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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Privileges Committee

7 May 1997

The Federal Government has supported a motion to refer statements made by Senator Colston and Mrs C Smith, tabled in the Senate on 24 March and 6 May 1997, to the Senate Committee of Privileges.

The Government has, however, moved an amendment to the motion stating that the Committee should not commence its inquiry until the Attorney General advises that Australian Federal Police investigations of payments made to Senator Colston and any proceedings consequent on those investigations have been concluded.

This motion is consistent with the legal advice received from the Chief General Counsel that a Senate inquiry could prejudice the investigations of the Federal Police.

The Government believes that there are legitimate issues surrounding the tabling of the statements for the Privileges Committee to examine.

The Government's amendment allows the Privileges Committee to do so while at the same time ensuring that inquiries by the Federal Police are not jeopardised.

Further comment: Matt Brown, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515

Commonwealth of Australia