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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1392

Senator GEORGES -Mr President,I wish to ask a supplementary question.

The PRESIDENT - Do you consider that the question has not been answered?

Senator GEORGES - It is supplementary and it is important.

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Georges.

Senator GEORGES - The question is directed to you, Mr President. What redress in this place has a senator if he is named in a derogatory fashion in a letter, in particular that which is alleged to be a letter of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs, if he is not able to obtain the tabling of that letter in the Senate? How does such an honourable senator proceed and what are his rights when, in a letter written from a departmental official to someone else who is not a departmental official, derogatory terms are used?

Senator Wright - About the Government nominee director on the enterprise.

Senator GEORGES - But about an honourable senator in particular.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Georges,I will undertake to answer your question in specific terms, but you will readily understand that I do not wish to give an off-the-cuff answer to this question because it involves the problem of a matter which is within the control of another place. It also involves questions of the propriety of an honourable senator sitting in the Senate when he believes that he has a grievance. The Senate is the place to establish whether, in fact, the grievance exists and whether it can be satisfied. I will answer the question more fully later on. But I add this final rider: The Minister at the table has, of course, a right under what is known as Crown privilege to decide whether he will or will not table the paper. But I will give the honourable senator a fuller answer later in the afternoon.

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