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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3374

Mr COLEMAN —I ask the Prime Minister whether he recalls that important among the considerations he raised yesterday to support the promotion of the honourable member for Port Adelaide were that, firstly, he is 'a good man who has made a mistake which he now regrets'; secondly, 'I do not suggest that even I can fully understand what he and his family have suffered'; and thirdly, 'he has spent thirty years working in and for the Labor movement'. If he does recall saying that, does he also believe that Mr Combe is 'a good man', that 'he and his family have suffered' grievously, and that he has spent many years 'working in and for the Labor movement'? If so, can he inform the House whether he will also be seeking a promotion for Mr David Combe?

Mr HAWKE —The answers to those two questions are very simple. The answer to the first question is yes. In regard to the second question, the same thing has happened. There has not been a promotion of the honourable member for Port Adelaide; there has been a return to his previous position. In respect of Mr Combe exactly the same thing applies. What has happened is that in the statement I made I said that the Royal Commissioner has made it quite clear that, in relation to the considerations he found to be appropriate and to justify the decision we took that Mr Combe's consultancy services should not be available to Ministers, that correct decision no longer has the grounds to sustain it and, therefore, should no longer apply. So in the same way, Mr Combe's previous position has been restored. That ground no longer applies. There is now no bar upon Ministers, if they so desire, using the consultancy services of Mr Combe. So there has thus been a restoration of the pre-existing position in regard to the relationship between this Government and Mr Combe.

May I once again dispose of the unbridled hypocrisy of the people on the other side of the House. They have historically had no interest in the question of civil liberties-none at all-generally or in regard to Mr Combe in particular. I repeat to this House and to the people of this country: In 1979 those opposite had a specific opportunity of responding to the concern of the then Labor Opposition to include in the legislation provisions which would cover a case like Combe. It was pleaded by the then Opposition that that should be included. Because members of the present Opposition never had any interest in civil liberties they refused to include that. So we had to operate in those circumstances. The side of the House which deliberately set about trying to intrude upon the civil liberties of Mr Combe was the Opposition when, with that orchestrated set of questions, it deliberately introduced into the public domain the relationship between Combe and Ivanov. Those opposite are the guilty ones and they will be adjudged guilty.