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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1887


Senator RAE (Tasmania) - I thought it might be fair if I summed up on behalf of the Opposition. I thought it might be relevant if I drew attention to the fact that an election is to take place in New South Wales, strangely enough, within a couple of days.


Senator O'Byrne - Senator Wrightis leaving the sinking ship.


Senator RAE - Mr President,may I address you and the chamber?


The PRESIDENT - Yes.


Senator RAE - I thought it might be of interest to point that out until the Minister for the Media, Senator McClelland, made clear what this exercise has been all about. He made it quite clear that it is related to an attempt on behalf of the Labor Party to achieve a change of government in New South Wales. I am reminded of the fact that the last time similar tactics were engaged in in this chamber was immediately prior to the State election in Queensland.


Senator Poke - You did the same in Tasmania.


Senator RAE - Senator Pokewants me to refer to Tasmania. Strangely enough, in this chamber tonight so far I have not referred to Tasmania. I remind honourable senators that an inquiry is being conducted in that State, but it is being conducted in the way in which one would expect it to be conducted- that is, by State authorities. If some matter involving allegations related to the government of a State arises, the proper place for the inquiry to take place is in that State. No doubt Senator Poke has a very close interest in the outcome of the inquiry which is being conducted in Tasmania as has one of his other colleagues from this House of the Parliament -


Senator Poke - Mr President,I raise a point of order.


The PRESIDENT - Order! What is the point of order?


Senator Poke - There is an insinuation by Senator Rae that I have been associated with something in Tasmania which is supposed to be illegal. I want to make a clear and concise statement to this Senate, and I want an apology.


The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Poke, I want to hear your point of order. There is no substance in your point of order. You can make a personal explanation when Senator Rae has resumed his seat.


Senator Keeffe - Mr President,I am taking a point of order.


The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Keeffe, what is the point of order?


Senator Keeffe - A statement made by a senator from the Opposition is offensive to me and my colleagues on this side of the chamber. I request a withdrawal of the insinuations and an apology.


The PRESIDENT - Order! I have been listening with great care to Senator Rae. He had not even completed his sentence when Senator Poke rose to his feet. If Senator Rae was making imputations against Senator Poke I am sure he will withdraw them. But I thought that there was no suggestion of any imputations of wrong doing and I would be grateful, Senator Rae, if you would clear the matter up.


Senator RAE -Thank you, Mr President. I go on, if I may, to say this: I have not the slightest doubt that Senator Poke, having occupied an office in a Party which was involved in allegations which are being investigated, would be anxious to have the matter clarified in the spirit in which some of the members of his Party have professed to be anxious to see the matters alleged to have taken place in New South Wales clarified. I find it hard to believe that Senator Poke should take exception to that unless he wishes us to believe that he is not anxious to have matters such as that cleared up. I simply point to the fact that the 2 occasions on which this Senate has been treated as it has this evening have been in the few days before an election in a State. One was in relation to an election in Queensland and now it is an election in relation to New South Wales. I think that if that fact is reported the basis upon which this matter has been debated tonight may be judged by all fair readers.







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