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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 3989

Mr MCMAHON (Lowe) - Mr Speaker, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.

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

Mr McMAHON - Yes, on 2 occasions, by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister implied, in an answer that he gave to a question by me in the House this morning, that my Government was not prepared to permit Ministers to visit the People's Republic of China, prior to recognition of that country, on an official invitation from the Chinese Government itself. This is untrue. I had made it clear that I was prepared to permit the then Minister for Foreign Affairs and the then Minister for Labour and National Service to visit the People's Republic of China if an official invitation was received.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Didn't you get one?

Mr McMAHON - No, never. They themselves did not, and neither did I. The second point is this: The Prime Minister must know, as he was Foreign Minister for a short period, that the advice tendered to me as the Prime Minister was that the then Minister for the Army could not visit the People's Republic of China in a private capacity-

Mr Bryant - I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Fairbairn - This is a personal explanation of a misrepresentation.

Mr Bryant - This is not an answer to a misrepresentation. It is an explanation in the form of a debate. By allowing this practice to con- tinue every day we are taking up the debating time of the House. Mr Speaker. I suggest that-

Mr Peacock - We remember what you were like.

Mr Bryant - I took it up effectively. The right honourable gentleman is completely out of order. He is not making a personal explanation in accordance with the Standing Orders

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I appreciate the fact that many personal explanations are inclined to develop into a debate on the matter that is the subject of the personal explanation. I have appealed to honourable members from time to time to confine their remarks to the matter upon which they have been misrepresented. I ask the right honourable member for Lowe to confine himself to the matter upon which he has been misrepresented

Mr MCMAHON - That is the first point in relation to which I was misrepresented, Sir. The second point relates to the fact that the Prime Minister, having 'been the Minister for Foreign Affairs for a short period of time, will know that the recommendation given to me by both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the then Minister for Foreign Affairs who is now a Justice of the New South Wales Court of Appeal was that a Minister would not be able to visit the People's Republic of China in a personal capacity. That vindicates completely the substance of the question I asked of the Prime Minister earlier this morning.

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