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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3376

Mr HUNT —I ask the Prime Minister whether he recalls the Attorney-General's opinion that, if Mr Walsh's account were to prevail, 'as a matter of law' it is possible that an offence may have been committed under the Crimes Act? Now that Mr Justice Hope has ruled in favour of Mr Walsh's account, will the Prime Minister now refer this matter to the Attorney-General for his further consideration? Does the Prime Minister agree that the Government would be placing the honourable member for Port Adelaide above the law if the matter were not now referred to the Attorney-General for further consideration?

Mr HAWKE —I always respect questions coming from the honourable member for Gwydir . The answer to his first question is no. The answer to his second question is no. But let me add to my answer to the second question. The whole question of Mr Young's actions vis-a-vis the Crimes Act has been considered by the Attorney- General. He has made his decision, of which the honourable member is aware. This matter was before the Royal Commission on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies and the Royal Commissioner had the opportunity of taking a number of courses of action. I think the honourable member will agree with me that the course of action which the Royal Commissioner has taken and what he has said about this matter does not require or call for any further action. He has addressed himself to the question of the Crimes Act and Mr Young. I say to the honourable member, as I know he is interested to hear what I have to say on this matter, that if the Royal Commissioner had made such a recommendation specifically-he had full opportunity to do so-that would have been something that we obviously would have had to take into account. The honourable member will realise that-

Mr Porter —You are not-

Mr HAWKE —The honourable member for Gwydir, who is seated behind the honourable member who just interjected, is asking him to shut up because he wants to hear the answer.

Mr Porter —Yes, but he wants the right answer.

Mr HAWKE —He is asking that of the honourable member who is interjecting. The honourable member might show his fellow member some courtesy by doing what he wants; that is, to be quiet so that he can hear. The Royal Commissioner had an opportunity to do more. He did not do it. If he had, obviously we would have had to take that into account. He did not.