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Caucus meeting



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TREASURER

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EMBARGO

STATEMENT BY THE TREASURER, THE HON P.J. KEATING, MP

CAUCUS MEETING

At the Caucus meeting convened this morning by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister invited me to move that his position be declared vacant.

I reminded the Prime Minister that when he contested the ballot against his predecessor Bill Hayden in 1982, that Mr Hayden had the courage to resign his position and recontest it in a secret ballot.

I asked the Prime Minister to also adopt the same procedure.

I indicated that a motion to declare the leader's position vacant required a show of hands - where names would be taken and where some members endorsements would be threatened in some States.

I indicated that such a vote would not allow a true reflection of Caucus sentiment - and that such reflection could only be had in a secret ballot.

I said that a show of hands was a device and a subterfuge to avoid the taking of an accurate Caucus view.

The Prime Minister rejected this course of action.

It was then suggested that the Prime Minister had facilitated a meeting which I as challenger should exercise.

I declined to do so, indictating that the timing of the meeting was not of my choosing and that I had not even had the opportunity of speaking to every member of Caucus.

I said I was happy to take up the Prime Minister's challenge at the next scheduled Caucus meeting - though at that meeting I will suggest again that the Prime Minister should offer his position to

CANBERRA 31 May 1991

a secret ballot.

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