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Tuesday, 20 September 1983
Page: 972

Mr SINCLAIR —I ask the Prime Minister why he deliberately misled the House in commenting about the--

Mr SPEAKER —I think the right honourable member knows that questions of deliberately misleading the House are matters for substantive motion. I suggest that he reword his question.

Mr SINCLAIR —I ask the Prime Minister why, in commenting about the comments he had made about the evidence given by Mr David Combe before the Royal Commission on Australia's Intelligence and Security Agencies, he said-and I quote page 891 of Hansard of 15 September 1983:

What I have said in the House about the accuracy of the evidence of the person in question is what I said on oath in the box, which is now a matter of public record.

The Prime Minister will recall that he presented his evidence to the Royal Commission before Mr David Combe gave evidence. In those circumstances, how could he possibly have been responding to that evidence in his explanation in this place?

Mr HAWKE —The Deputy Leader of the National Party of Australia has made the grave mistake, not of reading, but of taking seriously, everything written by a particular correspondent in the Age newspaper. He is always worth reading but he is not always accurate. The simple facts are these:

Mr Sinclair —Hansard is not accurate?

Mr HAWKE —If the right honourable member wants to hear the answer, he should be quiet. The answer I gave in this House, as always, was 100 per cent accurate. At the stage when I gave evidence to the Royal Commission the statement of Mr Combe was already before the Commission. It was in regard to that statement of Mr Combe that was already before the Commission that I gave evidence. I was subject to examination and cross-examination. The evidence that I gave, that the statement of Mr Combe which was already before the Commission contained inaccuracies, was sustained and accepted as a result of my evidence under examination and cross-examination.