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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3032

Mr BUNGEY (Canning) - I, too, want to speak very briefly on the report. I have taken a keen interest in the Toomer case. I speak as the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) spoke, in that I am not fully aware of the contents of, or the recommendations in, the report. It is very clear that lessons can be learned from this case in a number of areas. Firstly, the honourable member for Corio referred to deficiencies in quarantine. I am sure that the airing of this case to a large degree has allowed a number of those deficiencies in quarantine to be plugged or at least reviewed. I note that the Government, through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has made a review of the whole administrative arrangements of the quarantine service. I think that this is a very good start.

I ask the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters (Mr Street) to follow the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration that its case study of the Toomer case be published. I note that the Minister has tabled the report of the inquiry by Temme and Perriman, but in no way has any effort been made to summarise the very substantial case study- it occupies more than 100 pages- which was made by Mr Munro who was a member of that Royal Commission. I ask the Government to look at the possibility of following that recommendation. I think this whole case has indicated a degree of secrecy which is quite undesirable. I think frankness breeds confidence. One cannot have confidence in a quarantine service or a department of health which is very keen on hiding things. This whole case has been very secretive. It is essential that we have confidence in the quarantine service. That is the only way in which we will get full support from the public to ensure that there is proper quarantine enforcement.

I am worried also about several aspects of the current inquiry by Mr Temme and Mr Perriman. One of them has been referred to as the Vishna Kalyan episode. The episode has not been explained by the Department. The honourable member for Corio and I have questions on notice on this matter directed to the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt). I think it is desirable that they be answered. I note that a reply was received to question No. 1461 which deals with this matter. The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters stated:

I am satisfied that the conduct of Messrs Perriman and Temme while visiting the MV Vishna Kalyan was quite proper, and has not in any way compromised the independence of the inquiry.

Without receiving a full report and answers from the Minister for Health, I have not quite the confidence that the Minister displayed in answering that question. I welcome the fact that a further report will be made to the Parliament on what has happened in this case. It is very clear that there has been a number of areas of administrative immorality. I hope that if these areas have been revealed in the report methods will be adopted to change the Public Service Act and Regulations to ensure that similar administrative immorality and personal vendettas cannot be exercised through the Public Service Act or under the guise of the Public Service Act.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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