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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 560

Mr SPEAKER -Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr MACKAY - Yes. I will be brief. It was suggested in the personal explanation of the Leader of the Opposition that I misled the House on several points. First, he stated that I had said that he had initiated the campaign that has been directed against me on this matter. Indeed, my words were that it was under his imprimatur. I have a Press cutting which has a very large headline. This article appeared in my electorate. The headline reads: Whitlam Protest on Evans Official'. However I proceed from this point to say that as far as the duties of this young man are concerned, since I have held my portfolio I have meticulously avoided in any way involving naval public relations officials in matters of a party political or political nature. It so happens that in Ashfield there are 2 offices, both of them recently damaged by vandals. One is a political office and all my political activity goes from there. I contribute to the upkeep of that office. Not one cent of public funds goes into that office or its expenditure. I believe I should be allowed to make clear why this young man is stationed at Ashfield. It is not unconnected with the attacks made on these offices. I do not relish the idea of a girl secretary being alone in a rather remote office. I believe it is important that this man should be there.

Secondly, the Leader of the Opposition questioned the veracity of my statement with regard to the use of a constituent secretary. I maintain that the Leader of the Opposition has misled the House if he is implying that only his constituent secretary is dealing with his constituency problems because I had in my files letters signed by one Race Matthews bringing to my notice constituency problems. I believe he is the private secretary of the Leader of the Opposition and a permanent public servant.

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