ask the Attorney-General to have a look-at our legislation I am sure he would do so-to see whether anything could be done to remove those impediments in a way which in the future would not compromise the value of the legislation to our own investigative activities. We will not be able to give anything like a firm answer on that matter, one way or the other, until such time as we have had a chance to have a detailed look at what is being proposed. But I assure the Leader of the Opposition that if at all possible we would wish to co-operate with the New South Wales authorities in their investigations as far as we possibly could.