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Thursday, 22 October 1970

Mr GORTON (Higgins) (Prime Minister) - Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation because I believe that quite inadvertently the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitiam) is completely misrepresenting what I have said. I have never said on the occasion of which we are speaking that the Leader of the Opposition would not appear. He seems to have taken it into his mind that he has been accused of refusing to appear. What I have stated and what is the fact is that the Australian Broadcasting Commission in seeking to excuse its repudiation of an arrangement for me to go on 'This Day Tonight' said it did not think it was right for me to go on after it had thought about it because it had not asked Mr Whitlam to go on. I said: That has nothing to do with me, get him on'. It said: We cannot get him on'. It could not get him on; he had gone away somewhere. Eventually he was got on. This is exactly what was said to me - it could not get him on. There can be no question of that. I think the Leader of the Opposition is being far too sensitive about this because the point was not anything to do with him at all. The point was an accusation by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) that 1 had demanded time on the ABC when the facts were it was offered to me and then withdrawn because the Leader of the Opposition was not on it and could not be got on it.

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - When are you going to appear?

Mr GORTON - I do not see why 1 should give him a platform.

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