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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4193


Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) - I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER - How does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I was misrepresented by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) concerning a debate which took place last week. The misrepresentation took place this morning. Last week, after a decision of the joint executive of the Opposition, the Opposition had taken certain action in this House because it was the only way technically that the Opposition could make its point. The Prime Minister tried to suggest that, because the message had not come in, I think, until after the second reading, the Opposition could have moved appropriate amendments.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Where does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented? I will not allow this to develop into a full scale debate. Where does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented? He should put his case clearly.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I was handling the matter for the Opposition. The Standing Orders would not have allowed the Opposition to move the appropriate amendments. The suggestion that that would have been allowed is not correct.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! That decision could have been made in Committee. It could have been challenged in Committee. I was not in charge of the chamber at the time. The honourable gentleman will be aware of that.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - There is another matter on which I was misrepresented. The Leader of the Government tried to say that what was done would put an additional obligation of $114m on the Government. It was pointed out that there could be an obligation under-


Mr Whitlam - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -The Prime Minister is taking a point of order. The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.


Mr Whitlam - The honourable gentleman was not misrepresented by me on this matter in any way other than that it could be said that any honourable member who voted in the Opposition a week ago was misrepresented. I did not in any way state or imply that the honourable member for Wannon had acted improperly and so on in the debate in the Committee stage on clause 66. I did not reflect on him in any way. When the Leader of the Opposition in one of his personal explanations volunteered the procedure under the Standing Orders, I then pointed out that all he was establishing was that the point could have been taken that the Governor-General's message was already there and it would therefore not be open to delete the clause. There has been no misrepresentation of the honourable member for Wannon at all. Let me come back to the situation that, in my answer to the question by the honourable member for Kingston, there was no reference at all to this question of the Standing Orders or the Governor-General's message. The honourable member for Wannon has not been misrepresented in this respect at all.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Mr SpeakerMrSPEAKER-Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Yes, I do.


Mr SPEAKER -I ask the honourable member not to introduce new matter but just to tell the House where he has been misrepresented.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I will, but the continuing interruptions of the Leader of the Opposition make it difficult.


Mr Whitlam - Hear, Hear! I agree entirely.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Shortly to be the Leader of the Opposition again.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon does not assist anything by offering such opinions as that. I ask the honourable member to come to the point of his misrepresentation.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I made it quite clear that the Opposition was not imposing an obligation of SI 14m on the Government when I said that if the Government believed that, arising out of these 2 Acts there was a situation to which it wanted to propose some alternative, I had no doubt that the Opposition would listen to it and would be happy to negotiate. The only other point on which the Prime Minister misrepresented me was when he wrongly tried to suggest that statements that he had made a commitment were false or untrue. The Minister representing the Minister for Education said in his second reading speech: 'The interim committee


Mr SPEAKER


Mr MALCOLM FRASER -'. . . of course, was within-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon will not flout the rulings of the Chair. I am only concerned about the question asked by the honourable member for Kingston and the answer given this morning. I call the Minister for Defence.


Mr WHITLAM - I ask for leave to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WHITLAM(Werriwa- Prime Minister) -Yes. In the personal explanation that the honourable member for Wannon has made he has misrepresented me, and I therefore want to establish that he was urging that clause 66 repealing last year's Act in respect of the next four calendar years should be repealed. He stated in his second reading speech on the Bill-


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, on a point of order, the Prime Minister has said that I was misrepresenting him, but he has failed to show where I was misrepresenting him and is now proceeding to read Hansard. I suggest that those parts of Hansard which I read indicate quite clearly that the misrepresentation was in the Prime Minister's court.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think the Prime Minister was pointing out where he did not misrepresent the honourable member for Wannon.


Mr WHITLAM - Mr Speaker,I quote 2 passages from the speech of the honourable member for Wannon which do establish that the Opposition was opposing the repeal of the legislation, which appropriates SI 14m or more in the next year, In his second reading speech, the honourable member said:

The Opposition parties will be opposing the repeal of that earlier legislation.

In Committee, on clause 66, which repealed last year's Act, he said:

The Government cannot assume that legislation on the statute books will be repealed, especially as it does not have a majority at its command in another place.


Mr SPEAKER -I call the Minister for Defence. (Honourable members interjecting) -


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have called the Minister for Defence. I am not going to allow this to continue. The first explanation came from the Opposition side and honourable members are now making a farce of proceedings. I have called the Minister for Defence.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - I seek leave to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I will not allow this to keep going on for the rest of the day.


Mr Nixon - You will not allow the House to debate the issue. What sort of place is it?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Gippsland will withdraw that statement, unreservedly.


Mr Nixon - Mr Speaker, I am unable to withdraw it. The point stands. Earlier in the debate-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable member for Gippsland whether he will withdraw that.


Mr Nixon - If it is a reflection on the Chair I will withdraw it, but it-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There will be no reservation.


Mr Snedden - Quite clearly, Mr Speaker, the statement could only be a reflection on the Government, not on you. I regret that you took it that way.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I call the Minister for Defence.


Mr Snedden - I ask for leave to make a statement.


Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted?

Government supporters - No.


Mr SPEAKER - Leave is not granted.


Mr Wentworth - I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I call the Minister for Defence.


Mr Barnard - I ask for leave to make a statement on the re-organisation of the Defence group of departments.


Mr Giles - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -I have called the Minister for Defence.


Mr Giles - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have not given the honourable member for Angas the call. He will resume his seat. I call the Minister for Defence







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