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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1324


Mr Snedden - I think the appropriate way for me to raise this matter is by a point of order and if you, Mr Speaker, will allow me to say a few words you can judge. It is very important, I believe, that Hansard accurately reports the words actually used by honourable members. I refer to a speech made by the honourable member for Blaxland last night. It appears at page 1284 of Hansard. In referring to some documents, the honourable member said:

Mr Speaker,can I make a personal explanation? I have had these documents for quite a time and I believe I have used them in other speeches. I was not given it by the Minister for Minerals and Energy;

I am informed by members on my side of the House that the words used were: 'I did not get it from the Minister'.


Mr Keating - Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is a very serious point of order and I want to be listened to very quietly. There would have been no honourable member on that side of the House who would have recorded the accuracy of my words last night. I speak very quickly and it was a very hot debate. The Leader of the Opposition has probably connived to get the green copies of my speech from Hansard, and if he has done that I will have his head because he has no right--


Mr Lynch - A point of order, Mr Speaker--


Mr Keating - You just wait. My point of order is still on.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order involved.


Mr Keating - I am still taking my point of order, Mr Speaker. I will just get to the point. My point of order is this, Mr Speaker: I want you to rule or to advise whether my Hansard greens were released without my authority to the Leader of the Opposition 'by the Hansard office and, if so, who in the Hansard office did so.


Mr Snedden - I do have a copy of the greens of the speech made by the honourable member for Blaxland.


Mr Keating - Where did you get it?


Mr Snedden - I got it from Hansard.


Mr Keating - You had no right to get it from Hansard.


Mr Snedden - It is a well established practice of this House, Mr Speaker, of which I am sure you are aware, that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have access to the greens when they request them. May I finish my point of order?


Mr Keating - On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I raised the issue with you. I do not want a ruling from the Leader of the Opposition; I want it from you. The second matter concerns a personal imputation. The only thing I have ever done with the green copies is to clean up the grammar but not the effect or the meaning of the words. Let the Leader of the Opposition be honest enough and decent enough to say it.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I am quite unaware of what the practice has been in the past except in relation to an alteration to the substance of the words. But I take it from what the Leader of the Opposition has said that both he and the Prime Minister have always had access to copies of the greens. I will go into this matter, have it verified and report back to the House at the earliest possible moment.


Mr Snedden - The point of order I was making is that I ask you, Mr Speaker, to ascertain whether the words in the Hansard report should read T did not get it from the Minister for Minerals and Energy' or T was not given it by the Minister for Minerals and Energy'.


Mr Keating - What a big difference!


Mr Snedden - There is a significant difference!


Mr Keating - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation. I claim to have been misrepresented. Originally the Leader of the Opposition said that he was told by some members of his Party what I said. He was not prepared to admit that he went up there and grabbed hold of the greens. When I pulled him on about it he said he got them from the Hansard office. Since I have been in Parliament, on 4 occasions I have raised the matter of doctored Hansard reports of speeches made by the present Leader of the Opposition and a former Prime Minister. But the point is this: I accept the fact that it is necessary to clean up the grammar in speeches, but is the Leader of the Opposition entitled to do as he did? I want to find out. Let him explain to the House why he said in the first place that he found out from some of his friends, instead of having the guts to say that he sneaked up to the Hansard office.


Mr Snedden - I would like to say that I was told-


Mr Keating - You are a gutless wonder.


Mr Snedden - I was told by people on my side of the House.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! What is wrong with you all? Do you think I am deaf or something? You are going on like a pack of school kids. I ask the honourable member for Blaxland to withdraw that remark.


Mr Keating - I withdraw it, Mr Speaker.


Mr Snedden - I obtained the Hansard greens because I was told by people on my side of the House that the honourable member for Blaxland had said that he did not get it from the Minister for Minerals and Energy. It was therefore important. If he said he did not get it from the Minister for Minerals and Energy-


Mr Keating - On a point of order, Mr Speaker-


Mr Snedden - It was then that I called for the greens.


Mr Keating - Under what standing order is the Leader of the Opposition raising this matter? It was dealt with in a motion moved by the honourable member for Moreton and was disposed of by the House. Mr Speaker, why are you now allowing him to canvass the issue in this debate?


Mr SPEAKER - In regard to the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition, the Chair has always been responsible for alterations to the substance of Hansard. The Principal Parliamentary Reporter and I will listen to the tape. If the substance hasbeen altered we will see that it is reverted to its original form. That has always been the practice of the Chair, irrespective of which honourable member is involved and from which side of the House he comes. I have no alternative but to observe those rules.


Mr Snedden - Just to complete my point of order, my intention was to ask you, Mr Speaker, to do precisely that. It has been the long standing practice. The honourable gentleman has made some statements which he ought not to have made, but that is as it may be. It is also necessary to point out that one of the reasons why the Leader of the Opposition has access to the greens is so that he can reply when a major issue comes up. When we came into this House this morning the printed copies of Hansard were not available. It was necessary for me to have the greens so that I could ask the Minister for Minerals and Energy the question I did which led to the motion moved by the honourable member for Moreton and to whatever further action will be taken by the Opposition.


Mr Keating - Mr Speaker, on the same issue, may I ask that you bring down a report to the House after consultation with officers of the House on the question of the release of Hansard greens to honourable members to be used in the way they have been used by the Leader of the Opposition today?


Mr SPEAKER - I will certainly bring down a report on all that has happened this morning in regard to the presentation of the greens to the Leader of the Opposition and in regard to whether he has the right to receive them. In accordance with past practices, I believe that he has the right. I shall certainly do what has been requested in regard to the other matter, as I have already promised to do. I shall certainly carry out that promise.


Mr Katter - Mr Speaker, may I seek your guidance on one matter? Would the Minister for Defence agree that a casualty clearing station should be established for members of the Government?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I call the honourable member for Wakefield.







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