M27 31 March 1995
There is no basis for Alexander Downer's posturing about the release of the Samuels Commission Report into the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.
I have replied to his letter to me today in the following terms:
I refer to your letter of today's date - already, I see, the subject of a lavish press release - regarding the nature and scope of the Opposition's access to the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into ASIS. As our staff have already discussed, there is no obligation on the Government's part to grant any such access to the Opposition, nor to give any commitment in relation to access prior to the Government's receipt of the Report. This stance is entirely conventional, and in keeping with the practice applied to reports of Commissions undertaken pursuant to Letters Patent - practice, I might add, observed by both sides of politics over the years.
Of course, as I indicated to the Senate yesterday, I intend to take as forthcoming an approach as possible to issues of access to the Report, and I can give you a guarantee that the question of Opposition access will be given priority attention when the Government addresses procedural questions relating to the Report in the very near future. These arrangements are consistent, I understand, with those observed in relation to the Second Hope Report.