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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 822

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister) I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the Prime Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WHITLAM -Yes. After question time yesterday the Leader of the Opposition made a personal explanation on the ground that I had misrepresented him. He took 3 columns of Hansard to make his personal explanation. He directed attention to 2 sentences of mine the previous day. The first of the passages of mine to which he objected is:

The Leader of the Opposition says that he would destroy the Prices Justification Tribunal, Medibank, the national compensation scheme and the national superannuation scheme.

The other passage is:

We have this extraordinary situation that in the Senate at the moment the National Compensation Bill is being considered by a committee composed of equal numbers from both sides of the Senate. Now the Leader of the Opposition completely destroys its deliberations.

Mr Speaker,the Leader of the Opposition said in relation to those passages:

It is the deliberate policy of the Prime Minister to take words and misuse them. It is time that the Prime Minister spoke correctly and did not misrepresent the position.

My comments derived from 2 passages reported by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. On Monday morning, I think it was on the news, the right honourable gentleman's own voice was broadcast using these words:

Almost everything the Labor Party has done we'll undo.

Who said 'hear, hear'?

Mr Snedden - Have a look around you.

Mr WHITLAM -Who said 'hear, hear'?

Mr Snedden - Everybody.

Mr WHITLAM - I wanted to see who the supporter was. Nobody is prepared to say he supported the Leader of the Opposition. Mr Speaker, on Monday night the right honourable gentleman addressed a public meeting in Melbourne. The ABC reported him in these terms:

The Federal Leader of the Opposition said he would pull down the proposed Medibank scheme.

Mr Peacock - Hear, hear.

Mr WHITLAM -Ah, the honourable member for Kooyong. The Leader of the Opposition is gathering support. He was saved last time with the lobbying of the honourable member for Kooyong, but that honourable gentleman has changed his mind for next time. The report continued:

He said his Party would have nothing to do with the national compensation and superannuation scheme. The Prices Justification Tribunal would be abolished . . .

Mr Speaker,speaking at the first question time after those ABC reports I used practically the precise words in those reports. I believe in those circumstances the Leader of the Opposition was not entitled to use about me the terms that he did.

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