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Tuesday, 16 November 1976

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman (DEAKIN, VICTORIA) -Ii leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr NEWMAN - In answering a question from the honourable member for Evans (Mr Abel) this afternoon I indicated that only one advance copy of a statement I made in the House last Thursday entitled 'Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry- First Report- Statement by the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development' left my office. Unintentionally in making that reply I was inaccurate. In fact, the position is this: At approximately 3.40 p.m. on 1 1 November 5 copies of the statement were passed to the office of the Leader of the House (Mr Sinclair), in accordance with the normal practice. I understand that of these copies one was retained in the Leader's office, 3 copies were passed to the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) in the chamber and one was dispatched to the office of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam). At approximately 4.15 p.m. reporters came to my office asking for copies of the statement. When asked why they were asking for copies of the statement they indicated to my staff that copies of the statement were circulating amongst the Press Gallery. I am advised that at approximately 4.30 p.m. demonstrators who were outside the House on that day were noted to have at least one copy of the statement. At approximately 5.10 p.m. 5 copies were passed to the office of the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick), who represents me in the other place. I understand that they were passed on to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Withers).

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - When was that?

Mr NEWMAN -At 5.10 p.m. I am advised that those copies were not distributed to the Opposition in the other place until this morning. Further, at approximatley 5.20 p.m. one copy was forwarded to each member of the Cabinet and one copy was forwarded to the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Ellicott). I made my statement on that day at approximately 5.40 p.m. No copies embargoed or otherwise, were handed to the Press or to any persons other than those I have just listed. I would like to add that I can make no implication, nor do I intend to do so, as to how demonstrators outside the House or the Press came to be in possession of the copies that I have explained.

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