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Wednesday, 13 October 1971
Page: 2318

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) - Mr Speaker,I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr KLUGMAN - Very much so. I wish to mention 2 of the points that the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) made in his attack. The first point is that the honourable member for the Northern Territory accused me of knowingly making a wrong statement about Mr Shepherd who is the manager of Napperby station. I accept the proposition that he is not the owner of the station but its manager. My reason for referring to him as the owner is that on the top of the message which was handed to me at the time by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), who is now in the chamber, appear the words: 'Originally directed to Minister, Answer to a question from Dr

Klugman re meningitis at Napperby station*. A little further on it states: 'Mr Shepherd, Napperby owner, is local bush fire control officer'.

Mr Calder - You could have found out quite easily.

Dr KLUGMAN -I realise that perhaps ] should not take the word of the Minister for the Interior on this matter-

Mr Bryant - Not a Country Party Minister, anyhow.

Dr KLUGMAN - But he seems a reasonable bloke and certainly much more reasonable than the honourable member for the Northern Territory. At the time I had no reason to doubt his word. I think there must be doubt about who is the owner.

The second point to which I reply is the statement that everything was under control and that my raising the matter had no effect. Today I received a letter from the Minister for the Interior. I will not read it in full because it is rather lengthy. I think it makes the point quite clearly that certain investigations were carried out after I raised the question on 5th October. As a result of the investigations a tanker has been used to bring fresh water from a bore 20 miles away. The letter states:

I have now arranged for a third rig to be transferred immediately to Napperby from Santa Teresa Mission where it is presently working; providing no problems are encountered, investigational work, including water quantity and quality testing, should be completed within 4 weeks.

J have no complaint about the behaviour of the Minister. I think he treated the matter extremely well. He has taken the appropriate steps to correct a condition which is peculiar to the Northern Territory. I am not saying that it is peculiar only to stations managed by prominent Country Party personalities, but it certainly was peculiar to Napperby Station. I am pleased that my raising the matter on 5th October has helped these people to receive some water which they probably would not have received because they have no representation in this House.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member wanted to make a personal explanation. He is now proceeding to debate the matter.

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