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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I also wish to make a personal explanation, lest, in consequence of the action of the right honorable gentleman, my own silence, and that of other honorable members, may be misunderstood. I do not challenge the right honorable gentleman's title to put himself right with this_ House and the country with' regard to the statements to which he has referred. I take no objection whatever to that. I would only say that if I were to contradict the misrepresentations, equally gross and glaring, repeated continuously in some papers opposed to myself in Australia, I should have to claim the attention of honorable members at every sitting. I believe that the great bulk of the misrepresentations aire made bv mistake and unintentionally, and recognise that we have, in the interests of public business, to remain here and submit to being systematically misreported by newspapers, some in distant parts of the country. I wish it to be fully understood, however, that if we sit silent, it is not that we have no wish to put ourselves right, but that we feel that we must regard such misrepresentation as one of the necessary conditions of political life in this country. But, apart from this, statements that I have made in this House, in the presence of the right honorable member for East Sydney, and statements of mine which have appeared in print, which he must have read and could not misunderstand, have been quoted by him again and again in; distinctly differing versions, upon a dozen different occasions.

Mr Reid - That is owing to the fact that the Prime Minister has. expressed himself in different ways at different times.

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