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Monday, 13 September 1971
Page: 1151

Mr COHEN (Robertson) - Mr Speaker, I raise a matter of privilege that is based on a letter to the editor published in the Austraiian' of today's date. I produce a copy of the 'Australian', which is printed and published in New South Wales by Mirror Newspapers Ltd at 20-24 Holt Street, Surry Hills for the proprietors, Nationwide News Pty Ltd of 31-33 London Circuit, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. If I may, I will read the letter because it is brief. The letter is signed by P. Wintle of Mundingburra, Queensland. It reads:

While congratulating you on the fine series of articles on parliamentary lobbying by Kenneth Randall, I am wondering when Mr Randall will get around to the question of bribes. It is common knowledge that many parliamentarians look for some monetary reward for the favours they do. In fact you won't get much done without it. It is called 'the sling'. I am assured by a friend who earned his living as a lobbyist that it is essential to offer sufficient financial inducement to the right person if you want something done - $10,000 is considered 'pin money' in this field.

My friend laughed at the idea that lobbyists persuade' members of Parliament by the force and persistency of their arguments.

Sir, Iregard that as being a very serious allegation against all members of Parliament. I think it is about time that all members, no matter on what side of the Parliament they sit, took these sorts of letters and allegations in the newspapers seriously. I for one do not believe a word of this letter but I think it should be referred to the Committee of Privileges and that appropriate action should be taken to defend every single member of this Parliament against the charges made. Therefore, I move:

That the matter of the letter to the editor signed by P. Wintle, published in the 'Australian' of Monday, 13th September 1971, be referred to the Committee of Privileges.

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