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Thursday, 8 December 1983
Page: 3515


Senator WALTERS —I draw the attention of the Attorney-General to a report in today's Age newspaper which quotes his spokesman as having said: 'The only reason we're not printing the No case is that no rational person would vote against the proposals'. I ask the Attorney-General whether he authorised this comment? In any event will he withdraw this gratuitous insult to the intelligence and integrity of millions of Australians who will undoubtedly vote No when the proposals to change the Constitution are put to the people in February?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not recall authorising the comment in question. In fact it is not one that I would make. There are rational arguments that can be put into a reasonable public debate on all the matters in issue in the referendums. The point, however, is that we have not heard any of them from this place and certainly not from the honourable senator who asked the question.


Senator WALTERS —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the Attorney -General withdraw this gratuitous insult to the intelligence and integrity of the millions of Australians who will undoubtedly vote No when the proposals to change the Constitution are put to them in February?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I did not make a gratuitous insult to thousands of Australians; I made a calculated insult to one honourable senator opposite. I do not propose to withdraw the latter and there is nothing to withdraw as far as the former.