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Friday, 15 May 1970

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr SWARTZ - Yes, Mr Speaker. I would just like to clear up a point made by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). During his comments he made a statement which would indicate that I had given an impression to the House that I had not received all the necessary information from officers of my Department. This is entirely incorrect, Mr Speaker. The officers of my Department who attended the meetings concerned did at all times carry out their duties and provided the information that was required both to my predecessor, to the best of my knowledge, and, certainly as far as I was concerned, they provided the information that I required. The statement that the honourable member quoted from Hansard was taken out of context. It was following on a series of statements that I was making in explanation at that time. I point out that my statement was being made without any previous preparation and without reference to other documents at the time. It was a recountaI, to the best of my recollection, of the incidents as they occurred.

The honourable member for Dawson raised the question about whether or not I was in possession of full detailed information until after the Cabinet meeting. The reference I made is quite correct. I did indicate that it was not until after I had been meeting some of the State Mines Ministers that I became aware of their strong feelings on this matter. I took advantage of the opportunity at that time to study the minutes of both meetings - the meeting in March as well as the meeting in September - in addition to the extracts which I had previously used for briefing material when the matter had been discussed in Cabinet.

The other reference I made, as far as the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) was concerned, was also entirely correct, because I had not seen or spoken to the honourable member at all until I met him at a Party meeting well after the Cabinet meeting, when I became aware from what he said then, of his very firm feelings in relation to this matter. I repeat again that what was quoted today was perhaps taken mistakenly out of context. But the statements I made were entirely correct at the time.

Mr Fairbairn - Mr Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member desire to make a personal explanation?

Mr Fairbairn - No.

Mr SPEAKER - The immediate question is that the words proposed to be added be so added.

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