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Tuesday, 21 August 1973
Page: 20

Mr SCHOLES (CORIO, VICTORIA) -I ask the Prime Minister: In view of the fact that security organisations must be answerable to Parliament in some manner, will he consider making the Australian Security Organisations answerable either to a subcommittee of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence or the appointment of a special parliamentary authority consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and one other member of the Government?

Mr WHITLAM - I do not concede that security services should be answerable to the Parliament. Security services should be answerable to a Minister who is answerable to the Parliament. Accordingly I will take no steps at all. I do not believe that anybody who is likely to be a Prime Minister would take any steps to see that security services will be responsible to Parliament or to any Parliamentary committee. The honourable gentleman asks me about establishing a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and another Minister to discuss these matters. The Leader of the Opposition knows, and I believe everybody in the Parliament knows, and the public should know, that there is no item of security to which I do not give access to the Leader of the Opposition when he wishes it. In many cases the fullest briefings have been made available to the right honourable gentleman who holds that position at the moment. There are very few people in this Parliament who have been fully briefed on security matters. The Right Honourable Leader of the Opposition is one of them and he became one under the present Government.

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