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Tuesday, 5 June 2001
Page: 27254

Mr REITH (Minister for Defence) (3:32 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

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

Mr REITH —Yes.

Mr SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr REITH —I claim to have been misrepresented by the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. I simply refute those by referring to two quotes. The first quote is from an interview with Laurie Oakes on the Sunday program, as follows:

Now, I don't agree with all of Saul Eslake's suggestions—

Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the House must indicate where he has been misrepresented.

Mr REITH —I have been misrepresented because the Leader of the Opposition said—

Mr SPEAKER —I will recognise the Manager of Opposition Business, but I believe that was the point he was going to raise and I was listening to the Leader of the House's explanation. The Leader of the House must indicate where he has been misrepresented.

Mr REITH —He misrepresented me by saying that I had failed to properly state his position—in other words, that I had misled people in my answer. To refute that, I rely on two quotes, one of which was in part referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, but he left out the second part when he said—

Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. It has been your constant practice, not to our delight, to not allow our members to read quotes—merely to say, `X is not true, and I have been misrepresented.' You have not allowed our members to read such quotes, particularly by people other than themselves, into the Hansard. This would be, I think, a precedent which we might appreciate but that would not be consistent with the past.

Mr REITH —Mr Speaker, on the point of order: the misrepresentation point was made by the Leader of the Opposition. He quoted himself in support of his claim, but the fact is he did not read out the full quote. I simply want to do so, because it substantiates the claims that I made during question time—that is all.

Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition is not helping the chair.

Mr REITH —To help the chair, the word `additional' was, but he points out that when people are putting out new outlays of something like $25 billion over four years there is plenty of ice for an opposition to skate on, which is the very point I was making during question time.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr REITH —Saul Eslake on the 7.30 Report referred to Defence. I did want to debate it.

Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the House will resume his seat.