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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3335

Dr KLUGMAN(10.43) —I raise the question of a particular royal commissioner, since we are into royal commissions today. Generally we seem to be heading for a royal commission-led recovery, certainly a lawyer-led recovery. I received an answer to a question I had had on the Notice Paper for some time. It is recorded at page 3121 of the House of Representatives Hansard for 30 November . Inter alia it states that Mr F. X. Costigan, QC, so far has received some $1, 003,750 in fees.

Mr Hicks —How much?

Dr KLUGMAN —He has received $1,003,750. By the end of December he will have received another $97,500. The fees are being paid at the rate of some $9,000 or $10,000 a week. Maybe paying that money to him is worth while, but let me raise a couple of points. Let us look at the sort of work that royal commissioners do. Royal Commissioner Costigan has a huge number of assistants. His Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union has been going for nearly three years. He has a very large staff. After looking at evidence for some two years he presented his report No. 4 on the activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union. He was dealing with the matter of a chap called Bercove, who was in the Crown Solicitor's Office in Perth. After some two years and with a staff of over 70-I emphasise this-Mr Costigan, in his report to this Parliament, said:

According to Mr Gleedman, Mr Bercove placed the telephone number of the Perth Office of the Crown Solicitor in the advertisements for the business.

The Commissioner is now talking about an escort service which Mrs Bercove was allegedly running. The report continued:

Mr Bercove denied this, and I have at this stage no other hard evidence on this matter, but as between him and Mr Gleedman, I find Mr Gleedman, the far more credible witness.

I put this proposition to honourable members: In the case of a royal commissioner who has been conducting an investigation for two years and has had a staff of some 70 people, one would at least have expected him to decide whether the advertisement was placed.

He takes Gleedman's evidence as being the more correct. But some 20 pages earlier in his interim report he states that Mr Gleedman was suffering from hyperthalmic depression-which by the way does not exist-as he had done for many years in the past, and he had been retired from the Public Service. On page 44 of the interim report, again speaking about Gleedman, Mr Costigan states:

At that time Mr Gleedman prepared draft instructions to counsel to settle the criminal charges and advice on evidence. It is a tortuous and confused document. I find it difficult to understand how Mr Gleedman was in so much error at this time, lest it be the illness from which he was suffering.

Yet the Commissioner relied on that person's evidence.

That is not the only place where the Commissioner was wrong. Two weeks after the report was tabled, a statement was made by Huw Evans on PM. He said:

. . . Mr Frank Costigan late this afternoon sent a telexted Press statement to all Australian media organisations admitting that volume one of his Report contained a significant number of errors. I quote from the telex: ''In paragraph 17, page 116 the Report stated 'Shortly afterwards Harding was murdered by Taylor and subsequently Taylor was convicted of that murder. Thus Taylor had committed by that time some two murders in the space of three years, notwithstanding that at the time of the second murder he was in prison.' In fact Mr Taylor was acquitted of this murder, not convicted. The Commission sincerely regrets this error and trusts that its correction will receive as much publicity as the original mistake.'' He then goes on to say that as a result the Commission had reviewed the Chapter to ensure that if there were any other mistakes, they could be corrected immediately. Unfortunately, says Mr Costigan, a number of mis-statements had been discovered. I quote again: ''In paragraph 5. 13, it is stated that Maloney was murdered by O'Driscoll. The name should be Driscoll, not O'Driscoll. It is true that Driscoll was convicted of this murder, however, the conviction was upset on appeal and he was acquitted on his new trial. In paragraph 5.20, it is stated that Raymond Kane was murdered. Is was in fact his brother Leslie Kane. In paragraph 5.21, it is stated that Bennett when murdered was at the City Court on committal proceedings-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.