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Tuesday, 20 April 1971

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) (Minister for Works) - With regard to commenting on any statement by former President Eisenhower, T would take the course of seeing that statement in its context and of having some assistance from the advisers of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which I will undertake to do, and then give a considered comment to the honourable senator upon the matter. I do not wish to enter into any argument regarding the case in Brisbane. I know the views of Senator Keeffe on the application of the National Service Act. He is in strong difference with the views of the Government in that respect.

I turn to his argument on section 117 of the Commonwealth Constitution. It is notorious that any question of law is usually capable of some argument on either side and exposed to some doubt in its resolution. But, in this instance, I would be fairly strong in my submission that the question admits of no doubt whatever and that section 117 of the Commonwealth Constitution forbidding discrimination between residents of different States, would not be considered to have any application to the case where, by reason of differences in the time scale, birth days would be registered as different dates in Brisbane and Perth.

With regard to the comment by Senator Cant on standing order 64, I would like the honourable senator to know that the Standing Orders Committee met on 2nd June 1970. Standing order 64 was on the agenda, but at that meeting the Committee considered only the subject of speaking times allowed. Further consideration of the standing order was deferred. The Committee has not held a meeting subsequent to that date. But I have no doubt that, Senator Cant having revived the matter for our consideration, attention will be given to whether it would be more appropriate to convene the Standing Orders Committee before 30th June or whether we should wait until July. If it was decided that the outgoing Committee, so to speak, was not to meet, I have no doubt that as soon as possible after the constitution of the new Senate the Standing Orders Committee will take this matter into consideration and will make a report to the Senate.

Senator Sir MAGNUSCORMACK (Victoria) (10.39) - I rise not with the preparatory remark, which is common to the Senate, that at this late hour I will not detain the Senate very long. What I intend to say arises from the remarks made by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) in the context of the discussion of the speech made by Senator Keeffe in which he quoted what were alleged to be the remarks of President Eisenhower before the Governors of the United States of America. This, one of the most' famously distorted canards, has spread around the world. When the original quotation came out it had three or four mysterious little, dots which indicated that something bad been eliminated from the report. We have now reached the stage where the three or four little dots have been eliminated and the statement reads as though President

Eisenhower said what Senator Keeffe has ascribed tohim. I advise the Senate, so that this canard can be nailed, that on the adjournment tomorrow night I shall read the correct record of what was said, for the benefit of Senator Keeffe.

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