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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 3988

Mr TURNER (Bradfield) - Mr Speaker,I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr TURNER - Yes, I claim to have been misrepresented by the Prime Minister in his reply to my question earlier this morning. In his reply he sought to belittle and rubbish me by attacking my credibility as a responsible member of this Parliament. He that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed, as he knows. The point of my question was that the Winter report was not as authoritative a document as it was made out to be. In his reply, the Prime Minister referred to various eminent gentlemen who, he said, had been consulted and whose authority I would accept as being very important indeed. He referred to a number of people all of whose names I cannot recall but he certainly referred to Sir John Crawford, Sir James Vernon and, I think, others-

Mr Whitlam - Professor Karmel and Mr Myer.

Mr TURNER - Professor Karmel and others; I am glad that he reminds me who they were. They were people of great authority. I have looked at the report entitled 'Power over Prices and Incomes' which he tabled yesterday. I find in Appendix 1, the letter of appointment, where the Prime Minister said:

The Australian Government Departments which have particular responsibilities touching upon the area of your inquiry are the Attorney-General's Department, the 'Department of Labour and the Treasury. These Departments are available to assist you as you require.

He went on to say:

I have also arranged that you may call upon the services of the following people who have expertise or knowledge in matters relevant to your inquiry -

He mentioned Professor F. H. Gruen - for whom I have the highest respect - Mr B.

Brogan, Mr J. Bannon, Mr J. Spigelman - to whom I referred obliquely - and Mr P. Troy. He nowhere mentioned those gentlemen to whom he has since referred. The implication in what he said in answer to my question was that I irresponsibly referred to a report which had the backing or endorsement of very eminent people and that I misrepresented the report as not having that backing. There is not a word in the report to indicate that it had their backing. I suggest that, if it had, it would be right and proper that not only the Parliament but the whole community should know that it had their backing. The Prime Minister has stated that it had. I think that we should have the authority of those gentlemen themselves as to whether they did in fact support this document.


Mr TURNER - I find in the 'Australian' newspaper of today's date - and it is through the newspapers that the Prime Minister generally seeks to inform the Parliament-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Bradfield!

Mr TURNER - I want to quote 5 lines in a paragraph.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman may refer only to the point on which he has been misrepresented.

Mr TURNER - I am referring to that point.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have allowed the honourable gentleman quite a lot of latitude up to now.

Mr TURNER - No, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman will be brief on the point of misrepresentation.

Mr TURNER - This is right on the point; I assure you of that, Mr Speaker. The newspaper report states:

Advised by members of the Prime Minister's staff and officers of key departments, a retired Arbitration Commissioner, Mr T. Winter, recommends in his report that prices and incomes policies will be necessary to control inflation. and so on. There is not a word in that report of anybody except Mr Winter and the Prime Minister's staff. I quote this because it demonstrates the usual method of the Prime Minister in communicating with the Parliament-


Mr TURNER - . . . . that is, to do it by newspaper.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Do not debate the matter.

Mr TURNER - I believe that I have been utterly misrepresented. I ask for an apology.


Mr McMahon - Mr Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER - I call the right honourable member for Lowe.

Mr Whitlam - Mr Speaker, I wish to ask for an apology.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think the Prime Minister may have to answer two personal explanations at the one time.

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