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Tuesday, 13 September 1983
Page: 718

Mr DAWKINS (Minister for Finance)(11.00) —It is not my intention to delay the House for that long.

Mr SPEAKER —We are all grateful for that.

Mr DAWKINS —I am sure you are, Mr Speaker. I think you alone would be of that view. It seems to me that it is the duty of Ministers in this House to respond to scurrilous accusations which are made by honourable members on the other side of the House during an adjournment debate, and that I understand is why this provision exists in the sessional orders. I am sure that the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) is in a mood to distort the truth, as he is on any appropriate occasion.

Mr Cadman —That is objectionable. Why does he not stop that sort of thing?

Mr Hodgman —You are an unpleasant little person.

Mr DAWKINS —I think both honourable members who interjected are experts in distortion--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the Minister to ignore the interjections and to deal with the matter he wishes to deal with.

Mr DAWKINS —And I am sure that they would have disputed my view. The honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Coleman) in his contribution tonight made reference to some reported comments of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs (Senator Ryan) and he ascribed to the Minister in his remarks certain views which she palpably does not hold. When she was asked some time ago, in 1981, to review a book by Shirley Williams entitled Politics is for People she provided to the Sydney Morning Herald a review which was duly printed on 10 October. Regretfully the report of her review was inaccurate and I will in due course table the proper and undistorted version of her critique or review of the book.

The honourable member for Wentworth purported that certain opinions, which were in fact the opinions of Shirley Williams, were the views of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. The Minister made it perfectly clear in the review that she provided to the Sydney Morning Herald that there should be quotation marks around a sentence which in the newspaper turned out not to be in quotation marks and which, therefore, was reported as her view rather than the view of the author, Shirley Williams. The words in contest are these:

It is with reluctance that I for one conclude that the freedom to send one's children to an independent school is bought at too high a price for the rest of society.

Apparently that view appeared on page 158 of Shirley Williams's book. Senator Ryan quoted that reference in her review, but unfortunately the way in which it was translated or reported in the newspaper had it as Senator Ryan's view rather than Shirley Williams's view. The honourable member for Wentworth went to some length to say that it was not just a question of quotation marks being left out but that certain words were added. Of course, in the full text of the review provided by Senator Ryan those additional words did not appear. Therefore, for the benefit of the House, for the benefit of the people of Australia and, more particularly, for the benefit of the honourable member for Wentworth I seek leave to table the full text of the review provided to the Sydney Morning Herald by Senator Ryan at that time.

Mr SPEAKER —Is leave granted?

Mr Ruddock —I have not seen the document, Mr Speaker, and there is a usual courtesy--

Mr DAWKINS —There you are; you have a look at it and you study it overnight. The honourable member for Dundas can look at it.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Minister's time has expired. If no other Minister rises, the Minister may continue.