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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3279


Senator WALTERS —My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, is in two parts. Can the Attorney say how many other times he has had cause to change in a substantial fashion the Hansard record of his speeches in the time he has been in Parliament? Secondly, is it a fact that the distribution of Hansard pinks to honourable senators is for honourable senators to ascertain the correct record of their speeches and for Hansard to correct their English, where necessary, not to alter the meaning or interpretation of their speeches?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I cannot say how many times I have added words, substracted words, rearranged words or fixed up punctuation. It has happened from time to time, as I gather would be the case for every honourable senator in this place. I challenge any other senator who has not ever added a word to any pink that has been put in front of him to rise in his place, wave his hand about, waggle his fingers or do something.


Senator Ryan —His or her.


Senator GARETH EVANS —Yes. The reality of the matter is that that is the way we carry on in this place, provided that in doing so we do not alter the sense, the text or the substance of what we produce. If I am behaving with an insufferable sense of righteousness in this matter, it is because I have an insufferable sense of the rectitude of my behaviour on this particular occasion.


Senator WALTERS —I ask a supplementary question, Mr President. The Minister did not answer two parts of my question. What I asked was how many other times has he had cause in a substantial fashion to alter his speeches. He has referred to punctuation and things like that. I also asked him: 'Is a fact that the distribution of Hansard pinks to honourable senators is for honourable senators to ascertain the correct record of their speeches and for Hansard to correct their English, where necessary, not to alter the meaning or interpretation of their speeches'.


Senator GARETH EVANS —I have nothing useful or in any other way to add to my previous answer.