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Tuesday, 1 May 1973
Page: 1533

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I commence by saying that I really do not enjoy doing what I am about to do, but the manner in which the new Government is approaching matters of state leaves me with little alternative. It has come to power on the boast of open government, but honourable members, particularly on this side of the House, fully recognise-

Mr Keogh - You are very lucky you are here.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - The honourable member for Bowman will be lucky to be here after the next election, that is for sure. The present Government has come to power under the guise of open government. People who listen to the broadcast of question time and who sit in this chamber during question time see how the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) down to No. 27 in the ministerial batting order are making a complete farce of this place and that none of us on this side of the House can get any information whatsoever.

Mr Katter - It is a jackboot Government.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - That is well said. I do not know whether what I will draw to the attention of the House is true or false, but I raise it simply to seek a denial or confirmation of it. It has come to my ears that in recent times a member of the Government's Public Service, which also was promised an open go - a member of the Department of Foreign Affairs - has mysteriously disappeared and that nobody knows where he has gone. I have heard allegations - and I do not claim that they are correct, but I should like some confirmation or explanation of them - that this person has been indulging in an exercise of photostating Government documents relating to Government business and various contracts between Australia and another country, and that he has been selling these documents to businessmen.

There are further accusations that a file relating to a Yugoslav also has disappeared in recent times. There is some suggestion - it is only a suggestion - that there is some connection between the Yugoslav in question and the person to whom I have referred. I am quite prepared to make more details of the information I have available to the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. I am quite sure that honourable members will recognise that in raising this matter and not making more details available I am playing straight down the middle and not besmirching the character of any particular individual.

When I raise this matter in this manner I think honourable members on this side of the House and thinking members on the Government side who may have been ambitious for ministerial rank after the last election but who failed in their endeavours will share my disquiet about what is going on in the Government ranks. I can stand on this side of the House and say that for 6 years I have been consistent in my requests for open government and for certain civil liberties and freedoms. Honourable members on the other side of the House who at one time were very vocal have in recent months become strangely quiet.

It is my intention to make my remarks on this matter brief. I hope that if there is anything in this allegation, the responsible Minister - the Prime Minister - will advise the House. Claims have been made that the Commonwealth police are searching for this individual. If a member of our Public Service has been involved in such an action, it is the responsibility of the Government not just to try to cover it up and pretend it did not happen but to move in for the sake of the good name of the thousands upon thousands of other public servants throughout the country, to remove the cancer and to ensure that the matter, if it has happened, becomes a closed story in the very near future.

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