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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5195


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: 5195

from the Press Office SUMMARY OF
The Opposition today called for the resignation of the Attorney-General.
the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Administrative
Services. for tailing in their Ministerial responsibilities in
the controversial Greek conspiracy case. Intense questioning
by the Opposition centred on two issues allegations of illegal
phone tapping and the offer of a $ 200,000 reward to an informer.
Senator Guilfoyle today read a three page statement from her
Director General which categorically denied that he or the
Department had done anything to endorse, facilitate or authorise
payment of a reward and that no consideration had been given to
an amount of $ 200,000. Mr Lionel Bowen interviewed. Says he
wants three heads of this issue because there are three Ministers
who either do not know what their departments have done or are not
prepared to find out and in one outstanding case, there is a Minister
who says he does not know what the law is. Mr Bowen questions the
propriety of offering sums of money, for which they are responsible,
as reward money. On the question of ministerial responsibility,
professor of law at Latrobe University believes the concept is more
blurred than it used to be but since the days of the Whitlam, government
ministers are now less likely to ' carry the can and accept
responsibility for any inaccurate advice they may receive from their
departmental heads.
Detective Chief Inspector Thomas was again questioned today about
the involvement of the government in the proposed payment of money
to the police informer and about his dealings with government
departments. Wlhen asked who was to decided what payment should be
made to the informer, he replied, " The Cabinet". Before this
disclosure it had been assumed from documents tendered in court
that this decision would be made by the Commonwealth-Police who
had carried out negotiations with Mr Marcus before the investigations
were properly launched in 1977. After this was made public,
Inspector Thomas was questioned on what criteria would have t~ o be
satisfied before the informer was actually paid by the cabinet.
Thomas agreed that he had written a confidential report in which.
it was stated that: the Police Commissioner had agreed that the
payment of $ 200,000 could ' well be a proper amount if certain
conditions were met'. Thomas conceded du~ ing cross examination
that he personally had destroyed documents relating to discus-sions
with. Mr Marcus in 1977 well before the publicised raids and arrests
and afterwards. HE! said he had done so to maintain confidentiality
essential to relations between the police and their informers.
A report tabled in Federal Parliament blasts both. the Commonwealth.
Police and State police forces for a serious failure to co-operate
and co-ordinate with each other. The report on Australia's capability
against terrorism was prepared by Mr Justice Hope and was-specially
commissioned by Mr Fraser after the Hilton bombing. In his-report
he also criticised the development of the State police paramilitary
forces arguing that capability in that field should best be left
with. the defence forces
Wild storms cut a corridor of devastation costing millions of
dollars across South Australia last night.
There was an outcry in Australia when Australian-. aid destined for
East Timor was being held up in the docks in Djakarta. Now-the
tables have been turned because Red Cross workers in Indonesia say that
./ 2

urgently food supplies for East Timor are being held up by
shipping delays in Australia. o0o---

Transcript 5195