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Thursday, 18 October 1956

Dr EVATT (Barton) (Leader of the Opposition) . - Whether or not the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) progressed as far as he intended, I think I should say a word or two on this matter. I will not be placed in the position of commenting before this National Parliament on the litigation that is now pending, upon the parties to it, or upon any of the charges made in relation to it; still less will I comment on the personal charges which affect one of the litigants. I will not do it. Last evening the press asked me to comment on this matter and 1 declined to do so. I told the press that I thought any comment from me would be a contempt of the court of Tasmania because the case is pending. Nevertheless, none of the papers that referred to this matter published my statement that I could not comment for that reason.

I do not think the honorable member has any anxiety about this matter except the anxiety to say something that is embarrassing to me. He is not worried about anything else. I regret to say that on more than one occasion he has made a personal attack on me. Having said that, I want to say this: 1 have never at any time considered, or expressed any opinion on, the personal charges which have been featured in the press and with which, naturally, I was associated because of the publication of a reference to me in the newspapers. The case involves issues quite different from this litigation. It involves a question, on which a public inquiry was held in Tasmania, of the rights of professors, the limitations of those rights and so on. Again, it is scarcely possible to say a word on that without going into the matter with which the judges of the court are now dealing. I submit that is an improper thing. I am not criticizing your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but it is not proper to do that at this time. At the appropriate time I will say something.

I assure the House that I have done nothing improper. I have done nothing in any way contrary to what is proper for me to do not only as a member of Parliament but also as a member of the bar.

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