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Thursday, 8 March 1973
Page: 362

Mr BARNARD (Bass) (Minister for Defence) - Mr Speaker, I desire to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the Minister for Defence claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr BARNARD - Yes. The Minister for Defence has indicated that I failed to answer questions directed to me.

Mr Snedden - You said 'Minister for Defence'. You are the Minister for Defence. Get that in your mind; it is you. You meant the honourable member for Barker.

Mr BARNARD - I indicated, as Minister for Defence, that I would be making available to this Parliament a statement on the full structure, strength, duties and responsibilities of the armed forces. As I pointed out to the honourable gentleman yesterday, I have no intention of treating members of the Opposition in the same shabby way that they treated the Opposition when they were in government in relation to information that should be conveyed to the shadow Minister for Defence. I advised the honourable gentleman yesterday that if he wished members of the Department of Defence to speak to and advise the Opposition's defence committee, I would be happy to make the arrangements for him. I went further than that. I told the shadow Minister for Defence that if he wished to speak to the Secretary of the Department of Defence, I would arrange that for him- also.

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