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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 617

Sir WINTON TURNBULL (Mallee) - I desired to read a letter which appeared this afternoon in the Melbourne Herald' and to comment on it. The letter reads:

May I make a strong protest against continuous smearing of our Prime Minister, Mr McMahon. Never before has a Prime Minister been so unfairly treated.

Dr Klugman - What number is he on the Liberal Party ticket?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have just warned Assistant Ministers for interjecting. I suggest that the honourable member for Chifley and the honourable member for Prospect take the hint that the warning is for them as well.

Sir WINTON TURNBULL - The letter continues:

He has been maligned, slighted, ridiculed by people whose only claim to fame is being photogenic on TV, vocal on radio and able to 'push a pen' for the press.

Isn't there any sense of fair play left in Australia? Mr McMahon is an efficient and kindly Prime Minister. He can take over any portfolio in his Cabinet and run it with excellence.

Further he does not criticise the petty-minded people who are always sniping at him.

There are many Labor and Liberal supporters who are heartily sick of these attacks on him.

Norma L. Borowski 79 Cobden Street, South Melbourne. -

I want to comment on this letter because I think there is a lot of truth in it. In this House I have heard the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) insulted in a way that one would probably not hear in any other place in Australia, although one might if the same people were there. He has remained cool and has replied to the insults thrown at him in a calm and courteous way. I will enumerate some of the things he has been blamed for. Firstly, he has been blamed for overseas currency difficulties - was he to blame for them? The collapse of the wool market through lack of overseas demand caused by the overseas currency difficulties to some extent - was he to blame for that? Inflation - that is a world condition and everybody knows it. Drought - why blame the Prime Minister for the drought in Queensland and other places? The Australian Labor Party would do it if it could but it is hard to get away with it. Strikes, trade union irresponsibility and, to sum the whole thing up, general misrepresentation - he is blamed for all these things. Since I have been in this House I have tried to play the game fairly and no one has accused me of not doing that.

Dr Klugman - Fred Daly has.

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