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Thursday, 4 December 1986
Page: 3443

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(11.39) —The Government will not agree to Senator Chaney's motion. As Senator Chaney has admitted, there was an opportunity during the debate to ask for the documents to be tabled. That opportunity was not taken. It is simply not good enough for Senator Chaney to say now that, because he accidentally, as it were, saw the documents, he wants a retrospective effect to have the documents tabled. Senator Giles has explained clearly that her purpose, and Senator Zakharov's purpose, in raising this matter tonight was to give a different point of view on a subject that has had a great deal of coverage in this place and in the media. They wished to give the opportunity to people who had a completely different version of events to have their version put on record. I suppose that none of us can do anything other than to make an impressionistic judgment as to which version is right and which version is wrong. Those honourable senators had very good reasons for not wishing the documents to be tabled; namely, wishing to protect the privacy of those who have signed their names to them. We are not in a court of law. The matters of allegations and so forth that Senator Chaney has raised are not relevant. Senator Zakharov and Senator Giles are entitled to put before the Senate a different account of some very controversial and public events. Opposition senators did not take the opportunity that was available to them to seek those documents and, from our point of view, it is too late now.