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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 909

Senator O'BYRNE - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. In view of the statement in another place by the Prime Minister to the effect that he will not oppose the setting up of a royal commission to investigate the activities of terrorists in this country, will the AttorneyGeneral state whether he will give his positive support to the Prime Minister's approach to this subject? I would also like to know whether the setting up of such a royal commission would be sub judice.

The PRESIDENT - Order! Is the AttorneyGeneral aware of the statement made in another place by the Prime Minister?

Senator GREENWOOD - Yes, Mr President.

The PRESIDENT - I call on the AttorneyGeneral to answer that question.

Senator GREENWOOD - I have discussed with the Prime Minister, as one might suppose, a number of matters arising out of the bombing incidents last Saturday, but even before then consideration had been given to quite a number of aspects of political violence, terrorism and allegations of terrorism in this country and I had been considering whether it was an appropriate matter for inquiry. I think the view which the Government holds at the present time is that nothing should be done which would prevent the current police investigations from being carried through to their conclusion. It would be, I think, highly prejudicial to such police activities even to contemplate such an inquiry at this stage. Let us await the outcome of the police investigations and see what is forthcoming and then consider the matter. The other question which was raised is essentially a legal question. If the honourable senator wants an answer to it he should refer to the Royal Commissions Act. Of course a royal commission is a judicial inquiry.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I understand the feeling of honourable senators. They are aware that they have a very heavy notice paper in front of them. We have replies to a great number of questions on notice previously asked and which are on notice. With the concurrence of honourable senators I will have those questions and answers incorporated in Hansard.

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