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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2808

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General) —Mr President, I claim to have been misrepresented in a number of ways, but there is only one with which I will occupy the time of the Senate at the moment. I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Leave granted.

Senator GARETH EVANS —My complaint relates to the front page story in the Australian this morning entitled 'Evans out to cut vice-regal power'. Would that I could but I made no such suggestion over the weekend in any speech that I made in announcing the Government's referendum proposals. I did say, along the way, that there are a number of vexed and difficult constitutional questions that remain to be resolved, including the question of the Senate's power and the position of the Governor-General, but that these are not matters that are presently proposed for referendum and need to be the subject of a lot more consultation and discussion, for example, in the context possibly of a longer term Green Paper which I will put out next year. I make that clear for anyone else who might be minded to engage in a vulgar beat-up of the kind that is engaged in here.

There is one other mistake that does cut me to the quick in the same article and it reads as follows:

Referring to constitutional reforms, Senator Evans said: ''Although it might be technical, boring and of marginal significance, it is fundamental to a freer, more rational and harmonious environment for all Australians.''

Mr President, I did not say that constitutional reform might be 'technical, boring and of marginal significance'; I said 'it might appear technical, boring and of marginal significance' and it will be appreciated how much of a misrepresentation I assert that to be.