Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 3346


Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Leader of the Opposition) - I seek to make a personal explanation.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Doesthe honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr WHITLAM - Yes. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) misrepresented me at question time today. In answer to a question by the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) the Prime Minister said that a Press statement I had made yesterday was untrue. He also said that if I had checked the communique which President Suharto and he had issued last

November I would have known it was untrue. I am going from memory, of course, but I remember quite clearly the use of the word 'untrue' and the reference to the communique. I have just been able to obtain the transcript of the question I asked the Prime Minister yesterday on the negotiations which were due to start yesterday between representatives of Australia and Indonesia about the delineation of the seabed boundary between the 2 countries, and of the answer which the Prime Minister asked the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Sinclair) to give.

Looking at the report in the Melbourne Sun' yesterday of my Press statement and the report of the question and answer, I notice divergences between the newspaper account and the Hansard. I have had to wait until I obtained the Hansard proof. It transpires that the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs has altered the green copy. What I said yesterday - and what the Prime Minister says was untrue - was this.

We now have the position where the Australian Government cannot fulfil an undertaking given to the president of our nearest and largest neighbour.

We also have the position where the State governments will decide whether the national Government can negotiate with other governments.

The answer which the Acting Minister gave me yesterday is reported in Hansard as follows: . . already consultations are under way with the States on this matter. The Government hopes to advance these consultations and as a result of them we believe that in due course we may be able to come to more meaningful conclusions with the representatives from the Government of Indonesia. For that reason the talks have been deferred, they have not been postponed indefinitely.

The same passage appeared in the green copy in these terms: . . already there are consultations under way with the States on this matter. The Government hopes to advance these consultations and as a result of them we believe that in due course we will be able to come to more meaningful conclusions with the representatives from the Government of Indonesia.


Mr Whitlam - So the talks have been deferred to a date?

From my recollection I said 'to a date subsequent to the consultations with the States' but that is not recorded:







Suggest corrections