National Archives release of documents from 1974

The Australian
11th January 2005

Dear Sir

On 10 December 2004 National Archives of Australia held a ceremony at which Cabinet and Treasury documents relating to 1974 were released, under embargo until 1 January 2005, to accredited journalists. Former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, and John Menadue (former Secretary Designate of Prime Minister's Department for the latter part of 1974) were invited on that occasion to present their grossly distorted version of what happened.

In subsequent answers to journalists, Mr Whitlam made slanderous accusations regarding my activities as a Treasury official. Apart from claims, discredited as long ago as 1985 in newspaper reports at that time, that I provided information to the Opposition about the government's attempt to raise $US 4 billion in an overseas borrowing, he also alleged that I have wrongly claimed to have accompanied Treasurer Jim Cairns on two of his overseas Ministerial visits.

As to that, accompanying the late Dr Cairns on overseas trips was an experience not readily forgotten! I was Cairns' senior Treasury adviser at two overseas meetings. On the first occasion Cairns represented Australia at the 1975 Asian Development Bank meeting, where he disgraced himself in a speech by attacking American imperialism in SE Asia.

On the second occasion, Treasurer Cairns was unable to perform at the 1975 OECD Ministerial Council meeting in Paris because, before he was able to speak, Mr Whitlam called him home when it became clear publicly that Cairns himself was trying to raise a funny money overseas loan.

Mr Whitlam appears to have assumed that his Ministers always travelled, like himself, on VIP flights. In fact, Cairns travelled to these two meetings, as I did, on commercial flights. That is why Whitlam's extraordinary search of VIP flight records do not reveal me as travelling with Cairns on such flights. But that has not stopped him from making yet another ill-researched, slipshod and characteristically vicious error.