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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5194


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/11/1979

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5194

From the Press Office SUMMARY OF ABC's* NEWSVOICE
The Federal opposition has called for the resignation of three
ministers over their handling of the alleged Social Security
fraud by more than 100 people. Mr. Bowen called for the
resignations of Senator Guilfoyle, Senator Durack and Mr. McLeay.
The call accompanies a demand for a judicial enquiry into the
handling of investigations. Peter George reports: Today's
attack in Question Time began in the Senate and the House of
Representatives. Senator Durack admitted that it was apparently
unprecedented for a police informer to be granted a pardon and
to be paid a reward for information. He was referring to a
pardon granted Mr. Nakos in 1977 for any illegal acts in the
alleged fraud and to negotiations with the Commonwealth Police
for a reward of up to $ 200,000 on completion of a successful
prosecution. Senator Durack said his Department was unaware
that Mr. Nakos was the same man with whom the reward negotiations
were being conducted. -He expressed his concern of the matter
and said he woul~ d pursue it tomorrow. In answer to further
questions Senator Guilfoyle read a letter from her Department
Head, Mr. Lanigan. Broadly he denies involvement in the
negotiations on the reward but he does say a Department officer
did find out in 1977 that a figure of up to $ 30,000 might be
available through the Department of Finance with the approval
of the Treasurer. Later when the larger figure was suggested
Mr. Lanigan said he feared a confidence trick and that lives of
officers might be endangered if they became improperly involved
in the negotiations. Senator Guilfoyle said Mr. Lanigan recalled
mentioning a reward to her but she had no recollection of it and
Mr. Lanigan agreed she would never have approved a reward-payment.
In the House, Mr. McLeay was subject to questioning by Mr. Bowen
or, the alleged use of phone tapping in the investigation. Mr.
McLeay replied that there was a grey area developing on what
was a phone tap and what was a ' listening device' and he would
not become involved in questions of law. Then this afternoon
Mr. Bowen made the call for the three ministers resignation,
claiming they had failed in their ministerial responsibilities
and he explained why to Duncan Fairweather.
Mr. Bowen:
The first gave untrue information to Parliament and then
made the excuse she did not know that Senator Guilfoyle. ( sic)
The second one appears'to be Senator Durack who said he didn't
know to whom he had given the pardon. I would have thought
you would have been able to at least find out to whom you gave
a pardon, and on what basis, particularly when you are the chief
law officer in Australia and the third one is Mr. McLeay, the
Minister in charge of the police, who said he doesn't know what
the law is and accordingly he really doesn't care whether his
officers act in accordance with the law or not. It is a
ministerial responsibility to Parliament. It means that minister's
can't rely on answers that they don't know or they are ignorant
of the situation, whether it be facts or law. They are accountable
to their Departments, they are accountable to the people of
Australia. If they don't perform they should be dismissed. .2

The Commonwealth Police Officer in charge of-investigating the
alleged Greek Conspiracy case, Detective Chief Inspector
Donald Thomas, said in court in Sydney today, that Federal
Cabinet would be the final arbiter on the amount of payment to
be made to the police informant, Mr. Nakos.
Under cross examination Chief Inspector Thomas said Cabinet
would consider the value of Nakos' evidence at completion of all
court proceedings. He said Cabinet would make a realistic
appraisal of Nakos' contribution whether or not the Crown was
successful in obtaining convictions. Thomas said one of the
criteria for the then Commonwealth Police Commissioner's approval
in principal, that a payment of $ 200,000 could well be a proper
amount, taking all relevant considerations into account, was
contained in the letter written by Nakos' solicitor. In the
letter his solicitor wrote that the amount was .76% of what the
Commonwealth would save over ten years if the fraud would stop.
Thomas said any notes he had even taken of conversations between
himself and Nakos had been destroyed. He said he did not want
to risk revealing the informant's identity to anyone, not even
Commonwealth Government officers. The Crown Prosecutor told
the court earlier today that an application had been made to have
Nakos recalled to give further evidence. Nakos would not be
recalled until after the Christmas break. Susan Curran: Sydney.
A full bench of tL-he Arbitration-Commission today granted 26,000
Telecom workers, wage rises which for most workers mean an
increase of between $ 117 $ 12 a week. The increasesranging from
$ 7.50 to $ 20 a week were backdated to 17 July and will apply
for 17 months. The Telecom workers had asked for rises of at
least $ 27 a week for tradesmen. After the decision the Federal
Secretary of the Australian Telecommunications Employees
Association said he was disgusted and there was a distinct
possibility that his members would take further industrial action.
Interviewed. The stand-off between the United States and Iran continues amid
intensive diplomatic activity at the United Nations and speculation
that the deposed Shah may be well enough to leave the United States
in ten days. In earlier developments Iran announced that it was
withdrawing billions of dollars in foreign currency reserves
from American banks and President Carter countered by saying that
he was freezing Iranian assets and declaring the crisis a
national emergency. Ian Maclntoch from New York: After a day
of discussion the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council
has yet to announce their decision on Iran's request for an urgent
meeting to hear grievances against the United States. Further
consultations are expected tomorrow but informed sources at the
United Nations still expect the Council to reject the Iranian
request or defer any such session until after the hostages at the
American Embassy in Teheran are released. While Iran continues
to demand the extradition of the deposed Shah and the United States
refuses to negotiate until the hostages are freed it is
understood that the Security Council members including the Soviet
Union, China and non-aligned countries are in basic agreement with
the American contention that they should not hear Iran's views
whilst the hostages are being held. But it is not known why if
such a concensus exists a formal announcement to that affect has
yet to be made. 3

Senator Martin and Senator Ryan accompanied a United States
delegation to Kampuchea and returned today. Senator Ryan
was ill on the flight home but Senator Martin spoke to a reporter
in Canberra about what she described as the incredible suffering
and hardship she saw. Senator Martin said she would ask
Australians to give money to the aid agencies as it is being
very well used.
A big clean up is underway in areas of South Australia hit by
wild storms which caused millions of dollars of damage late
yesterday and last night. In the worst hit township Port
Broughton an estimated 300 holiday shacks were smashed by the
wind and another 200 damaged. Ten people needed hospital
treatment for severe cuts and another 60 suffered minor injuries.
Another big mergure has been proposed between two leading
Australian companies. Brambles Industries Ltd. is to join
forces with the building supplies company, Acmil Ltd. The
mergure involves a share swap arrangement in which Brambles will
offer two of its shares plus 20 cents cash for every two shares
in Acmil. At current market prices the offer values Acmil at
$ 143 million, the biggest offer for an Australian industrialbased

Transcript 5194