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Iconic Australian-owned retail group. Unfortunately, the letter of 6 September has not been produced to the Commission despite the service on all relevant parties of a subpoena to produce all such correspondence. Mr Burke and Mr Dempster said they had no recollection of the letter. Its contents could have been of critical importance in revealing the true relationship between Mr Dempster and the Premier. Mr Dempster said in evidence that he had a general discussion about it with Tileska at that time.
Notwithstanding the Committee's charter, two of the four members of the Committee recommended against the establishment of any casino. In reaching that conclusion, they were supported by 58 from organisations, from individuals of the total of responses received to the advertisement. Nineteen proposals to build or operate a casino in the metropolitan area had been received, some of them very detailed and, in the view of the Committee, worthy of further consideration by any authority established to license casino operations.
Yet he did not provide a copy to the Advisory Committee which, for all Mr Dempster then knew, was still handling the matter. The letter concluded with the hope that, should the proposal be accepted, the legislative procedure would be accelerated so that work could get underway at the earliest possible date.
It was then passed to Mr Bill Thomas to prepare a recommendation to go, eventually, to the Cabinet Casino Sub-committee. Mr Thomas was then a ministerial officer in the office of Mr Parker. He was elected to Parliament in and at the time of giving evidence in June he was a member of the Legislative Assembly and was Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet. Mr Thomas discussed with a number of people the form of the casino legislation and compared the various expressions of interest.
By Christmas , he had reached the view that the proposal by Tileska Pty Ltd "Tileska" was the most desirable. He communicated that view to Mr Parker and Mr Parker concurred. Shortly afterwards, when Mr Parker was moved to a different portfolio, the Premier, Mr Burke, arranged for Mr Thomas to continue to work on the matter.
Thomas' work found fulfilment in a draft Cabinet minute dated 30 March prepared for signature by the Premier and Minister for Tourism. Both these portfolios were held by Mr Burke.
The minute then examined the possible river-front sites which were suggested in submissions and recommended Burswood Island as "by far the most preferable".
Attention was then directed to the only two submissions which proposed Burswood as a possible site. Each of these applicants was then invited to make a presentation to the Cabinet Sub-committee on 3 July He compiled a supplementary questionnaire to be answered by the applicants and delivered it to the CCC on 27 September However, within a day or two thereafter, he was asked by Mr M Cocker, the Secretary of the CCC, if he could have his report completed and available for consideration by the CCC at a meeting scheduled for 8 days later.
Mr Ayton replied that it was absolutely impossible for him to complete his investigation so quickly and mentioned a minimum period of three months. However, he undertook to provide an interim report detailing matters which he considered to warrant further investigation. This was completed on 11 October and handed to the Commissioner of Police. The report disclosed several matters which, if established by further investigation to be true, would render both applicants unsuitable to hold a casino licence.
Each of the members was armed with a copy of the interim report. They were obviously upset by its contents. The Commissioner advised against such action. Mr Jarman then asked the Commissioner to concentrate on the investigations into the suitability of Genting Berhad and Mr Dempster and leave the Swan River Park investigation to one side.
The Commissioner expressed his concern over the Committee's desire for haste. According to Mr Porter, Mr Dans rang him later that day and asked him to attend the office of the Premier. Mr Dans was present. The Premier had a copy of Mr Ayton's interim report. He conveyed to Mr Porter his displeasure at certain of the contents. Mr Dans was also annoyed by the report. It was resolved that the inquiry should continue and that Mr Dans should accompany Mr Ayton to Malaysia to further the investigation.
They left Perth on 27 October , returning a few days later. For his part, Mr Burke said the meeting was sought by Mr Porter who contacted him by telephone.
Mr Porter's version of the incident might be thought to be implicitly supported by Mr Ayton, who accompanied Mr Porter after being told by him that "he and I were required in the office of the Premier". On 19 November Cabinet adopted the recommendation. The report outlines the principal reasons for the recommendation.
No criticism can be levelled at the reasoning disclosed in the report except that although the Committee put on record its thanks to the Commissioner of Police it failed to mention that a police clearance was not able to be obtained in the time available. The first paragraph stated that Mr Dempster was under investigation for alleged misuse of shareholders' funds in one of his public companies. A complaint was made to the Department.
Without any investigation, a conference was held with persons representing Mr Dempster, including his legal representatives. Their explanations were accepted and a news release issued by the Commissioner in terms, presumably supplied by the alleged offenders themselves, emphatically absolving them of any offence.
Then, notwithstanding that absolution and the additional consideration that the alleged offences were already more than four years old and therefore subject to the three-year rule, an investigation was undertaken involving two senior officers of the Department.
Added to this, the Commission's efforts to discover a rational explanation of events were rendered fruitless by an almost total lack of memory on the part of the Commissioner.
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