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Thursday, 17 November 1983
Page: 2869

Mr PEACOCK —I direct my question to the Prime Minister. In view of the unusual personal intervention by the Prime Minister to promote a casino in the Australian Capital Territory, can the Prime Minister assure the House that he has at no time had discussions with any individual or group on the licence for a casino in the Australian Capital Territory? Will he also assure the House that he has at no time been involved in discussions on casino licences in other States of Australia?

Mr HAWKE —Let me deal with the first part of the honourable gentleman's question. Obviously there could not have been any discussions -if I were of the mind to have any-until such time as a decision was made. I make it clear in regard to this question of a casino in the Australian Capital Territory that this is not simply a matter of a clear preference which I have, which I will continue to have and which I will assert strongly as being most appropriate in the interests of this Territory and indeed in the interests of Australia. I make it clear also that the decision is one which has the very substantial support of the structure of the parliamentary Labor Party; it is not just a prime ministerial idea. The answer therefore is: No decision has finally been made. I have had no discussions. Once a final decision is made, I certainly will not involve myself in that issue.

Mr Anthony —I hope this is not another Richard Farmer reply.

Mr HAWKE —The right honourable gentleman says that he hopes that I will not make a Richard Farmer reply. I assure the Opposition, as I have before, that I await with total confidence the report of the Royal Commission constituted to deal with that matter. I am quite sure that Opposition members do not await that report with the same degree of confidence.

In regard to the second part of the honourable gentleman's question-that part dealing with the Queensland casino licence-there is an innuendo that I intervened in respect of the interests of Mr Kornhauser at that time. Let me make it quite clear what happened. A colleague-that might be a rather loose use of the English language, but at least a fellow member of the Australian Labor Party-used the Queensland Parliament in a way which recommends itself to the less reputable members in the Opposition in this chamber and, under the cover of privilege, made a totally unjustified and unsubstantiable attack on Mr Kornhauser who I assert in this chamber unqualifiedly is a close personal friend of mine, and I am proud of it. This person made a totally unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable attack upon Mr Kornhauser in the Queensland Parliament. Before I came into this Parliament I have never condoned-nor will I condone while I am here-the use of parliamentary privilege by members of parliament to make attacks on people which they are not prepared to make outside the House. As a result of that attack that was made upon a friend of mine, I certainly made representations within the Labor Party to try to have rectified what I regarded as a totally improper use of the Parliament to make an attack upon a person who happened to be a friend of mine. I repeat that if that sort of thing happens again, in this House or any other House, I would adopt the same position whether the attack was made by a member on my side of politics or by a member on the other side of politics.