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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2771

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I want to say a few words about this matter because certain things about it worry me. The point that Senator McLaren raised was whether he knew a certain individual or knew of a certain individual. That was justification for an apology from Senator Webster. From time to time we have altered the pink copies of our speeches in order to put into the Hansard record what we desired to express, although we may have not said it in the debate. While we recognise that Hansard has the responsibility of reporting accurately what was said, if someone makes the mistake possibly of not correctly placing a word it is a question of whether he should have the right of rectification.

Personally I think this matter should be taken up by the Senate Standing Committee on Standing Orders to see whether there should be a new examination of this question. I am mindful of this problem because when we were discussing turtle farming I said that there would be a replacement on the board of Applied Ecology Pty Ltd. I stated that 2 recommendations were before the Cabinet- one from the Carr-Maine-Smart report and one from a Standing Committee of the House of Representatives. I thought I said that if neither recommendation were adopted we could not carry on turtle farming as it was now being conducted. Hansard reported- and may have been correct- that I said that if one recommendation were adopted we could not carry on turtle farming as it is now conducted. This immediately brought on me the wrath of Dr Jenkins, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation. He interpreted this statement to mean that if his Committee's report were adopted we could not carry on turtle farming. This is quite contrary to the effect of the recommendations of his Committee's report. I have not listened to the tape recording of my speech. It could well have been that I said 'if one recommendation were adopted', which would suggest it was his report. Nothing was further from my mind. I meant that if neither were adopted we could not carry on with turtle farming as it is now being conducted. But the Hansard report brought the wrath of the Committee upon my shoulders. I can see that if I did inadvertently say that if one recommendation were adopted it would justify that wrath. But that was never my intention.

Such an alteration would be a substantial alteration to what I actually thought I said. As we have made corrections in the past, I do not know whether in the weekly Hansard reports we should not have the right to correct our speeches to the degree that makes plain what we intended to impress upon the audience we were addressing, even if it is not what was actually said in the heat and circumstances of the moment. I think that perhaps this matter should be considered by the Standing Orders Committee at some time.

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