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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 656


Leave is granted.

Senator GREENWOOD - I was said by Senator James McClelland to have applauded the murder of tens of thousands of people in Vietnam. I should have thought that I might have been entitled to the protection of the Senate from a statement of that character which is untrue, which is malicious and which is quite unnecessary because it is not the truth.

Senator Murphy - Mr Chairman-

Senator GREENWOOD - All right, if you want to deny me, go ahead.

Senator Murphy - I rise to a point of order. The honourable senator is en'itled to explain himself and to say that he has been misrepresented but the occasion should not be used for turning back the attack upon somebody else. When an honourable sena or invokes the provisions of that standing order he is given leave of the Senate in order to clear himself, not to indulge in an attack upon another senator.

The CHAIRMAN - There is no point of order.

Senator GREENWOOD - I have sat here and I have never once interrupted the speech of any honourable senator in order to object to what he has said about me. I have chosen to use the right which this standing order gives to me, if 1 object to what the honourable senator has said because it is untrue, to claim that I have been misrepresented. I think this is a fair way of going about it. I personally express the objection that when I am about to make my representation there should be an objection taken on a point of order on the basis that I ought not to be' allowed to explain properly how I have been misrepresented. I have a right in this chamber to speak as I will. To have it said of me that I have applauded the murder of tens of thousands of people - honourable senators opposite should ponder the enormity of that accusation - ought to be offensive to anybody, and it is offensive to me. Yet it is said as if it is something which can be clearly and easily said and then laughed away. How would Senator James McClelland feel if someone said that of him? I repudiate absolutely an accusation of that character. I feel, Sir, that this Senate ought to take some heed of the way in which its proceedings are conducted if those things can be said and then it be argued afterwards that in some way a person is entitled to say them and the aggrieved party not be allowed to make a response. I have my pride. I have my feelings. One does not like to be accused of being someone who applauds the murder of tens of thousands of people. I think that Senator James McClelland ought to appreciate that if he wants to say these things in the cavalier, easy way in which he does, there are people who do object to them and will expose him for what he is saying.

The second point I want to make by way of explanation of how 1 have been misrepresented is that 1 was accused of having wanted to delay this measure, to tuck it away, to hope that it never hit the deck. That is quite untrue. It is absolutely untrue. If anybody would care to remember what 1 said or to read the record of what I have said or to speak to anybody on this side of the chamber to whom 1. have spoken concerning this matter he will know that it is untrue. But it is part of a typical smear in which the Labor Party engages in order to denigrate anybody who happens to disagree with the point of view that it holds, and it will do it in complete defiance of what the record says. I have been concerned to have looked at in some depth the very deep problems which this issue has raised and which are involved in it. That is why I said earlier that I regret that the Committee to which it was referred had not done so.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse - Order! The Senate has debated this matter hitherto on a very high level. I trust that tonight there will be no exception to the way in which this serious matter has been discussed. These comments apply equally to both sides of the chamber.

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