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Wednesday, 17 November 1976


Mr MALCOLM FRASER (WANNON, VICTORIA) (Prime Minister) - This Government is not in the habit of acting upon a published report. It takes its own decision about whether it wants to act in certain matters. I will quote what the honourable gentleman said because, although it may seem strange, I have not read this article at this point. To use the honourable gentleman's terms, if the article quoted me as being deeply dissatisfied with some aspects of the Defence Department's administration, that would be completely and utterly false. I have great respect for both the Minister for Defence and the head of that Department. Sir Arthur Tange is one of the most distinguished public servants that this country has ever produced. He is a man of great dedication, of immense integrity and great intellectual capacity. He is the kind of public servant of whom any country could be overwhelmingly proud.


Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Any government.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Yes, any government. I am sure the honourable gentleman knows that Sir Arthur Tange served the honourable gentleman's Government with complete and absolute loyalty. Let me make that quite plain. It would have been very unfair to the administration of the Department of Defence had I not done so. I am aware that some documents have appeared in the Press or that some parts of some documents have appeared in some newspapers over a period of time. To the best of my recollection, they are documents which were not issued to this Government but which were written and prepared before November 1975.

The words in the documents appearing at different times in the media have been checked against the actual documents so that the dates and the documents can clearly be put side by side. To the best of my recollection, there has been no quotation from documents produced during the period of this Government. Honourable gentlemen may have to read an interpretation into that.







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