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Thursday, 17 November 1983
Page: 2872

Mr ANTHONY —I ask the Prime Minister: If Mr Costigan believes it is necessary and in the best interests of his overall investigation into crime that he continue, will the Prime Minister permit Mr Costigan to continue with the Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union?

Mr HAWKE —Let me make the position quite clear, as I thought I had before. We want to have a situation in which there is no break or discontinuity between the Costigan Royal Commission and the National Crime Authority. I repeat that the achievement of that position is completely within the hands of honourable members opposite who are now carrying on so hypocritically. We have made it clear, and I repeat, that the discussions following my letter of 26 October between my Ministers, officials, Mr Costigan and his people have been on the basis that there shall be this continuity. If honourable members opposite put their votes where their mouths are we can in fact achieve that position. If as a result of the obstinacy and hypocrisy of the people opposite that timetable of continuity is not possible, this Government, through discussions with its Ministers and the Royal Commissioner, will take action to ensure that there is not an avoidable gap. Clearly it would be in the best interests of this country if in fact the legislation were passed and passed immediately. Then we can ensure that the great benefits of the acquired techniques, equipment and personnel of the Costigan Royal Commission are quickly, efficiently and smoothly passed over to the Authority, which can then be in place as quickly as possible. That is our commitment. We will continue to try to achieve that position in this place. If we are frustrated by the hypocrisy of the Opposition we will take steps in discussions with Mr Costigan to ensure that the continuity is achieved.