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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2699


Senator WRIGHT -Does the Leader of the Government accept as a fundamental constitutional principle that there is in a government of our type a unity whereby the actions and speeches of any one member are speeches and actions on behalf of the Government? Do the actions of Dr Cairns in apologising to North Vietnam and in accepting hospitality from the subversionists of South Vietnam receive the approval of the Government or are they considered as personal predilections of Dr Cairns himself?


Senator MURPHY -I think that governments generally accept responsibility for the statements which have been made by members of the Ministry when speaking on behalf of the Government. Otherwise we would get the kind of dreadful disunity which characterised the previous Government when its members were all at odds and evens and fought with one another. One can think of the dreadful business between the Minister for Defence and the Prime Minister in the previous Government, and all the other matters. Month in and month out all the members of the previous Government were doing was attacking one another and undermining one another and doing the most dreadful things. I agree that no government could survive under those conditions, and that attitude helped to bring down the previous Government.







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