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Thursday, 27 April 1972
Page: 1360

Senator DURACK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Can the AttorneyGeneral inform the Senate whether the University of Sydney authorities are fully co-operating with Commonwealth police in their efforts to identify and apprehend the students who facilitated the escape of Michael Matteson from the custody of the police on the campus last Monday?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am not able to answer the question as clearly as I would like to be able to answer it. On Tuesday of this week, following the incidents at the University of Sydney, a senior officer of my Department, together with the Acting Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police and the superintendentincharge in Sydney, spoke with the ViceChancellor of the University and sought from him help to identify persons who are to be seen in photographs and whom the policemen concerned in the incident can identify as persons who took specific action during the course of that incident. The Vice-Chancellor acknowledges the right of the police to pursue their inquiries, as of course it must be accepted. However, as to whether the University could give specific assistance of the character which was being asked for, the Vice-Chancellor wished to take advice, as I understood it, from the Registrar and some members of the University Senate. He assured my officers that he would give an answer by midday on Wednesday.

At that time we had been told that we were to receive a letter from the University's solicitors. We have received a letter from the University's solicitors which asked for specific indications of the type of assistance that is wanted. I understand that the Commissioner of Police has now forwarded a reply to the solicitors. I can only expect that the University authorities will co-operate with the police, because all that the police are seeking is the co-operation which they would expect from any citizens on occasions when they wanted to interview people in connection with the commission of a serious crime. Any other approach by a university authority is, I believe, absolutely untenable.

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