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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1871

Senator WHEELDON (Western Australia) - I have listened to Senator Carrick and would agree almost entirely with everything that he said except perhaps with the emphasis he gave to some of the statements he made in his peroration. I agree that it is improper for anybody to reflect upon the police force as a force. I notice that the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) is grinning about this. I challenge him if he is grinning in my direction to state any occasion when I have reflected upon the police force. It is improper to reflect on the police force in the same way as it is improper to interfere in any way with the rights of any party being dealt with by the law. This matter has been raised by way of a statement by the Attorney-General in which he, pursuant to a practice which he has indulged in with monotonous regularity since he attained the office of Attorney-General, has cast reflections upon a person who may be subject to charges under the law of this country.

Senator Laucke - It is a factual statement.

Senator WHEELDON - The innocence of Senator Laucke serves only to reinforce what I am saying. Senator Laucke said that it was a factual statement. I do not think anybody has claimed that Senator Laucke was present during the commission of this alleged offence or at any of the activities that took place inside King's Hall. But Senator Laucke in his simplicity accepts it as a factual statement because it has been put forward by the Attorney-General and that is precisely why there are requirements that subjudice statements should not be made by the Attorney-General or any other person because other people just as simple as Senator Laucke will believe that merely because the Attorney-General has said it, it must be a factual statement.

Senator Laucke - I have full confidence in the Attorney-General.

Senator WHEELDON - I think Senator Laucke has already made sufficient contribution to the debate on this matter to show just how dangerous the AttorneyGeneral has been without compounding the error. I think Senator Laucke would be assisting his own cause if he were to remain silent for the remainder of the discussion. That to which we have drawn attention previously about the actions of the Attorney-General has been repeated this evening. He has made statements which could be clearly prejudicial to somebody who could be brought to trial. I wish in no way to reflect on the integrity or intentions of Senator Carrick in what he has said tonight. From what I have seen of Senator Carrick in the time he has been a member of this chamber I am prepared to accept them completely at their face value. I am sure that what he said was said with sincerity. But I do sincerely say to Senator Carrick that he should use the influence which he has inside the Liberal Party of Australia to see that something is done about the Attorney-General. I agree with Senator Carrick that somebody who sets out consistently to deprecate the police force is dangerous to society. In the same way, I believe that a principal legal officer who consistently sets out to prejudice people to whom he is politically opposed, and who may come to trial, before they come to trial is even more dangerous to the rule of law and to a just society. That is all I wish to say on the matter. 1 hope that Senator Carrick and those who think like him will consider very carefully the actions of the Attorney-General, particularly in issuing the written statement which he circulated this evening.

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