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Tuesday, 12 October 1971
Page: 2159

Mr Foster - I . rise to take a point of order in regard to Hansard of last Thursday - the last day of sitting last week - in relation to a question directed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). I am on my feet because of the fact that there has been quite considerable alteration between the manner in which the Prime Minister answered the question and the way in which it appears in Hansard. I do not wish to take up a great deal of the time of the House. I have raised this matter with you, Mr Speaker, on previous occasions. Relying on my memory of what was said by way of answer by the Prime Minister, who. unfortunately, is not in the House at the moment, to the Leader of the Opposition-

Mr Dobie - Nor is the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Foster - I never said it in any term that you could consider to be derogatory!


Mr Foster - What is wrong with him? He is very touchy today.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I suggest that the honourable member should explain his point of order. He is now debating the question.

Mr Foster - I was interrupted, I am sorry, by a member of the Country Party. 1 note that in fact-

Mr Buchanan - What is your point of order?

Mr Foster - My point of order is that insertions and inclusions which are beyond the spoken word of the Prime Minister have been made. In doing so, there would be more than an inference that they have been done with wilful intent because I will quote-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will not under any circumstances reflect upon the character or intentions of another honourable member. I suggest that he does not use that language.

Mr Foster - Perhaps my choice of words, 'wilful intent', was not the best. But I want to seek your guidance as to how this record of the proceedings of last Thursday at question time can be corrected. I am prepared to listen to the tape as I did the other day in regard to certain proceedings of this House. But I most certainly am on my feet to object and to make the point that the platform and constitution of the Labor Party were not mentioned by the Prime Minister in the con text in which they appear in Hansard. He has included the words 'crucial importance' and he' has made a number of alterations that would take me some 15 minutes to put before the House.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I suggest that the honourable member do not do that at this stage. I suggest, as I suggested last week, that the honourable member might listen to the tape first, if he has not done so, and then he can see me in relation to the alterations that have been made. But I think that, at this stage, it would be well for me to repeat to the House a statement that I made in relation to Hansard earlier this year. I said this: 1 wish to restate the guiding principle followed by. the Hansard Staff in the preparation of the reports of the debates here.

The aim is to produce a rational verbatim report - a report which, in the definition given in May, \ . . though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument'.

To this report Members may make necessary corrections but alterations of sense or the introduction of new matter are not admissible.

A Member's green is confidential as between him and the Hansard Staff and is not made available to anyone unless the Member has given his approval.

They are the general guidelines in relation to Hansard. If there has been any breach of them, 1 suggest that the honourable member come and see me.

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