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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2738

Mr SPEAKER - Following references in the Press to the withdrawal of a Press Gallery pass issued to Mr B. Everingham, I inform the House that Mr President and I have decided that Mr B. Everingham, the representative of radio station 2SM, will not be issued with a Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery pass for 1973. This decision arises from an incident in November last when Mr Everingham was found to be in the suite of rooms at Parliament House of the then Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives without authority and when no members of the staff were present. The matter was investigated by the Commonwealth Police with the authority of the then Speaker - not, as stated in a Press report of yesterday, at the instigation of Sir Magnus Cormack and the then Speaker. Following Police inquiries, Mr Everingham'a Commonwealth Police pass was withdrawn.

Mr Presidentand I have carefully studied the police report and have interviewed Mr Everingham, who subsequently made written representations to us. Mr President and I regard Mr Everingham's explanations as unsatisfactory and his action in entering an unoccupied office without permission is, we consider, unacceptable conduct for a Press representative in Parliament House. Accordingly, we have directed that Mr Everingham's Press Gallery pass should not be renewed for 1973. As a result, Mr Everingham will not be entitled to any of the privileges associated with the Press Gallery, and these include accommodation and a seat in the Press galleries of the chambers. However withdrawal of Mr Everingham's privileges will not prevent his employers, the broadcasting station 2SM, from being represented in the Gallery.

I further inform the House that Mr President and I have received letters, dated 25 May 1973, from Mr Everingham and from the Secretary of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, concerning procedures in determining this matter. In replying to these letters, we have affirmed our belief that the Police investigation and our own inquiries, including consideration of Mr Everingham's written representations, warrant the action we have taken.

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