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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2474

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer to his appropriation, for his own use, of the Commonwealth luxury guest house at Kirribilli, his unprecedented chartering of aircraft, etc., for his excursions overseas and his acquisition at Commonwealth expense for his own use of a luxury Mercedes car, like none other yet available in Australia. These are examples of socialist equality in action. Has the Prime Minister considered the second verse of the first chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! That book may be unparliamentary.

Mr WENTWORTH - Mr Speaker,that is a party reference on your part.

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - It is true, as you quite rightly said Mr Speaker, that there are many passages of Ecclesiastes, or of the Song of Solomon, which you would have to rule as contravening the Standing Orders if members presumed to quote them. As all honourable members know, my staff is well versed in the Old Testament. First I refer to the Mercedes. When I assumed office as Prime Minister I inherited an archaic vehicle which I declined to use. Out of the proceeds of sale of that car I was able to order a Mercedes and return a profit of $1,300 to the revenue. I would be very happy if every office-bearer in this Parliament were to make do with an ordinary Holden or Valiant, but if there is to be a gradation of cars I frankly am going to have the best.

As regards the chartering of aircraft, it is true that I have chartered Qantas aircraft when I have gone abroad to represent this country as its head of government. Some of my predecessors did, too, and they were quite right. When other heads of government or heads of State have visited our country they have chartered aircraft from their own national airlines, and quite rightly.

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