This series consists of transcripts of interviews conducted by investigative staff of the Royal Commission into the Tricontinental Group of Companies. The interviews were not part of the formal hearings of the Royal Commission, but were conducted as part of the investigative process. The interviews were originally recorded onto audio cassettes and subsequently transcribed.
The transcripts were transcribed by the Victorian Government Reporting Service which had been contracted on a commercial basis by the Commission. Transcripts for each hearing day were produced as separate documents. The first page of each day's transcripts identifies the hearing day number, date and the people present. Pages are numbered sequentially from page 1 of the first day to page 2833 on day 36.
Information obtained from individuals may have, subsequently, been used as the basis for examination of the same, or other, individuals in the formal Commission hearings. The information may also have clarified information contained in documents obtained by the Commission (see VPRS 8387) or led investigators to other sources of information.
The Procedural Guidelines (section 7.1, page 3) and Investigators Handbook (chapter 4) in VPRS 8379 provide details of requirements that were to be observed by investigators when interviewing persons. Interviews were able to be conducted by authority under either the Victorian Evidence Act 1958, or Australian Securities Commission law.
It is not clear by which authority the persons, whose transcripts of interview are in the P1 consignment of this series, were interviewed. Both Evidence Act and Australian Securities Commission (ASC) powers included provisions for interviews to be conducted and recorded. The Guidelines, however, indicate that when interviews were conducted under Evidence Act powers, transcripts of recordings were not always made; recordings were not made if the interviewee objected, and certain warnings to interviewees were to be given prior to an interview being conducted, as part of the preamble to an interview.
Gaps in the sequence
The transcripts in the P1 consignment appear to conform to these guidelines. There are a number of gaps in the sequence of transcripts in the P1 consignment and it is not known whether transcripts were created, or interviews conducted, after day 36. The lack of agreement by persons for interviews to be recorded, and the discretionary power of the Director of Investigations to determine whether recordings made would be transcribed, may explain the gaps existing in the consignment. An alternative explanation for the gaps is that the missing transcripts may have related specifically to interviews conducted by staff as ASC delegates. Records of such interviews were considered to be records created by ASC and therefore were not public records of the State of Victoria. It is assumed that such records, if they were created, are in the custody of the ASC.
Records in the P1 consignment were transferred to the Public Record Office by VA 2659 Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The Registrar of AAT had previously been seconded to act as Secretary to the Royal Commission. When the Royal Commission was wound up the records were held at AAT until access arrangements were clarified and finalised.