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Justice Minister Johnston has form on police probes.

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Justice Minister Johnston Has Form On Police Probes Media Statement - 24th October 2007

Alan Griffin

Federal Labor says Justice Minister, David Johnston has “form” on making comments about police investigations, and his denials on the current Australian Federal Police investigation into Exclusive Brethren defy belief, according to Shadow Special Minister of State, Alan Griffin.

“Put simply, Minister Johnston should stop making comments and ‘butt out’,” Mr Griffin said.

Yesterday, Federal Justice Minister Senator Johnston told the media that Electoral Commission (AEC) investigations into un-authorised electoral material allegedly relating to the extremist Exclusive Brethren cult were not a matter for the Federal Police.

He said at a Canberra press conference:

An investigation should be carried out by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), not the police. I don't think it is a matter for the Federal Police, it is a matter for the AEC.

This flew in the face of the fact that the AEC already referred the matter to the Federal Police.

But it was also an unwelcome intervention by the Justice Minister, who is in charge of the Federal Police.

Today Senator Johnston tried to wriggle out of his intervention in AEC and police investigations, stating:

… he had not sought to tell the AFP what matters relating to electoral donations it should investigate. “Indeed I have not sought to tell the Australian Electoral Commission what matters it should or should not refer to the AFP."

Senator Johnston has form when it comes to telling the police what to do.

In an extraordinary attack in the Senate in June 14th 2006 he singled out WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan, and accused the WA State Police of targeting Liberals and listing several cases where he claimed MPs or staff had been singled out. He also accused the police of “corruption” and “fraud.”

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 161 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2600