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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 2374

Senator WOOD (QUEENSLAND) I desire to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question. Did he see the 'Current Affair' session on Channel 9 last night, and, if he did, did he hear the Prime Minister say, when asked by Mr Willesee about various differences of opinion between the Prime Minister and Mr Hawke, that there was only one difference that he had with Mr Hawke and that that was about Israel? Is it not a fact that the Prime Minister also had a strong difference of opinion with Mr Hawke with regard to the incomes question in relation to which the referendum will be held on Saturday? Also, is it not a fact that he had a strong difference of opinion with Mr Hawke over the matter of increased taxation, which Mr Hawke said the Budget should provide for and in relation to which the Prime Minister made a nasty remark about Mr Hawke? As the Prime Minister has said that the only question on which he differs with Mr Hawke is in relation to Israel, and as Mr Hawke is pro-Israel, does that mean that the Prime Minister is anti-Israel? Does this reply of the Prime Minister indicate a lapse of memory, or does the Leader of the Government in the

Senate think that the Prime Minister should have a new pill known as the truth pill?

Senator MURPHY No, I did not hear the program but I saw some report of it and I accept the honourable senator's statement that the Prime Minister said there was only one difference between him and Mr Hawke and that was in regard to Israel. The honourable senator also asked me whether there have been some differences previously between the Prime Minister and Mr Hawke in regard to the incomes referendum and taxation legislation. Whether we describe them as great differences or small differences I think the reality is that those things, judged in the general context of politics, are such that they did not even occur to the Prime Minister when he was dealing with the subject matter. If one wanted to ex- Elore the matter and go through what has een said one would probably find another half dozen cases. But what does it all matter? The fact is that the Labor Party is strongly united. Its members are free enough and courageous enough to voice differences of opinion whether they be great or small. Everyone is beginning to understand—an d I trunk the honourable senator understands—tha t this is how democracy should work. The people of Australia especially are appreciating a party which is able to air differences as they occur, thrash out things in public, come to democratic decisions and let the people know about them. That is how the Labor Party works.

As to any difference of opinion about Israel, the policy of the Australian Labor Party in regard to Israel is quite clear. It is set out in the Elatform. Substantially it amounts to an even anded approach. That is what has been carried out by the Government. If there is some difference in emphasis or attitude by Mr Hawke, so let it be. But the policy of the Government is quite clear, we are adhering to it and I think we are supported by the Australian people. I should say further, Senator, that the Opposition would be much better occupied if it started to attend to the faults in its own house rather than trying to make mischief in the great Australian Labor Party.

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