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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1013

Mr ADERMANN —Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to correct a personal misrepresentation.

Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member, having claimed to have been misrepresented, may proceed.

Mr ADERMANN —I refer to an article in the Australian this morning on page 7, entitled 'How a former minister put his foot right in it'. I believe that the Minister for Science and Technology (Mr Barry Jones) and the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) might also see some misrepresentation in this article. It alleges that I was trapped unawares by the Minister yesterday when I asked a question about the bionic ear. Indeed, it was the journalist who put his foot in it. Journalists sometimes do that, Mr Speaker. I was misrepresented on four counts. The first is that I am old fashioned enough to believe that Question Time is a time when specific answers to questions might be obtained. Secondly, I have been misrepresented because, as this House will know, since 1972, no matter what government has been in power, I have consistently fought the case for the deaf, whether the government was discomfited or not. Thirdly, I knew that the Minister had in his possession a model of the bionic ear. I had seen it and I wanted the House to see it. I knew that no politics would be involved in the matter because this development has gone on over a number of governments and a number of Ministers.

I was misrepresented, fourthly, because the information was valuable to me in that I have a son who is scheduled to have this operation. I wanted to know, and thousands of deaf people wanted to know, whether surgery had been commenced again, as it had been discontinued, and also whether Melbourne is the only centre in which it is being performed. The Minister knew this because I asked him to inquire. He had to make inquiries to give a specific answer to a specific question. He gave me the answer, something which he could not have done off the cuff. It was good news to many unfortunate deaf people. So, far from putting my foot in it, I knew what I was doing. I thank the Minister for his answer. We got the answer we sought. I believe it was a service to the long-neglected deaf who have had little consideration from a number of governments over the years.