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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr Curtin - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Curtin - Yes. When the Minister for Trade referred to the telegram that he had received-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will be out of order if he discusses that.

Mr CURTIN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not propose to discuss it. The Minister said that I had made the charge that the Public Service was corrupt. I made no such charge, because I believe that the Public Service is a very fine and efficient body of men. I said - and it is my firm belief - that the Government is corrupt.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member must withdraw that remark.

Mr Curtin - I was not required to withdraw it before. I made a similar remark earlier.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I warn the honorable member that if he does not withdraw the remark I will deal with him.

Mr Curtin - I withdraw the word " corrupt ".

Mr McEwen - I rise to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith has just said that I alleged that he had stated that the Public Service was corrupt. I made no such statement. Indeed, I was not conscious that the honorable member was present. What I did say was that a Labour member of the Parliament had alleged that the staff of the Central Import Licensing Branch of the Department of Trade was a hot-bed of corruption. I take the greatest exception to that allegation by a Labour member against a very honorable section of the Public Service.

Mr Ward - I rise to order. I submit that, in making a personal explanation, the Minister must confine himself to stating how he had been misrepresented, and that he is not entitled to make a further speech on the subject that has been under discussion.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The Minister for Trade may deal with the matter on which he was misrepresented. He may not argue the case for import licensing.

Mr McEwen - I have finished, Mr. Speaker.

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