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Thursday, 12 April 1973
Page: 1374

Mr LUCOCK (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I preface my question to the Prime Minister by saying that the honourable gentleman will recall that one of the reasons for rejecting a royal commission or judicial inquiry into what has become known as the ASIO affair was that it would, to use his own words, destroy the last vestiges of whatever reputation the previous Government and surviving members of it might possibly have. I now ask: If his statement is correct should he not, as a responsible person and as the head of this Parliament, pursue this matter because of the importance of an Opposition in our parliamentary system and because the Australian public is entitled to be acquainted with all the facts?

Mr WHITLAM -- I hasten to assure the honourable gentleman, as father of the Aus tralian Country Party in this House, and f think the Parliament, that I do not have in mind any defaults by Country Party Ministers in previous governments. The actions which I have in mind and to which I have referred on several occasions in the last couple of weeks in the Parliament concern former Liberal Ministers. I need not repeat the reasons I gave for holding that a royal commission or a judicial inquiry would be inappropriate. I notice that it is now suggested that High Court judges should serve on a royal commission. They never have. 1 do not believe they ever would.

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