The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will comment on the latest revelations aired on ABC TV last night surrounding the allegations of bribery of former Tasmanian Deputy Premier Kevin Lyons in 1972.

He will be joined by author and historian Dr James Boyce.

“There’s already a stench surrounding the resignation of Kevin Lyons in 1972. The fact that Mr Lyons resigned unexpectedly, bringing down the Bethune Liberal Government and causing the re-election of a Reece Labor Government, which materially benefited Federal Hotels who finally secured a monopoly casino licence, is an unusual and questionable series of events.

“And now we hear on 7:30 last night that a man who was a bookmaker at the time alleges that he was asked by gambling interests to deliver a locked briefcase to an address in Sandy Bay, two days before Mr Lyons resigned and brought down the Government.

“This is further evidence that these matters need to be fully investigated. I wrote to the Police Commissioner in March last year asking him to reopen the flawed 1973 investigation and as recently as last month the Acting Commissioner told me that the matter is still under review.

“But given the time that has elapsed and the major problems with the original investigation, and given the damning new revelations aired on 7:30 last night, the Commissioner must now order a fresh investigation. It beggars belief that in 1973 the police thought it unremarkable that Lyons had been paid a $25,000 advance by British Tobacco for a book that was never published, and was awarded a lucrative contract with Federal Hotels after leaving Parliament.

“More broadly this matter goes to governance in the State and really warrants a Royal Commission or Commission of Inquiry, which would have the power to compel witnesses to testify.

“The Kevin Lyons matter is as relevant to Tasmania today as it was back then. There is a prima facie case that serious crimes were committed in 1972 which resulted in Federal Hotels being awarded the monopoly casino licence which it enjoys to this very day. The allegations must be thoroughly investigated so that the surviving players can either clear their name or be brought to account.

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