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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for National Development) - The Minister for the Interior, the Attorney-General and I attended a meeting of the Australian Minerals Council in Adelaide yesterday. Unfortunately no joint communique was issued at the end of the meeting but the AttorneyGeneral and I issued a joint statement after our return to Canberra late last night. Perhaps because of the lateness and the fact that there was no official communique the reports of the meeting have been very garbled and, in some cases, quite misleading. During the meeting copies of the Adelaide 'News' were circulated to members and the newspaper contained an inaccurate report of a statement made by the Prime Minister to the Federal Council of the Liberal Party on Monday last. The Attorney-General and I corrected the Press report at the meeting. I quoted the actual words used by the Prime Minister. I will refer to them now. The Prime Minister, referring to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, said this:

It is hard for me to see why there should be objections to constitutional methods of clarifying the constitutional issue. It is certain that after clarification. Commonwealth and State cooperation in the granting of leases for minerals, and Commonwealth-State agreement for royalties and fees can be patterned1 on that Petroleum Agreement which is so often suggested to be followed.

Apparently the persons reporting this statement did not know the difference between-

Mr Uren - I take a point of order. This is supposed to be the time for questions without notice. But this is clearly a statement by the Minister. There is a procedure for making statements in the House. If there is an agreement between the Government and the Opposition, a statement can be made by the Minister at an appropriate time. This is an abuse of question time.

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