REPORT OF COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO ASIS
As foreshadowed in my statement of 20 December 1994, the Government received the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Australian Secret Intelligence Service on Friday 31 March 1995.
On behalf of the Government I wish to express appreciation for the extensive effort by the Commissioners and their staff which resulted in the Commission's work being completed in a relatively short period of time. Their Report is very detailed and thorough, covering all the terms of reference in a comprehensive manner.
The Government has already over the weekend commenced an intensive review of the Inquiry's findings.
The next steps in the process of the Government's handling of the report will be:
. The individuals whose grievances came to the attention of the Inquiry will be advised of aspects of the report as they affect them personally as soon as can conveniently be arranged.
. Once this step has been completed, hopefully early this week, the Government will release a summary report which the Commission recommends should be made public. This report covers the broad range of issues addressed in the Inquiry's terms of reference.
. The Government will give the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Foreign Minister access to the Report as soon as possible, subject to strict conditions on confidentiality being agreed (of the kind that have been previously sought and observed, e.g. for the Second Hope Royal Commission).
. The Government expects that its full response to the Report, along with those parts of the full report which the Commission has indicated can - subject to further editing - be publicly released, will be provided to Parliament sometime after it resumes in May.
One media report purporting to be based on the findings of the Commission's Report was published on 2 April. I will not at this stage confirm the accuracy or otherwise of matters reported, but the Government would view any breach of the confidentiality of the Inquiry with the utmost concern.
The Government will address all relevant matters in full in its response to the Commission's Report.