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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1899

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to an item on the first page of this morning's 'Canberra Times' reporting the resignation of the Solicitor-General, Mr Ellicott, Q.C., and mentioning his intention to practise at the Canberra

Bar? The newspaper report went on to state that the Attorney-General's Department would welcome the addition of an experienced and competent barrister to the Canberra Bar as it had been unhappy with the situation in Canberra, where it usually has to import counsel to act for the Crown in important cases before the ACT Supreme Court'. Is it not a fact that the AttorneyGeneral's Department has drawn freely on the services of members of the Australian Capital Territory Bar in important cases before the ACT Supreme Court? Will the Attorney-General dissociate himself from the unwarranted slur on the Canberra Bar implicit in the report in the 'Canberra Times'?

Senator MURPHY -What the honourable senator says is correct. I certainly will dissociate myself from the remarks. The remarks in the newspaper purport to refer to the views not of myself but of the Attorney-General's Department. I spoke to the Department this morning about the article and I am advised that the Department did not make any comment whatever to the 'Canberra Times' regarding the competence of counsel in Canberra nor did it make any comment to the 'Canberra Times' about where Mr Ellicott would be carrying on his practice as a barrister and Queen's Counsel. No observations were made and the Department is in no way responsible for the item. It is purely newspaper speculation and comment and has no basis in anything the Department has ever said about Mr Ellicott. That is the advice I have been given.

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