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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 1771

Senator WILLESEE (Western AustraliaSpecial Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - in reply- It is very clear why this Bill was brought in. Senator Cotton, I thought, made the appropriate point that some of the details that have been raised in the debate are really matters for the Estimates Committees. The other speakers roamed very far away from the Bill itself, which they were quite entitled to do, and made rather political speeches. I do not think it is incumbent upon me to answer them. Senator Cotton- or it may have been Senator Withers- said there should be no complaint about taking the adjournment debate yesterday. There is none from me as Minister in charge of the Bill. The only other thing I would say is that I regret that Senator Withers referred to an item in the Press, which I have not seen, which implied by a headline that this Bill was being delayed by the Senate. I have not seen the ankle and I do not know which journalist wrote it. Journalists are here to report on the happenings of Parliament. As I understand the Press, they do not even write the headlines: A sub-editor does.

The honourable senator made a very clear implication that this article was leaked or inspired in the Government side. I am in charge of the Bill, and I certainly did not inspire it. I never have inspired articles. I think the Press can get plenty of stories without assistance from parliamentarians. I just reject any suggestion that this was inspired by myself or anybody else on the Government side. It was an article the type of which we see every day in the Press. I certainly from this side of the House reject the implication and I regret that the journalist, whoever he was, has had this attributed to him.

Otherwise, I thank the Opposition for allowing this Bill to go through for the normal requirements of government, so that the normal services of government can be carried on until the Appropriation Bills come in. I understand that they were held up in the other House because there were urgent Bills coming throughthat was the explanation given to me when I made this very inquiry- and had to take their place in the queue in the other place. I thank the Opposition.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

The Bill.

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