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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2156

Mr HUNT —On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation program AM on 11 July 1984, I heard the Minister for Defence Support, Mr Howe, commenting on the decision taken by the biennial conference of the Australian Labor Party regarding the mining and the export of uranium. I sincerely believed he said, inter alia, on the program:

Not all the problems in the world can be resolved by a room full of delegates. Problems have to be resolved by people articulating views. Sometimes on the streets on demonstrations, sometimes by rioting and advocating their views in whatever way is open to them.

I was surprised that a Minister should use the word 'rioting' and was moved to issue a media statement calling upon the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) to sack the Minister for suggesting such a violent action. However, the Minister has since stated that he used the word 'writing' and categorically denies using the word ' rioting' and has asked me for an apology.

Madam Deputy Speaker, in the 15 years I have had the honour of serving in this Parliament it has not been either my inclination or practice to deliberately malign or attack the character of honourable members as individuals in this place. I therefore accept his denial and extend a public apology for having made my statement and for any embarrassment and loss of reputation caused to him. I retract my call upon the Prime Minister to sack him as the Minister for Defence Support.