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Thursday, 22 August 1985
Page: 245

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(10.59) —in reply-Before I heard Senator Short tonight I did not think that anything could induce me to defend Bill Hartley in public or private, a man whose contribution to the Labor movement over the years, whatever it may have been to Australian-Libyan relations, has been less than constructive and valuable. But I must confess that after hearing the rambling grab-bag of bits and pieces of scuttlebutt and innuendo to which Senator Short treated us tonight, it has been a close run thing. Speeches of the quality of Senator Short's, redolent as they are with bile and prejudice of various kinds, are the kinds of speeches that lend incredibility to accounts of events that might otherwise be perfectly believable. I do not know what kind of jurisdiction the Commonwealth might possibly have in relation to the various kinds of inquiries urged upon us by Senator Short. I will refer his contribution tonight to Mr Willis to the extent that it raises industrial relations questions and anyone else I can think of who might conceivably be interested in it to see what action or what reply they might care to make. I make no promises in that respect.

As to Senator Rae's retailing of Mr Howard's defence against the calumny to which he was subjected by Senator Walsh yesterday, I have no doubt that Senator Walsh will have a riposte in due course, particularly since Mr Howard's defence seems to be based on a semantic version of the trilogy which lends itself to a debate of that kind. I will draw it to Senator Walsh's attention and see what he might be prepared to say in response to it.

Question resolved in the affirmative

Senate adjourned at 11.01 p.m.