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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1561


Mr GORTON (Higgins) - I wish to revert to some of the remarks which were made in this House tonight by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) who is not here.


Mr Foster - Yes, he is.


Mr GORTON - Good. I am glad that he has come back, because I think that the matters which he raised need to be cleared up and I think that the implicit accusations which he made cannot be sustained and ought to be rejected. What in fact the honourable member for Sturt has done tonight is to make an attack upon our Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and to suggest that what he has said in this House is inaccurate. I do not believe that that is so, and I do not believe that the honourable member for Sturt produced any arguments to show that this is so. The. whole matter arose from a question at question time by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and an answer which was then given. The honourable member for Sturt suggests that this answer was inaccurate. He has indicated to the House, tonight that a Mr Jonathan Gaul rang up a Mr Terry Colhoun who runs the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Canberra, being the Canberra Manager of the ABC, and complained that it was derogatory of the Prime Minister that Mr Whitlam should appear on a programme at the same time as the Prime Minister did.


Dr Cass - He did not say that. Is that what happened?


Mr GORTON - I do not know, but this is what I understood the honourable member for Sturt had said. It does not matter whether he said it or not because this is common gossip in the Press gallery, and I assume that the honourable member takes notice of this bazaar gossip. Did Mr Gaul, as has been suggested, say at the same time to Mr Colhoun that the Prime Minister would never appear on a programme again with the interviewer from the ABC?


Mr Morrison - You tell us.


Mr GORTON - Did he? Is this suggested, because it is common gossip in the Press gallery that this was said, and this must be the basis of the speech that was made by the honourable member for Sturt today. I cannot believe that there is any truth in these kinds of accusations.


Mr Foster - Oh!


Mr SPEAKER -I warn the honourable member for Sturt.


Mr GORTON - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I cannot believe that there is any truth in this suggestion that was alleged to have been made by a Mr Gaul, who was a journalist working for Maxwell Newton at some stage and is now working for the Government, as I understand it, that the Prime Minister would never appear with Mr Richard Carleton again on a programme of this kind. I think that it is most improper for the honourable member for Sturt to make these kinds of suggestion without any basic evidence at all to sustain them in this House of the Commonwealth Parliament. I believe that there is no truth whatever in it, and I hope and expect and believe that tomorrow the Prime Minister will be able to stand up in this Parliament, and reject completely the accusations and the implications which have been made by the honourable member for Sturt because I think that there can be no indication of accuracy whatsoever in what he has said. There has been nothing presented to us to sustain this kind of suggestion. I really do wish to say this: It is improper. I have sustained more than any other person has in this Parliament, these kinds of inaccurate accusations.


Mr Armitage - -Oh!


Mr GORTON - I have.


Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Chifley will cease interjecting.


Mr GORTON - Therefore, speaking from that point of view, I believe that this should not happen.


Mr SPEAKER -I warn the honourable member for Robertson who is trying to interject. He is also out of his seat. All I ask is a fair go, but I am afraid that there are some members in this House who do not realise that.


Mr GORTON - All I ask is a fair go, too. I think it is most improper for these kinds of accusations, without any evidence whatsoever to sustain or support them, without anything brought forward to indicate that they are right, to be made against an individual in this Parliament. I suspect that they are wrong. I believe that they will be able to be completely destroyed tomorrow. I hope that if that is so- as I believe it will be - the honourable member for Sturt will rise in his place and apologise for what he has said about the Prime Minister and what he has indicated about the Prime Minuter tonight.

Motion (by Mr Fox) put:

That the question be now put.







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