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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2017

Mr GEAR —Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented.

Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member wish to make a personal explanation?

Mr GEAR —I do.

Mr SPEAKER —I call the honourable member for Tangney.

Mr GEAR —In the past two days there have been several reports in the Western Australian media concerning 'the pushing of political views in schools'. I believe that in the Daily News, and I know that on the Channel 9 news, and in the West Australian yesterday on page 3 under the headline 'MPs told to avoid politics in schools', there has been the inference that I used my position as the member for Tangney to try to exert some influence favouring the Australian Labor Party in schools. That is not true, and I should like to present the House with the truth. Earlier this year I was invited, along with Kay Hallahan, who is a very capable member of the Legislative Council in Western Australia, to present two flags to the Cannington Senior High School. I was also asked to address the students and, to the best of my recollection, I spoke on the origin of the Australian flag and of the name 'Tangney'. I congratulated the students from the Cannington Senior High School on their participation in securing a spirit duplicator for some students in Zimbabwe, a task with which I was able to help them by arranging to have it sent to Zimbabwe.

I also told them how fortunate they were to live in a democracy. In extending that point I told the students that this was a nebulous term and on that day Bills were being introduced into the Western Australian Parliament to reform the Legislative Council. I also said that as they would soon be voters themselves I would advise them to listen to both sides of the argument and to make up their own minds as to which was the fairest. I also said that as a member of the Australian Labor Party I supported the arguments of the Burke Government and that the conservative parties would most likely oppose them and try to maintain- -

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I think the honourable member is now providing too much information for a personal explanation. I ask him to round off his remarks.

Mr GEAR —I maintain that nothing I said was in addition to what was readily available to staff and students through the local media. I also reject the assertion that the reform Bills are solely supported by the Labor Party. They are also supported by the Australian Democrats.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. He is now debating the matter.