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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 3185

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Prime Minister: Under what terms and conditions is Mr Mick Young employed on his staff? What is his salary? Is it true that he is intended to act as a communicator between the Prime Minister and the Australian Labor Party? Does the Prime Minister see any wrong in using a man paid by Commonwealth funds for resolving problems within his own Party? Does the Prime Minister see any paradox between his declaring that he will act as a bridge between China and the outside world and his apparent inability to communicate with his own back bench?

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I do not know what Mr Young's salary is. If the honourable gentleman wishes, he can put a question on the notice paper about that matter. Mr Young is just as much entitled to have an appointment on my staff as are members of any of the Opposition parties to have positions on the staffs of those members of the Opposition parties who are entitled to have more than the usual member's staff. Mr Young is, of course, a member of the Labor Party. I am proud that he is. By the same token, a great number of the members of the staffs of Opposition leaders are members of the parties which they lead. It is not so long ago that there was on the staff of a leader of a political party which is not overtly represented in this House a man who was the federal secretary of that party; that is, a member of a party leader's staff was doing something for the party outside the Parliament. Mr Young is not so acting. Mr Young obviously will help me in the job that I have to do - not, of course, in this Parliament. There are around the country a very great number of people who want to get in touch with me as Prime Minister or as Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Federal Parliament and it will help me to have Mr Young having many of the interviews with them. It is just not physically possible for any Prime Minister to have a fraction of the interviews that people want with him. Mr Young, of course, is not doing anything with my colleagues in the Parliament. I am glad to have had the opportunity to repudiate this gratuitous suggestion.

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