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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2579

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - Mr President,I seek leave to make a statement on this matter.

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not think that it was only a question of a misinterpretation. It was a question of a completely untruthful quote. The article involved a reply that I had supplied to a question asked by Mr Hunt which referred to the housing of Aborigines in Victoria. From that we have this completely untruthful quote which has done untold damage in Victoria to a relationship that was going fairly well. I would not say that the damage is irreparable because in conversation with Mr Dickie today, after an explanation had been given, he took quite a reasonable attitude and I believe that he is releasing a Press statement today. But if one is to be misquoted or if a false story is to be written with the excuse that someone in the Press Gallery is tired during the sitting of the Parliament, I think it is time we looked into the industrial side of the position to see whether pressmen could be working for hours that are too long. It is not an excuse for misquoting a politician to say that a newspaper finds it necessary to work its staff excessive time. I think that if such an incident happens again a better explanation could be required. Subject to what I hope the newspaper will do, that is, publish a rectification of the complaint in a sufficiently prominent position in its pages so that it will be read, I do not seek at this stage to take the matter any further. But I feel that it is difficult to accept the excuse that has been presented.

The PRESIDENT - I did not say that it was an excuse. I said that it was an explanation.

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