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Tuesday, 23 April 1985
Page: 1644

Mr McVEIGH —Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr McVEIGH —Yes.

Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member may proceed.

Mr McVEIGH —Yesterday, as recorded on page l57l of Hansard, in the debate on the matter of public importance concerning farm costs I was grievously and mischievously misrepresented by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin). I quote:

I must point out how interested the National Party is in agricultural policy. All through l984, when the honourable member for Groom, then the honourable member for Darling Downs, was Opposition spokesman on primary industry, he asked me two questions without notice and put four questions on agricultural issues on notice.

I have asked the Parliamentary Library to check out the total number of questions that I placed on notice in 1983 and 1984. The printout which I was given would cover almost half a rugby field. The real facts of the matter are that--

Mr Charles —How many questions was that?

Mr McVEIGH —I am just going to give them to the House. Obviously one cannot ask a Minister a question if he is always overseas globe-trotting. In l983 I placed 55 questions concerning primary industry on notice and I asked six questions without notice. In l984 I placed nine questions on notice and asked five questions without notice. The Minister was very tardy in answering all these questions. If the Minister would like to check my facts, as opposed to the information given to him-the incorrect information given by his office-he is quite entitled to do so.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member must not start to debate the matter.

Mr McVEIGH —He is quite entitled to peruse these official statistics given by the Library. In conclusion, I am always disappointed when a Minister comes in here and does not tell the truth. I expect that he will not apologise because he is too much of a coward.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Groom should not impute improper motives. He will withdraw the remark.

Mr McVEIGH —That is how long it is.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Groom will withdraw the remark alleging that the Minister has told an untruth.

Mr McVEIGH —The remark that it is only half the length of a rugby field?

Mr SPEAKER —No. I warn the honourable member for Groom.

Mr McVEIGH —Which remark?

Mr SPEAKER —The remark alleging that the Minister told an untruth.

Mr McVEIGH —There is the proof.

Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member for Groom will withdraw.

Mr McVEIGH —I am happy to withdraw because the facts show the situation.