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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 823

Mr CHIPP (Hotham) -I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented.

Mr CHIPP - Yes, by the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden). The Minister made special reference to me by name and stated unequivocally before the House that my position on Medibank was different from that of my

Leader. That is the point upon which I have been personally misrepresented, deliberately and mischievously, by the Minister. About 8 weeks ago I made an announcement on behalf of the joint Opposition after having had it discussed in the Party room and having the unanimous support of everyone behind me that we would dismande Medibank and the Health Insurance Commission. I issued a statement on that. Immediately after that I was asked to appear on radio and television. I was then asked the question: 'Do you mean you would dismantle Medibank at any time?' I said that it would be an absurd proposition to answer that question unequivocally because if we were unfortunate enough not to resume power after, say, 3 years, the Medibank scheme would be woven fabric of Australian society as it was in the United Kingdom. At that time, 6 weeks ago, I made that statement. It is on the record. It is in public speeches and it is identical with the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. Yet the Minister knowing this will come in here and try to make this sort of mischief. It is contemptible.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member can only explain in what way he has been misrepresented. I know that at the finish of personal explanations there is always a sting in the tail from everybody who makes them. It is very difficult for the Chair to prevent it. I know that every personal explanation that is ever made in the House always has a sting in the tail. I am aware of that.

Mr Hayden - What is being said is that once a public statement -

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister does not have the call.

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