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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3393

Dr EVERINGHAM (Capricornia) (Minister for Health) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin - Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr EVERINGHAM - I have been grossly misrepresented, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have in my hand an identical document, presumably, to the one which the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) has just brought into the House and which, as he said, has printed on the top the crest, the title 'Minister for Health' and the address 'Parliament House, Canberra'. This letter did not come from my office. One copy was typed in my office. The other copies were reprinted outside Canberra. I also have in my hand an envelope that contained one of these copies. With your permission, Sir, I will table it. It bears the post mark 'Queanbeyan - 12 November 1973 - paid - New South Wales'.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! Are you asking for leave to table that document?

Dr EVERINGHAM - The envelope and the letter it contained, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Dr EVERINGHAM - I point out that none of the printing cost, none of the stationery cost, and none of the postage cost came from any government department or from me personally.

Mr Morrison - I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On the basis of the statement made by my colleague the Minister for Health, I ask that the Leader of the Australian Country Party withdraw his imputations.

Mr James - He should be put out of public life. He has done this before.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I call the Leader of the Australian Country Party.

Mr ANTHONY(Richmond- Leader of the Australian Country Party) - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr James - He did it to a sergeant of police. He had him railroaded when he was the Minister for the Interior. How he got to where he is I do not know.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Hunter will please restrain himself.

Mr ANTHONY - Mr Deputy Speaker, I appreciate the explanation by the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham). I believe that what he has said is true, that is, that it is a roneoed letter and that it has not been paid for by the taxpayer. I appreciate those remarks. But this letter has been drafted for one purpose, that is, for being used for political campaigning. It was drafted in his-

Mr Keating - What is wrong with that?


Mr James - Why do you not be a man and apologise? Why do you not apologise straight out?


Mr James - Fair play is fair play.

Mr ANTHONY - Official notepaper has been used.

Mr James - He has been cleanly bowled and he will not apologise.

Mr Giles - Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask you to do something to control the rabble on the other side of the House.

Mr James - Rabble! I resent the word being used by that log. He is all timber.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I think all honourable members will appreciate that there has been a certain amount of provocation, but I do ask honourable members to exercise restraint while the Leader of the Australian Country Party is on his feet. He is making an explanation of the circumstances that led him to make the remarks he made.

Mr ANTHONY - Mr Deputy Speaker,I said that I acknowledged the remarks of the Minister for Health regarding the cost factor, but I think a question of ethics is involved in the use of official notepaper for election campaign purposes, especially in the area of a State election campaign. Sir, the official crest appears on this notepaper. Irrespective of whether it has been roneoed, the letter is being used for a special purpose, that is, for campaign purposes in New South Wales.

Mr Keating - I rise to a point of order. Every member of this House is aware that once he has been elected to this place he is entitled to express a view as a member or as a Minister for election campaigning and he can do so on letterhead which has the Commonwealth crest on the top as long as it is not provided at the taxpayers' expense. It is done by all candidates and all members of Parliament. It has been done by Party Leaders. The Leader of the Australian Country Party knows that. He has made an allegation which has been proved to be untrue. He should do the decent thing and apologise.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin}That is not a point of order. The point of order which was raised by the Minister for External Territories was whether, in view of standing order 76 and the explanation given by the Minister for Health, the right honourable gentleman is prepared to withdraw certain imputations.

Mr ANTHONY - Sir, I thought that in my remarks I did withdraw the challenge as to who was paying for this matter because the Minister explained the situation and I accepted his explanation. But I do question very much the ethics of this form of- (Honourable members interjecting) -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The imputations have been withdrawn by the right honourable gentleman.

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