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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1781

Dr MACKAY (Evans) (Minister for the Navy) - 1 wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr MACKAY - Yes. The imputation in what has been said is that I was lying when I described a conversation that 1 personally remember and have remembered vividly from the day of the conversation to this clay. I was a serving member of the Royal Australian Navy and was out of this country for most of the time Mr Curtin was Prime Minister. I, of course, remember quite vividly the first occasion - a dramatic occasion - on which 1 was able to be present in the office of the then Prime Minister of this country. I remember the conversation well. The honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser) has gone on to impute that what 1 said with regard to the stand taken by both Prime Ministers was a false view of their position. Let me just ask honourable members to go to Hansard and take out the volume for 1950, when Mr Chifley as the Leader of the Opposition made a speech in reply to a speech by Mr Menzies announcing the sending of Australian troops to Korea. In that speech I remember - and I remember thinking back on seeing reports of that speech - 2 points being made: Firstly, that with regard to the war that was taking place in that country he-

Mr Barnard - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Is this to be a debate? If it is to be a debate, then I think that you ought to rule that honourable members on this side will be able to engage in it. You, Sir, pointed out to the honourable member for Eden-Monaro that he was not entitled to debate the matter. The Minister is quite clearly and deliberately debating the subject.

Mr SPEAKER - In relation to the point of order, the honourable member for Eden-Monaro, after I had spoken to him about this, explained to me where I perhaps was under a misapprehension in regard to his point, and I allowed him to continue. The questions that have been raised in this matter are questions which the honourable member for Eden-Monaro actually raised in his personal explanation to the House.

Dr MACKAY - I will conclude in 2 sentences.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I say to the Minister, as I said to the honourable member for Eden-Monaro, that personal explanations should be limited to the exact matter on which an honourable member has been misrepresented. Bringing in any other matter by way of a debate is distinctly out of order. I suggest to the Minister that in view of the point of order that has been taken he should conclude his remarks.

Dr MACKAY - I will conclude by saying that the honourable member for Eden Monaro nodded his head when I said that the imputation was that I had misrepresented the stand taken by these right honourable gentlemen. I simply say thai on a study of the speech it will be seen that my 2 points are relevant. Firstly, Mr Chifley, as Leader of the Opposition, pointed out strongly that it was not a question of the character of the governments of North Korea or South Korea - although he abhorred the former - or any other fact than that there was invasion from the north to the south taking place. I believe he also pointed out that similar circumstances could apply in the future in the case of other nations. This is vastly different, as I said in my letter, from the current situation in which the Labor Party is placed.

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