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Wednesday, 28 March 1973
Page: 774

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask a question of the Prime Minister. Since his Attorney-General raided the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation quarters in Canberra and Melbourne on 16th March - 12 days ago - the only explanation by the Government has been that a statement would be made in Parliament when it resumed. In view of Senator Murphy's reluctance and failure to explain in his statement and to reply to repeated questions in another place as to why he raided ASIO, and in view of his statement made yesterday that he was not denied information by ASIO, will the Prime Minister now respond to repeated requests by the Opposition and the Press to explain to the Parliament and to the Australian people why Senator Murphy's action was necessary? I believe that as the Prime Minister is the Minister responsible under the Act for ASIO he should answer the question.

Mr WHITLAM - The Attorney-General was asked in the Senate on 1st March, whether he would make a statement about terrorist activities in Australia. He said he would. He made the statement yesterday. It was a beauty and it was repeated in this House by my colleague who represents him here. It is very significant that no questions have been asked about this statement by any of the Ministers from the previous Government who were quoted in support of the propositions which my colleague has now done something to put into effect, namely, that We should counter political terrorism in Australia. The AttorneyGeneral

Mr Snedden - Answer the question.

Mr WHITLAM - The Leader of the Opposition has asked a question. There was a reference to him in the statement. He does not challenge it, nor does my immediate predecessor.

Mr McMahon - I have tried to get a question in. Give me a chance.

Mr WHITLAM - Will somebody please help him up?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The House will come to order.

Mr MacKellar - Now, answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Some honourable members will be talking to themselves outside the House if they are not careful.

Mr WHITLAM - I cannot be expected to speak while there is such a threatening attitude against me from the other side of the House.

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