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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 565

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

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WHITLAM - Yes. The Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay) said in effect that he had had electoral representations from me through Mr Race Mathews. This surprised me, and I have checked with the files that I have in Canberra. I can find in the last year - I have not got other files with me - only 3 matters which have been taken up with the Minister by Mr Mathews. None of them concerned people in my electorate. They were matters which came to me as Leader of the Opposition. Mr Mathews sent them to the Minister's secretary. I think I can identify them. On 1 st August this year some representations were made on behalf of families of members of the crew of HMAS Parramatta'. On 25th January last representations were made on behalf of a Navy wife who lives in West Heidelberg, Victoria. On 20th August of last year representations were made on behalf of the wife of a leading radio operator on HMAS 'Pamula' The only other representations I can find are by another member of my staff on 12th July last on behalf of the Professional Musicians Union of Australia regarding the use of Royal Australian Navy musicians. I would be grateful to the Minister if he would bring to my notice a record of any matters concerning Navy personnel or relatives in my electorate which have been brought to his notice by Mr Mathews. I would think that all the correspondence I have had with the Minister about persons in my electorate would have been signed by me; otherwise it would have been signed by my electorate secretary.

All I can add is that over the last year the only representations that have been made to the Minister by persons other than myself or my electorate secretary would be on behalf of persons who are not in my electorate. I have been scrupulous in writing personally to Ministers. It is only when I am out of the country or otherwise not available promptly enough that anybody on my staff writes to a Minister. In that case he or she would write to the Minister's secretary. I do not believe that any representations have been made to the Minister on behalf of people in my electorate other than by me.

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