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Monday, 16 November 1964

Senator McKENNA (Tasmania) (Leader of the Opposition) (1:30 AM) . - I want to address myself, I hope very briefly, to the statement that was made by Senator Branson yesterday morning in this place, and to the comments that I then made, I thought that the honorable senator had gone a long way in making his statement. However, there were several points in the statement that I thought needed amplification and some addition. What I had in mind was that the honourable senator should have addressed himself to the fact that no check had been made on the statement that he made on Friday before he brought it to this chamber. The second point was that he should have acknowledged that the information supplied to him was false. On that I pause briefly to note that it was demonstrably so, having regard to the fact that Mr. Ward was never a member of the War Cabinet. I do not want to develop that theme further at this stage.

The withdrawal and apology that the honorable senator made were subject to a qualification. I feel it is proper in the circumstances that these two things - the withdrawal and the apology - should be without qualification of any kind at all. I do not want to develop these themes if Senator Branson will indicate in any way at all to me that he feels disposed to meet these three points. If he did, I would be perfectly happy to sit down and say not one more word on the matter.

Senator Branson - I will be speaking.

Senator McKENNA - In those circumstances I shall resume my seat. I hope that the honorable senator adverts to the points I have mentioned.

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